|Vandals host Montana Saturday|
MOSCOW, Idaho – The Idaho men’s basketball team can settle into the friendly confines of the Cowan Spectrum -- where five of its next seven games will be played, beginning Dec. 28 at 1 p.m. against Montana -- after a stretch of nine out of 10 games outside of Moscow.
Saturday’s game against the Griz is the tail end of a home-and-home with Montana this month, as Idaho was outscored 17-6 in the final five-plus minutes in a 69-58 loss in Missoula on Dec. 11. Idaho owns a 101-79 advantage in the all-time series against its former and future Big Sky Conference rival. The Vandals rejoin the Big Sky beginning with the 2014-15 season. Saturday’s game will be televised live on Altitude Sports. Check www.Altitude.TV for details.
The Griz are 4-4 on the season and enter Saturday’s game on a three-game win streak beating St. Martin’s and Montana-Western since topping the Vandals. The Griz boast three double-figure scorers, led by 18.9 points per game from Kareem Jamar. Keron DeShields averages 12.9 points per game and Jordan Gregory adds 11.9. Montana shoots the 3-pointer at a 39.4 percent clip, and buries 8.6 of them per game.
Idaho’s offensive attack features a trio of double-figure scorers as well, led by Stephen Madison’s 16.1 points per game to go along with team-bests of 7.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. Junior Connor Hill adds 14.3 points per game and is just three 3-pointers shy of tying Idaho’s career 3-pointers made record of 168 held by Orlando Lightfoot since 1994. Hill has made three or more 3-pointers in four out of 13 games this season, and averages 2.4 made 3s per game while shooting 37.3 percent from deep. Senior Glen Dean adds 12.9 points per game for the Vandals, and ranks 30th in NCAA Division I with an 88.9 free throw percentage. Dean is another 3-point threat for Idaho, making 2.0 3s per game at a 43.3 percent clip.
Saturday’s game is Idaho’s final test before Western Athletic Conference play begins next week with home games against Kansas City (Jan. 2) and Chicago State (Jan. 4). The Vandals do however have one more non-league game remaining on the schedule, as they will host CSU Northridge on Feb. 18.