Idaho had their hands full with the defending Mountain West conference champions in a 88-64 loss to Nevada on Friday.
The Vandals started strong against the Wolfpack with an early 6-2 run to take a 15-11 lead with 12:20 left in the first half. Strong defense helped give the early lead to the Vandals while holding the Wolfpack scoreless on two possessions running down the shot clock to under five seconds.
The Wolfpack answered the Vandals by going on a 6-0 run themselves to gain a 24-21 lead with 5:53 left in the first half.
The strong defensive game shifted from Idaho to Nevada quickly when Nevada held Idaho scoreless for almost six minutes late in the first half. Nevada was able to push their lead on a 14-4 run to put them up by eight towards the end of the half.
Strong three-point shooting from Nevada helped them pull away from Idaho towards the end of the first half, finishing on a 11-5 run to end the half with a 43-30 lead.
Turnovers were a big problem for the Vandals in the first half with senior guard Perrion Callandret and junior guard Victor Sanders combining for eight of Idaho’s 12 turnovers in the half. Nevada’s transfer guard Caleb Martin gave the Vandals troubles in the first half, scoring 21 points.
Sanders and senior small forward Jordan Scott lead the scoring for the Vandals in the first half. Sanders had eight points and five rebounds and Scott added seven points.
Idaho shot 37.5 percent from the field, with a 12.5 percent three-point percentage. In comparison, Nevada shot 46.4 percent from the field, with a 36.4 percent 3-point percentage for the half.
Idaho came out fighting in the second half. Nevada was up to a 16-point lead in the second half, but Idaho was able to go on an 8-0 run to cut the lead to eight with 15 minutes left in the game.
For every Vandal run, the Wolfpack answered. Late in the second half Nevada went on a 10-0 run and held Idaho scoreless for three minutes to take a 17-point lead with just minutes left in the game.
The Wolfpack finished the game on a 20-5 run to win the game 88-64.
Idaho finished the game shooting 13-34 for 38.2 percent from the field, and finishing 3-11 from the three-point line. Nevada finished shooting 17-34 for 50 percent from the field, and finishing 3-12 from beyond the arc.
Senior forward Brayon Blake led the way for the Vandals scoring 17 points and nine rebounds. Sanders had his first double-double of the season having 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Martin led the way for the Wolfpack with 26 points and seven rebounds.
Callandret and Sanders combined for 10 of Idaho’s 17 turnovers on the game. Idaho’s bench was outscored 37-9 against the Wolfpack, but won the rebounding battle 39-34. Nevada held the lead for almost 28 minutes of the ballgame.
Idaho Head Coach Don Verlin said in a news release he liked the effort from his team, but blames turnovers for team’s mistakes.
“Mainly it was our turnovers, letting them get out in transition,” Verlin said. “It was a tough night. We knew we were going to have to play really well to beat a tough Nevada team. I wasn’t disappointed with our effort.”
Idaho hopes to get their season back on track against George Fox Monday at 7 p.m. in Memorial Gym.
Chris Deremer can be reached at email@example.com