Idaho Vandals Beat Montana in an Overtime Thriller
Forty minutes weren’t enough on Saturday night as Idaho met top-seeded Montana in the Cowan Spectrum. The Vandals needed every second of overtime, too, with Nate Sherwood coming up clutch with the game-winning tip-in at the buzzer, to give Idaho the 79-77 win.
Idaho took a double-digit lead in the first half, but Montana stormed back to take a lead of its own late in the frame. Idaho would close the half strong, leveling the score at 35 at the break.
Again, Idaho would build an early lead, getting up by as many as eight, but Montana figured things out and gradually chipped away. The Griz were able to tie the game on one occasion, at 60, midway through the half, but Idaho was on top for most of the second.
Then things got crazy. Nate Sherwood gave Idaho a four-point lead with two minutes to play on his second 3-pointer of the night, but Montana’s Ahmaad Rorie answered with a 3-ball of his own on the other end. After a couple of missed shots on both ends, Montana’s Fabijan Krslovic went to the line with 46 seconds to play. The senior would make the first and miss the second, tying the game at 71.
The Montana defense stepped up on the other end, forcing a contested difficult shot that went begging. The Idaho defense followed suit, forcing overtime.
The extra period was much of the same, with neither team able to take much control. Brayon Blake would give Idaho a one-point lead with an and-one two minutes in, but Montana tied it up on the next possession. The Vandals then looked to Trevon Allen, who knocked down the clutch 3-pointer with 93 seconds to play.
After a free throw from Montana and a missed shot from Blake, the Griz were able to tie it up at 77 on a jumper with 30 seconds to play.
With Sanders on the bench, the Vandals ran out the clock, then went to Blake. He attacked the basket, getting off a good look with two seconds to play, but it rimmed out. Nate Sherwood was in perfect position, tipping in the game-winner as the final horn sounded.
Nate Sherwood. The younger Sherwood seemed to step up when he was needed the most. He didn’t score in the first half, but netted two huge 3-pointers in the second to keep Idaho alive, before his last second tip-in sealed the win.
Idaho moves to 11-3 in Big Sky play, and is currently in third. Montana falls to 13-2, but remains in first.
Idaho hadn’t won six straight conference games in a season since 1988-89, when the Vandals won nine straight from January 7-February 9. Idaho finished tied for first in the Big Sky that season at 13-3, and went on to win the Big Sky Tournament and advance to the NCAA Tournament.
Chad Sherwood recorded a career-high eight assists. Blake notched his ninth double-double of the season. Idaho is 8-1 in those games. It is the first time that Blake has recorded back-to-back double-doubles. Sanders fouled out for the eighth time in his career. Idaho is now 3-5 in those games. Idaho shot 63.2 percent (12-of-19) from beyond the arc. It is the first time doing so against a Division I opponent since hitting 11-of-17 (64.7%) against Portland State on 2/12/15.