Game 14: Idaho (6-7, 2-1) vs. Denver (7-7, 3-1)
When: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 (7:05 p.m. PT)
Where: Moscow, Idaho (Cowan Spectrum)
Radio: Vandal Radio Network/VandalXtra
Online Video: VandalXtra
Live Stats: www.GoVandals.com
A Look at the Pioneers
Denver is 7-7 overall this season and has started Western Athletic Conference play with a 3-1 record. DU topped Texas State (64-53) and UTSA (75-50) at home last week after splitting its season-opening trips at LA Tech (60-68) and UT Arlington (50-35). The Pioneers average 62.9 points per game on 46 percent shooting and hold their opponents to a 42.7 clip and just 56.5 points per game. In WAC play, they’re surrendering just 51.5 points per game on 35.8 percent shooting. DU leads the WAC with 8.29 made 3-pointers per game and has surrendered a WAC-low 3.9 triples per game to opponents. The team’s -5.4 rebounding margin this season is last in the WAC, but Denver has the league’s second-best turnover margin (+3.64) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.25). DU also leads the league in free throw percentage (.719).
Denver Head Coach Joe Scott
Joe Scott is in his 13th season as a collegiate head coach and his sixth at Denver. He is 176-189 overall and 87-81 at DU. He led the Pioneers to a team-record 22 wins last season, when they finished second in the Sun Belt with an 11-5 record. Scott has previous head coaching experience of three seasons at his alma mater, Princeton (38-45), and four years in charge at Air Force (51-63). He also was an assistant at Princeton for eight seasons and at Monmouth for one season.
Idaho held an eight point lead with less than four minutes to play at Utah State, but a last-second Aggie 3-pointer sent the game into overtime, where the Vandals fell by an 82-75 margin. Idaho is now 2-1 in WAC play ant 6-7 overall. It marks the fourth time in Idaho’s five seasons under head coach Don Verlin that the team has posted a 2-1 start through three games in WAC play.
Vandals vs. Pioneers
Idaho and Denver have a little history, but the series is just two games deep and hasn’t been contested in 46 seasons. The Pioneers took a pair of wins over the Vandals in 1965 and 1966. Denver was an NCAA Division II program from 1979-99. DU’s only trip to Moscow was a 109-91 win at Memorial Gym on Dec. 18, 1965.
Where the Heart Is
Thursday’s game marks Idaho’s first home contest of the 2013 calendar year. The Vandals were the only WAC team to start the season with three-consecutive road games in league play. Idaho has won its last three home games, but hasn’t played a game at home since its 91-47 win over Walla Walla University on Dec. 15.
Top 10 Vandal Scorer
Senior center Kyle Barone notched 13 points on Saturday at Utah State to push his career scoring total to 1,126 points. In doing so, he cracked Idaho’s all-time top 10 for points. He’s 70 points away from becoming Idaho’s all-time leading low-post scorer and 194 points away from breaking into the all-time top five scorers at Idaho.
A Natural Fit
With relatively little point guard experience returning for Idaho this year, senior guard Mike McChristian started Idaho’s first eight games at the point. The emergence of JC transfers Robert Harris and Denzel Douglas has allowed McChristian to focus on his primary wing position, and he’s prospering. In his five games since making the switch, McChristian is averaging 11.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists, along with 47.6 percent overall and 42.1 percent 3-point shooting.
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