Idaho Wins Big Sky Home Opener Over NAU 83-76 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Idaho Wins Big Sky Home Opener Over NAU 83-76

The Vandals won their Big Sky home opener over NAU Thursday The Vandals won their Big Sky home opener over NAU Thursday

Idaho Athletics

Without veteran leader Perrion Callandretin the lineup, Victor Sanders stepped up in major way to lift Idaho (11-6, 3-1 BSC) over Northern Arizona (3-12, 1-3 BSC), 83-76, on Thursday night in Cowan Spectrum.

“I thought for 35 minutes we played really good basketball,” said head coach Don Verlin.  “We did a lot of really good things.  We let off in the closing minutes, and we’ll work on that, but we saw some good.”

The sophomore from Portland posted an absolutely ridiculous stat line, finishing with 33 points, five boards, four dimes, three blocks and three steals.  Sanders attempted just 13 shots on the night, connecting on nine, and went 4-of-7 from deep.  He was also fouled on three 3-point attempts and connected on eight of those nine free throws.

Idaho got up by as many as 25 in the second half, behind a tenacious defensive effort from the entire lineup.  NAU climbed back into the ballgame late after some crucial turnovers by the Vandals, but the damage had been done and Idaho held on for the win.

The Vandals got up early on some hot shooting by Chad Sherwood, who stepped into the starting lineup for the second time in three games.  Chad Sherwood had 11 points in the first half and finished with 14.

“I thought Sarbaugh had an excellent game defensively,” Verlin said.  “He really made (Kris) Yanku work all night.  I don’t know when he scored his first points, it had to be 25, 26 minutes into that basketball game before he even got a basket.  I thought that was the difference.”

Chris Sarbaugh stepped into the role of point guard and played well.  He picked up three steals on defense and had eight assists on the offensive end.

As a team, the Vandals shot 52.7 percent (29-of-55) from the floor and 47.1 percent (8-of-17) from beyond the arc. 

Sanders became the first Vandal to top the 30-point plateau since Conor Hill did so on January 1 of last year.

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