| March 20, 2018

M. Basketball Commentary: Team Depth Gets the Win

One of the most impressive aspects of Tuesday’s men’s basketball opener was not the margin of the win — it was the team dynamics.

The Idaho men’s basketball team jumpstarted the season Tuesday, defeating Carroll College 80-62.

Idaho head coach Don Verlin took advantage of the exhibition game to play with the lineup.

The Vandals shared the responsibility fairly equally.

This gave the team a chance to show off a strong starting lineup and a deep bench.

Thirteen of 14 players had double-digit minutes of play time. Of those players, 10 of them scored points. In the first half alone the Idaho bench outscored that of the Saints 23-7. The Vandals ended the game with a 42-19 bench scoring record. Verlin was pleased with the way the lineup worked.

“I thought our ball moved really well, we got a lot of wide open shots, we knocked down quite a few of them there in the first half,” Verlin said. “We saw a lot of things. We were able to play a lot of guys.  Every season is new, and when you have a new season it’s a new team.”

Verlin said he doesn’t have an official starting lineup yet.

“I don’t know if I tinkered with (last year’s lineup) because I really don’t have one yet but you know I don’t know what I learned yet until I watch the tape and break it down completely,” said Verlin. “But what I did learn tonight was we have a very unselfish basketball team. Again, we moved the ball well and passed well, especially the first half. I thought we did a little better than we did even a year ago.”

Freshman guard Tyler Brimhall came off the bench for Idaho. He played his first game of the season like a starter, scoring 14 points and finishing the night as the team’s second best scorer. Junior guard Victor Sanders led with 17 points.

Another dominant bench player that contributed to the Vandal win was senior forward Ty Egbert. He exploded off the bench, scoring eight points for the team in his 11 minutes of play. Junior forward Brayon Blake played a strong 19 minutes in his first game as a Vandal after transferring from North Idaho. Blake put away 10 points and led Idaho with seven rebounds.

Verlin said he thought Blake played with energy.

“I really like what I saw in Blake tonight, I know he is a very good rebounder he really kind of fit in with our guys in the game,” said Verlin. “He has got some leadership skills to him also.”

Time will be the ultimate deciding factor in who earns the final spots in carrying the team to success.

Meredith Spelbring can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu

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