RENO, Nev. – A pair of cold stretches were too much to overcome for the Vandals as Idaho dropped its season-opener at Nevada, 88-64
Idaho got up early but turnovers and a cold streak down the end of the half plagued the Vandals. Idaho opened up the game 6-of-9 from the field, but missed 11 of its next 12 shots before a pair of buckets from Victor Sanders to close the half.
The Wolf Pack took control in the second half but the Vandals fought their way back midway through. Idaho got it to within five with 11:42 to play on a jumper by Nate Sherwood, but Nevada would get hot from there, pulling away in the final minutes for the 88-64.
The Vandals struggled from range overall, connecting on 4-of-19 (21.1%) from 3-point land. Idaho did win the battle of the boards, outrebounding Nevada 39-34.
North Carolina State transfer Caleb Martin led the way for Nevada with 26 points.
Brayon Blake. Blake led Idaho with 17 points, going 7-of-12 from the floor and 2-of-3 from beyond the arc. Blake got going in the second half, scoring 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the frame. He grabbed nine rebounds on the night as well, including three offensive.
Sanders finished with 14 points and a career-high 10 rebounds, marking his first career double-double.
Scott Blakney, Garrett Kingman and Geno West all made their Idaho debuts on Friday night.
Three Vandals scored at least 14 points (Nate Sherwood 14, Victor Sanders 14, Brayon Blake 17). Idaho only had three athletes score at least 14 points in a game twice last season.
“Mainly it was our turnovers, letting them get out in transition,” said head coach Don Verlin. “We were just a little sloppy tonight. Give Nevada credit, they’re a good ball club. I thought our guys played extremely hard tonight. We outrebounded them by five. We just shot ourselves in the foot a little, let them get out in transition for some easy baskets. It was tough tonight. We knew we were going to have to play really well to beat a tough Nevada team. I wasn’t disappointed with our effort.
“We’ve got to get a lot better. I liked some of the things I saw tonight. I thought BJ was very, very good tonight. I thought Chad was solid. I thought Vic, with the way they were guarding him, had a good performance tonight, got 10 rebounds for us.”
ON Blake: “Traditionally that’s the way it happen,s the year after he’s been in the system for a year. When we got it back to five there, obviously we were on BJ’s back there bringing us back into this basketball game.”
Idaho returns home for a Monday evening tilt against George Fox at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at GoVandals.com/Tickets.
Fans can stay up-to-date on all things Idaho men's basketball by following the team on twitter, @VandalHoops. Tickets are on sale for what is shaping up to be an exciting season of Vandal basketball, get yours today at GoVandals.com/Tickets.
For more information on Idaho Athletics, visit GoVandals.com. Fans can also find Idaho on Twitter and Instagram, @Idaho_Vandals, or on Facebook by searching Idaho Vandals.
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