| February 23, 2018

Men’s Basketball: Bee Repellent

An all-around performance, led by senior guard Perrion Callandret’s high-percentage shooting off the bench, propelled the Vandal men to an 81-58 drubbing of Sacramento State Saturday night in the Hornets’ Nest.

Callandret dropped a season-high 23 points and Idaho (16-7, BSC 8-3) led for all but 37 seconds. The Vandals shot 54 percent from the field while applying consistent defensive pressure to pick up their third-straight win.

“We had to make them uncomfortable and I thought our guys did a good job of that.” Idaho Head Coach Don Verlin said in a news release. “A good team road win and I couldn’t be more proud of our guys. They battled, sat down and fought and did what they needed to do to win the game.”

The Vandals came out in the first with an ambience of relentlessness. Idaho largely maintained its offensive composure from Thursday’s win over Portland State and was exceptional on the defensive end.

The Hornets (6-17, BSC 3-7) shot 0-9 from beyond-the-arc. Idaho’s No. 1 Big Sky perimeter defense did not budge, nor did the defense in general falter from anywhere on the court.

After just one hit from the field, the Hornets were prohibited from scoring for nearly four minutes. In that span, the Vandals amended any remaining offensive kinks and proceeded to light a fire in the frontcourt that would last the entirety of the half.

Despite senior guard Victor Sanders’ inability to score in the first, Idaho identified new and unexpected ways to dictate the game’s tempo. In his second-straight game as sixth man, Callandret was near-perfect in the half. The senior dropped 14 points in 12 minutes, including two long, high-arching 3-balls.

Senior forward Jordan Scott exhibited an impressive but unanticipated performance on the offensive end as well. Often using drive and stops and finishing off the high-glass, Scott knocked in 11 points on 5-5 from the field.

Down the stretch, Idaho again prevented any Sacramento State scores – this time, for a full five minutes. The once-buzzing Hornets’ Nest was virtually silent throughout the final five minutes of the half, as Idaho’s defense was impenetrable and offense continued its sharp-shooting and ball-sharing.

A bank-shot 3-pointer from Scott pushed the halftime Vandal lead to 40-20, but Sacramento State got the second half started on a 7-0 run to considerably cut down the Idaho momentum.

Four minutes in, senior guard Chad Sherwood halted the buzz of a Sacramento State comeback with consecutive 3-pointers buried in the bottom of the net. Less than a minute later, senior forward Brayon Blake nailed a triple of his own to stretch the Vandal lead to 49-34 at the 15:00 mark.

But Sacramento State, a team which wins about 75 percent of its home games, refused to quietly succumb. The Hornets revived the queen and surged forward on a 12-2 run midway through the half, taking advantage of Vandal field goal miscues and mishandled balls.

With seven minutes remaining, the Hornets cut the lead down to single digits for the first time since the 6:07 mark in the first half after a driving scoop lay-in from guard Jeff Wu.

The phase of Hornet resurgence was short-lived, however. Sanders’ first points of the game, three freebies with about six minutes left, gave Idaho a maintainable 14-point advantage.

The rest was a relative cinch for Idaho, as every Sacramento State field-goal was answered by an overhaul of Vandal buckets.

Although Sanders finished with a season-low eight points –  his first field-goal coming on a distant 3-bomb at the 3:30 mark – his peers made up the difference. Blake was again notable, with 16 points and seven boards and C. Sherwood drove in four treys to move into fifth all-time in made 3-pointers for Idaho.

The Vandal bench contributed a season-high 32 points and the Idaho again controlled the boards, outrebounding the Hornets 36-27.

Idaho returns to Moscow for a three-game home stretch, opening with the nearby Eastern Washington 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Cowan Spectrum in the Idaho basketball double-header.

Colton Clark can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @coltonclark95.

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