MOSCOW, Idaho – Brayon Blake watched the final play unfold from the Idaho bench, from Pat Ingram’s rebound of UC Davis’ missed free throw to Myles Franklin’s laser pass up the court to Jordan Scott.
At the end of the 6-second blur, Blake had one thought: “He better make it.”
Scott did, barely beating the buzzer with a layup that gave the Vandals a 68-66 victory over UC Davis on Saturday night with 1,232 fans watching at Memorial Gym.
“I don’t know how I was wide open, but I was wide open and I made a layup,” said Scott, a junior from Colorado Springs, Colorado, who came in averaging 3.7 point per game. “Easiest game-winner ever.”
If only the rest of the game had gone that smoothly for the Vandals.
They made just 8 of 20 free throws and clanked several shots around the rim. They also got a season-low nine points from leading scorer Victor Sanders, who was shut out in the second half and had the worst night of any Vandal from the foul line (1 of 6).
Idaho (5-4) played its fifth straight game without point guard Perrion Callendret (knee), who could be back Wednesday night at Washington State.
“Hey, that’s what good teams are made of,” UI coach Don Verlin said when asked about other players stepping up.
Scott redeemed himself after traveling with 14.9 seconds left and then fouling Brynton Lemar with 6.2 ticks on the clock.
Lemar, an 85-percent free-throw shooter, made his first foul shot to tie the game at 66-all. Verlin then called a timeout to set up UI’s last play, and Lemar missed the second.
Ingram grabbed the rebound, kicked the ball to Franklin, who zipped a cross-court pass to a hard-charging Scott near the basket. UC Davis (4-3) left Scott open to cover Idaho’s shooters on the wings.
“I really credit Myles Franklin for making a heck of a pass there,” Verlin said.
The Vandals, despite frittering away a 65-60 lead with 35 seconds left, snapped a two-game losing streak and played much better on offense than they did Tuesday night in a loss to San Jose State.
After getting just four assists against SJSU, UI had 20 on Saturday night. It also shot 59 percent from the field in the second half.
Blake matched a career high with 17 points to lead the Vandals. Ty Egbert contributed 13 points off the bench in 14 minutes of action.
Regarding Blake’s solid start to the season, Verlin said: “I couldn’t be happier for the way he’s playing because we needed it tonight.”
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