Arrow-right Camera

Vandals reject SU in stretch

Jefferson’s big block helps Idaho hold on

By Josh Wright Correspondent

MOSCOW, Idaho – On back-to-back possessions in the second half, Marvin Jefferson watched Seattle University’s Charles Garcia – his skilled counterpart in the paint – bat away Idaho shot attempts with a flick of the wrist.

So the next time Garcia touched the ball, Jefferson decided to flaunt his own shot-blocking technique. What followed was one of the more savage stuffs of Jefferson’s career – and one of many highlights for the Vandals center on Thursday night.

Jefferson collected 16 points and four blocked shots to help Idaho nudge past Seattle 82-72 at Cowan Spectrum in non-conference men’s basketball.

Playing in front of 1,287 fans, the Vandals (13-12) won for the fifth time in seven tries, and took down the Redhawks for the second time in three weeks.

After a frazzled performance in Seattle – 24 turnovers and a near-collapse at the end – UI shot 57.1 percent this time and had just five turnovers in the first half against the Redhawks’ extended pressure.

“They’re so different than (who) we face night in, night out,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said. “Seattle’s hard to play because they play a million different lineups.”

The Vandals sparkled in transition, particularly in the first half when they built a 13-point lead. During a 14-2 run that helped UI separate, Jefferson and Kyle Barone flushed alley-oop dunks and Kashif Watson chipped in an easy fast-break layin.

Watson, the most Vandals’ most athletic perimeter player, relished the up-and-down play and scored 20 points. Mac Hopson added 15 points and nine assists.

“That’s my type of game,” Watson said of the quick first-half tempo. “That fits my style best. … That’s the easiest way to get baskets.”

The Vandals’ lead drifted between five and 10 points throughout the second half. But just when it looked like they were going to put away SU, Garcia hit two putbacks and Taylor Olson knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner to trim Idaho’s lead to 73-69 with 1:20 left.

Hopson followed the long-range shot by quickly converting a three-point play and the Vandals hit 6 of 6 free throws inside the final minute to seal the victory.

UI’s interior defense was shaky at times, but Jefferson was locked in against Garcia at key moments. The Redhawks’ leading scorer contorted his body in the lane late in the second half and looked to have an easy bucket before Jefferson extended his right arm for an athletic block.

The swat sparked a roar from the crowd and gave the Vandals a brief jolt of energy.

Idaho 82, Seattle 72

 Seattle (13-14)- Lever 0-2 0-0 0, Broussard 3-9 1-2 8, Burrell 0-1 0-0 0, Gweth 5-15 2-2 15, Gilmore 4-5 0-0 8, Boxley 1-7 0-0 2, Olson 3-5 2-2 11, P.Harris 0-2 0-0 0, Garcia 5-12 4-6 14, Jones 5-10 3-7 14. Totals 26-68 12-19 72.

Idaho (13-12)- Hopson 3-7 9-11 15, Johnson 1-4 2-2 4, Toledo 3-4 4-6 10, Watson 8-12 4-8 20, Jefferson 6-8 4-8 16, Ledbetter 1-3 0-0 2, Henderson 2-4 2-2 6, de Souza 2-2 0-0 5, Lawrence 0-0 0-0 0, Barone 2-5 0-0 4. Totals 28-49 25-37 82.

Halftime—Idaho 38-28. 3-Point Goals—Seattle 8-23 (Olson 3-3, Gweth 3-7, Jones 1-2, Broussard 1-4, P.Harris 0-1, Lever 0-1, Garcia 0-2, Boxley 0-3), Idaho 1-6 (de Souza 1-1, Hopson 0-1, Johnson 0-2, Ledbetter 0-2). Fouled Out—Burrell, Jones. Rebounds—Seattle 32 (Gweth 8), Idaho 41 (Jefferson 8). Assists—Seattle 11 (Gweth 4), Idaho 17 (Hopson 9). Total Fouls—Seattle 26, Idaho 17. A—1,287.

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email