Idaho honored senior shooting guard Connor Hill by giving away 500 t-shirts with his No. 5 on the front, but it was Mike Scott who stole the show against UC Davis Saturday inside the Cowan Spectrum.
Hill knocked down his first-two 3-point attempts and led the Vandals to an early 10-4 lead, but with Idaho down 10 in the second half, Scott took over. The senior point guard had 13-second half points and led the Vandals to a 79-71 victory over previously undefeated UC Davis.
With the win, Idaho (4-3) heads to play at Western Illinois for a game Thursday Dec. 11. UC Davis (6-1) looks to get back to its winning ways with a game against Eastern Illinois Tuesday Dec. 9.
“Boy, he’s playing good,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said of Scott. “I think I told someone ‘we’re going to go how Mike Scott goes’ and he’s made some big shots, he’s made some big passes … I hope he continues to play this way the rest of the year.”
Scott finished with 19 points, four assists, three rebounds and zero turnovers. Hill wasn’t far behind with 16 points.
All in all the Vandals had four players in double-figures. Along with Scott and Hill, sophomore shooting guard Sekou Wiggs finished with 13 points and freshman power forward Arkadiy Mkrtychyan had 12 points.
“I think that’s the way it’s going to be,” Verlin said. “I don’t think we got a dominate guy that can really score at all three levels like Stephen (Madison) could — we’re going to be a little different.”
Verlin said some of his best teams have been when he had four or five guys that scored, instead of having only one or two players.
After an emotional game against Washington State last Wednesday, Idaho continued its momentum against UC Davis.
“Well it had to, because that was a big win for us and that was a big game for our guys,” said Verlin of his team’s confidence after the WSU game. “They were extremely exhausted on Thursday. They really wanted that game, not only were they tired, but physically tired and emotionally … I was happy with the way they bounced back today, especially in the second half.”
After UC Davis held its biggest lead of 10 points four minutes into the second half, Idaho went on a 16-6 run to tie the game at 50-50 with just over 10 minutes left in the game.
From there, Idaho outscored UC Davis 29-21 for the win.
Korbin McDonald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org