The Idaho men’s basketball team fell to No. 1 seed North Dakota Friday night in the Big Sky Conference tournament semifinals.
“It hurts when it comes to an end, no question about it, because our goal was to get to the NCAA Tournament, but the one thing I’ll tell you about the guys in the locker room, is they stand for the right things, and they’re outstanding young men,” Idaho head coach Don Verlin said in a news release.
North Dakota had a strong start to the game, earning a 24-7 lead in the opening half. Nevertheless, Idaho persisted and chipped away at the deficit to just six at the break.
Idaho caught fire in the second half, taking a six-point lead due to a 15-0 run. Despite the effort, the Fighting Hawks proved too much to handle. They regained the lead and held on until the final buzzer.
Junior guard Victor Sanders led the Vandals in the final game of the season with 20 points—he scored 13 points in the second half, going 3-of-4 from the perimeter.
Junior forward Brayon Blake finished with 10 points, and junior small forward Jordan Scott finished with nine points and nine boards. Sophomore power forward Nate Sherwood finished with a game-high 11 rebounds.
“I was proud of the way our guys fought,” Verlin said. “You look back at our season, we were 1-3 at the start of the league season and our guys showed who they are and what they’re all about and how proud they are to be Vandals.”
Mihaela Karst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mihaela_jo