Opinion: Statement Made in Kalamazoo

The Idaho Vandals added another statement win on their resume Monday night by dominating the Western Michigan Broncos in an 82-52 victory in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Idaho came into the ballgame as five-point underdogs against the preseason MAC conference favorites, but Idaho quickly proved it should not be underestimated.

The matchup to look for going into the game featured Idaho’s leading senior guard Victor Sanders versus Western Michigan’s leading senior Thomas Wilder. Wilder scored 30 in the previous game — Sanders and Idaho knew they would have their hands full on Monday.

With NBA scouts from the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers and the Cleveland Cavaliers, this game was primed to be the marquee mid-major matchup of the night. Except only one team came out ready to play — the mighty Vandals.

Dominance is the only way to explain this win, with the Vandals simply dominating Western Michigan in every aspect of the game. The Vandals outrebounded, out hustled, and shot lights out compared to the Broncos. The rim was Idaho’s best friend, as the Vandals shot 17-30 from 3-point territory.

The marquee star matchup of the night between Sanders and Wilder, quickly became another episode of the Victor Sanders show as he put up another monster night, scoring 25 for the Vandals.

For Wilder, this was a night that he may want to forget. The Vandal defense held Wilder scoreless in the first half and putting him in foul trouble with 3 fouls, two of which charging violations. Wilder finished the night with only eight points for the Broncos.

The Vandal defense proved their dominance throughout the night, forcing 11 Bronco turnovers and only allowing one Bronco double digit scorer, who only had 11 points.

After travelling cross country to Kalamazoo, the Vandals showed their road dog potential with Big Sky conference play just around the corner.

Dominant performances like tonight’s proves the Vandals have a legitimate shot at winning the Big Sky, and making the NCAA tournament this year. The question moving forward is if the dominant Vandal performances can be consistent throughout conference play.

Idaho has made many strides throughout non-conference play, and with Big Sky competition looming on Friday, the Idaho Vandals will be ready to make their mark on the rest of the season.

Chris Deremer can be reached at cderemer@uidaho.edu


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