Idaho Vandals Lose 68-63
SEATTLE, Wash. – The team never quit. Never. Even down double-digits in the final minute against Seattle U in the opening game of the College Basketball Invitational on Wednesday night, Idaho kept fighting until the final horn. The game didn’t go their way, as Idaho fell 68-63, but this squad showed what it means to be Vandals.
“Our program took a huge step forward this year,” said head coach Don Verlin. “We lost four starters from last year and this team bought in to what we were teaching. They bought in to being Vandals and they made this season special. Every obstacle that came, they conquered it and overcame it and they turned in one of the best seasons in program history.”
Idaho (21-13) couldn’t get going early, shooting 30 percent from the floor in the first half. Seattle U (15-16) got hot from deep in the second half, building its double-digit lead in the closing minutes.
The game went back-and-forth for the majority of the contest, but Seattle U took a five point lead midway through the second half. Victor Sanders sparked the comeback, draining three free throws after getting fouled on a 3-pointer for the 22nd time this season. Perrion Callandret did his part on the next trip up the court, knocking down a corner trey to give the Vandals the one-point lead.
However, the lead would be short-lived as the Redhawks took over from there, going on a 23-12 run to take a commanding lead. Idaho didn’t quit, playing the foul game in the final minutes to cut the deficit, but ran out of time in the end.
Four Vandals scored in double-digits, led by Callandret’s 18. Arkadiy Mkrtychan had a fantastic night, going 6-of-9 from the field and finishing with 15 points. Sanders struggled to get going, but made an impact in a number of different ways, finishing with 10 points, six boards and seven assists.
The Vandals finish the season 21-13, their first 20-win season in more than two decades. Idaho returns the vast majority of its contributors next season, after losing just three athletes to graduation.