Vandals best CSU Bakersfield 67-63 to even season series
By Idaho Athletics
MOSCOW, Idaho – Career nights from Perrion Callandret and Chris Sarbaugh pushed Idaho (5-3) past CSU-Bakersfield (3-3), 67-63, on Wednesday night in Memorial Gym.
“I thought we did everything we needed to do to get a win against a good Bakersfield team,” said head coach Don Verlin. “I thought we defended really well, for the entire game. We did a good job with the game plan. We took care of the ball a lot better in the second half and we knocked down our free throws.”
Idaho took the lead over five minutes into the second half and didn’t look back. The Roadrunners kept the game close for its entirety, forcing the Vandals to play incredibly poised late.
CSUB made a push midway through the second half, with Damiyne Durham hitting three straight 3’s. Idaho was up for the challenge, with Chad Sherwood draining a trey, followed by back-to-back trey’s by Callandret, including one from well outside NBA range.
The Vandals closed the game at the line, hitting 10-of-11 free throws in the closing minutes to seal the win.
Callandret finished the night with a game-high 26 points on 6-of-10 shooting (2-of-4 from range). Callandret also connected on all 12 of his free throw attempts. Sarbaugh, a senior transfer, finished with career-highs of 15 points and seven rebounds. Victor Sanders also scored in double-figures, finishing with 10 points.
The Vandals really relied on Arkadiy Mkrtychyan in the opening minutes of the first half, going to the forward on three plays early. Mkrtychyan, who missed the first meeting earlier in the season, was up for the task as he converted on two opportunities against CSUB’s veteran center, Aly Ahmed. Idaho took a 27-26 lead into the break, after closing the half with four straight points.
Mkrtychyan did not shoot the ball well, finishing 2-of-10 from the field, but was impressive all game covering the much larger Ahmed.
“Ever since Ark’s freshman year, he’s been an intense guy,” said Callandret. “He’s loud and boisterous and he’s everywhere. He’s a great defender and he’s always moving. He is somebody that we really needed to help us slow down their bigs. He’s a big body and he’s smart. With Ark out there we’re a lot better as a team.”
Idaho shot 41.2 percent (21-of-51) from the field and 42.9 percent (6-of-14) from beyond the arc. The Vandals shot 19-of-22 (86.4%) from the charity stripe, their highest average of the season thus far.
Next up, the Vandals host Little Rock at 5 p.m. on Saturday in Cowan Spectrum.