| March 22, 2018

M. Basketball: Trouble in the Big Sky

The Idaho men’s basketball team dropped its second conference game of the season following a loss to Montana 70-57.

Idaho head coach Don Verlin said the team faced a few challenges executing plays.

“We’re just really struggling to put the ball in the basket right now,” Verlin said in a news release. “Our inadequacies there are really bothering us. We shoot 30 percent in the first half then we start pressing a bit and turn the ball over way too many times —uncharacteristically of this basketball team because we’ve done a great job of taking care of the ball.”

Montana grabbed the lead minutes into the start of the game and held on to it for the full 40 minutes. The Grizzlies held a 31-21 lead heading into the half.

The second half looked similar to that of the first for the Vandals. While they were able to get within six they were never able to close the gap allowing the Grizzlies to seal the win.

Idaho gave away 20 turnovers to the Grizzlies, who in comparison gave up six.

Leading the way on offense for the Vandals was junior guard Victor Sanders who posted 20 points on the night and went 50 percent shooting from the floor along with three assists.

Behind Sanders in scoring was junior forward Arkadiy Mkrtychyan with nine and five from junior guard Chad Sherwood.

While he didn’t lead the team in points, senior point guard Pat Ingram played a solid game coming off the bench with a career high nine rebounds on top of four points.

Following a disappointing start to the season Verlin said he expects to continue to improve throughout the season and said he has high hopes for games to come.

“What I told the guys in the locker room, we’ve got to continue to get better,” Verlin said. “We’re going through a transition, we’ve got some young guys out there, but we have to take a page out of football’s book and keep fighting, keep battling, keep working every single day and stay the course. Things will turn our way.”

Idaho plays Montana State University 7 p.m. Saturday in the Cowan Spectrum.

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

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