MOSCOW, Idaho – The good and bad of the season were on display in Idaho’s Cowan Spectrum on Thursday night.
The Vandals dropped their 10th consecutive game, falling to Northern Colorado 75-47.
But in the words of Idaho assistant coach Tim Murphy, the Bears “played like they were going after a championship tonight.”
UNC won its third in a row, improving to 17-8 overall and 11-3 in the Big Sky Conference, good for second place behind Montana.
Idaho fell to 4-20, 1-12.
“It seemed like we were in slow motion tonight,” Murphy said. “They denied all of our passes. They were well prepared. Every play call I flashed up, they knew.”
The game was decided in the opening 20 minutes as the Bears established a 43-20 advantage. UNC relentlessly jumped Idaho’s perimeter passes and harried the Vandals’ offense.
The Bears had six steals, forced 13 turnovers and scored 19 points off those turnovers in the half. For the game, the Bears held a 32-2 edge in points off turnovers.
UNC finished with only six turnovers.
“They pressured us out of everything,” Murphy said.
The Bears delivered an offensive clinic in the first half with quick, aggressive passing, in transition and around the perimeter of Idaho’s zone. UNC overwhelmed the Vandals for uncontested outside shots and the occasional look inside. It connected on 15 of 33 field-goal attempts while Idaho hit 6 of 18.
UNC finished 25 of 59 from the floor and went 14 of 38 on 3-pointers. Jordan Davis led the Bears with 16 points, five assists and two steals. Trent Harris followed with 15 points and hit 5 of 10 3-point attempts.
“We made Harris look like a pro tonight,” Murphy said.
Trevon Allen carried the Vandals with 13 points in the first half, highlighted by a drive featuring a head fake and a left-hand finish. He also delivered a no-look assist to Jared Rodriguez.
But Allen was held to two points in the second half. Losini Kamara, in his first start, was Idaho’s second-leading scorer in the opening half with three. He was held scoreless after the break.
Scott Blakney contributed 12 points for the Vandals, including 10 in the second half on 5-of-7 shooting. He added a game-high eight rebounds.
In the first meeting this season, UNC prevailed 83-79 in overtime.
Murphy said the Bears had several players out with injuries that game. In the rematch, the Vandals were short-handed. Chance Garvin was out with a shoulder injury and Cassius Smits-Francisco had an injured groin.
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