Last December Idaho came as close as its come to victory in the Battle of the Palouse since 2004, when a last second jumper from Washington State guard Reggie Moore in the waning seconds sent the Cougars out of the Cowan Spectrum victorious in the rivalry game for the ninth consecutive season. In 2004 the Vandals fell to the Cougars 37-36 in the Cowan Spectrum, and last beat Washington State in 2002, 62-58.
The moral of the story? Idaho has a tendency to play Washington State well on the Idaho side of the border, not so well in Pullman. But that’s where the game is taking place in 2012, with both teams relatively struggling early, both teams capable of having better records.
It might also help Idaho that the buzzer-beater perpetrator Reggie Moore was dismissed from the Washington State program prior to the start of the season. The Cougars are 3-3 on the season, all three losses occurring away from Pullman and two of them losses by one possession — two points to Pepperdine, one to Texas A&M in Kansas City on an Elston Turner three-point dagger to end the game. In the friendly confines of Beasley the Cougars are 3-0, decisively beating Eastern Washington, Utah Valley and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Idaho would like to hope its a little better than those teams. Although the Vandals are 1-3 on the season with serious struggles closing out games. In its last three games the Vandals have allowed double-digit point runs to opponents in the final ten minutes of games, relinquishing leads and ultimately losing two of them — giving up a 15-point lead v. Montana and a 49-46 lead at New Mexico.
Optimism could spring from the Vandals perhaps finally finding their go-to point guard. Mike McChristian, the converted forward, racked up a career-high eight assists at New Mexico only turning the ball over once.
- Shooting guard Antwan Scott has returned to the team after a three-week leave of absence to attend to family matters in Texas. Scott had been battling Connor Hill for the starting 2-guard job. Verlin said Scott’s role with the team will be a day-to-day progression.
Idaho coach Don Verlin talks about Idaho’s late game woes, the status of guard Antwan Scott, while Mike McChristian talks about the developing offense with him as point guard.