Vandals improve to .500 with an 85-77 overtime win over Montana - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Vandals improve to .500 with an 85-77 overtime win over Montana

Idaho Athletics

MISSOULA, Mont. – It took another overtime effort, but the Vandals got it done as Idaho (10-10, 5-4 BSC) took down Montana (10-13, 5-5 BSC), 85-77, on Saturday night.

THE GAME

Idaho trailed for much of the contest but stayed close throughout.  The Vandals didn’t get their breakthrough until late in the second half.

Nate Sherwood knocked down a pair of free throws to put Idaho up, 59-58, with about six minutes to play.  After a defensive stop, Victor Sanders found himself wide open on the wing and knocked down his first 3-pointer of the game, Vandals up four.

That would prove to be Idaho’s largest lead of regulation, as the Grizzlies brought the game back to within one possession and stayed there, eventually hitting a layup with 16 seconds left to force overtime.

Neither team got going early in the overtime frame, but once the Vandals did they were tough to stop.  Pat Ingram knocked down a 3-pointer at the 3:40 mark then picked up a steal on the ensuing possession to find Sanders for the jumper.  Montana didn’t go away without a fight, but the Vandals were able to knock down all eight of their free throws and finish 4-of-5 from the floor in OT to earn the win.

Sanders finished with a game-high 28 points, one better than his 27-point output in Missoula last season.  The starting frontcourt of Arkadiy Mkrtychyan and Nate Sherwood were impressive once again, going for 17 and 15 points, respectively.  Mkrtychyan had a fantastic game all-around, leading the squad with seven boards and three blocks while tying for the team-lead with four assists.

The Vandal defense really picked things up after the break, holding Montana to 32.5 percent (13-of-40) shooting from the floor and 23.1 percent (3-of-13) shooting from deep in the second half and overtime.  Idaho won the battle of the boards, 44-38.

Montana entered the game with the fewest turnovers in the league, averaging just 8.2 per contest in Big Sky games, but the Vandals forced 14 while committing just 12.

THE NAME

Pat Ingram.  Ingram finished with just four points, four boards and one steal in 18 minutes, but saved his best for when the Vandals needed it the most.  He played four minutes in the overtime frame, knocking down the 3-pointer to give Idaho the lead and picking up the steal to help build it.  Ingram also did the majority of his glass work in OT, grabbing three rebounds.

THE QUOTES

“At half time I told them to show their hearts and they sure did in the second half,” said head coach Don Verlin.  “I thought we had a number of guys step up and play really well.  We’ve been talking a lot about playing with a purpose and with this team the purpose is defense and rebounding, and that’s what we did in the second half.

“I thought our guys really showed their hearts.  Every guy that got out there tonight played as hard as he possibly could.

“Our post guys played good all weekend long.  BJ had a great night on Thursday night, and Nate had a good night on Thursday and he follows it up tonight.  Ark was very effective in there tonight.  We had worked hard in practice on when they were going to double the post and passing it out of the post, making those extra passes.  That really helped us offensively.

“This game was won by just being tough and showing your heart.  We had a chance to fold there, down 11 at the start of the second half, but just kept fighting and kept fighting and kept fighting and found a way to win.”

THE NOTES

  • Idaho moves to 3-1 in overtime games this season
  • Arkadiy Mkrtychyan scored a season-high 17 points
  • Victor Sanders finished with 28, one better than his 27 in Missoula last season

Fans can stay up-to-date on all things Idaho men's basketball by following the team on twitter, @VandalHoops.

For more information on Idaho Athletics, visit GoVandals.com.  Fans can also find Idaho on Twitter and Instagram, @Idaho_Vandals, or on Facebook by searching Idaho Vandals.

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