| March 20, 2018

MBB: Weber State 74 – Idaho 63

Despite coming down with the flu prior to Thursday’s game against Weber State, Connor Hill attempted to battle through the illness and tried to help his team clinch a Big Sky tournament berth.

The flu, however, got the best of Hill. The senior shooting guard was held to four points, injured his knee, got into foul trouble and watched from the bench as his team suffered a 74-63 loss to Weber State.

“He was definitely really sick,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said of Hill. “I didn’t know if he was going to be able to go. We tried him, and then he bangs his knee early. He just wasn’t himself tonight.”

Idaho (13-15, 8-9) is now tied with Weber State (13-15, 8-9) for seventh place in the conference standings. With the loss and Southern Utah’s upset win over Sacramento State, Idaho is still in danger of not making the Big Sky tournament.

With one game left in the regular season, the Vandals can clinch a spot in the conference tournament with a victory over Idaho State Saturday, in Pocatello, Idaho.

“The prize is still there,” Verlin said. “What we can’t do is have a hangover for the next game … What we got to do is continue to fight, pull ourselves together and go play Idaho State on Saturday.”

After Hill committed his fourth foul midway through the second half, Verlin pulled his leading scorer and would not put him back in for the rest of the game.

Sophomore guard Perrion Callandret stepped up in Hill’s absence and finished with 10 points.

“I thought Perrion Callandret came in and really picked us up in that area,” Verlin said. “I thought (he) played hard and played well.”

Even with Callandret’s stellar play, Verlin said he had trouble finding a lineup throughout the game. He said he also wanted to give an opportunity to players who haven’t received much playing time this season.

“I kept searching tonight,” Verlin said of finding a lineup that worked. “I didn’t think the guys out there were playing hard … For whatever reason, we didn’t compete like we needed to (in order) to beat a good Weber State team.”

Verlin said the lack of effort led the Vandals to getting outrebounded by Weber State, 34-23.

“We got our tails kicked on the boards tonight,” he said. “I thought Weber State was the most aggressive team tonight. I thought they took us out of everything we wanted to do and they did a very nice job of staying on the attack all night long.”

Joel Bolomboy led the way for the Wildcats. The junior from Fort Worth, Texas, finished the game with a double-double, as he scored 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.

Verlin said the Vandals needed to play with a sense of urgency.

“This is our championship week,” he said. “Anything can happen … We got to play better. It’s tournament time, which is usually when teams play a little better … What we got to do is rebound, rebound and come out fighting and get this team rejuvenated.”

Korbin McDonald can be reached at vandalnation@uidaho.edu

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