|MBB aims to take down Redhawks|
MOSCOW, Idaho – Recent history has been good to the Idaho men’s basketball team and head coach Don Verlin when it comes to facing Seattle U, and Idaho hopes Saturday will be no different as the Vandals and Redhawks square off at 7 p.m. in the Cowan Spectrum.
Verlin is 7-1 against Seattle U in his first five seasons at Idaho, and the Vandals have won five straight in the series. However, the Redhawks to own a slim 14-12 lead in the all-time series against the Vandals.
Idaho enters Saturday’s contest at 8-13 overall and 2-5 in Western Athletic Conference play. Three of Idaho’s five conference losses have been by two-possessions or less. The Redhawks, meanwhile, are in a similar situation. Seattle U is 9-10 overall but just 1-5 through six WAC games, losing a pair of league games by four points or less.
Seattle U is arguably the WAC’s best rebounding team and is at or near the top of the WAC in almost every rebounding category. The Redhawks’ +6.2 rebounding margin is a WAC-best and ranks 26th nationally, and the team averages a WAC-best 38.7 boards per game. The only Redhawk player projected in Saturday’s starting lineup who doesn’t averaged 4.5 rebounds per game or more just happens to be the WAC’s leading scorer, Isiah Umipig, who averages 18.7 points per contest.
Idaho junior point guard Mike Scott has been on a tear in his last four games, averaging 14.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game with a 5.0 assist-to-turnover ratio, 50.0 3-point field goal percentage, 46.3 overall field goal percentage, and 2.0 made 3s per game to go along with a perfect 13-for-13 performance at the free throw line in that span. The transfer from Antelope Valley College was averaging 6.2 points, 1.5 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game prior to his last four games.
The last time the Vandals and Redhawks got together, the Vandals got 27 points from Kyle Barone, 26 from Mike McChristian and 18 from Connor Hill while going 13-for-29 from 3-point range in a 76-72 win over Seattle U on March 9, 2013, overcoming a 13-point deficit. McChristian knocked down seven 3s in the game while Hill hit six to aid Idaho’s victory. The Vandals finished with 21 assists on their 25 field goals in the game, which was the last time Idaho had 20 or more assists in a game.
Saturday’s game is the only game of the week for Idaho for the second week in a row. The Vandals will remain at home next week when they host New Mexico State on Feb. 6 and Texas-Pan American on Feb. 8.