Vandals Pick Up Road Sweep

Vandals Pick Up Road Sweep

Idaho picked up the road sweep, taking down Northern Arizona 84-80 on Saturday afternoon in Flagstaff.

THE GAME

Idaho was ice cold to start, with NAU taking a 6-0 lead in the opening minutes. Things clicked there for the Vandals, who then went on a 17-0 run capped off by back-to-back steals and dunks from Perrion Callandret .

The Lumberjacks would recover with a run of 3-pointers, before Victor Sanders took over with eight quick points by himself. NAU again got hot from beyond the arc, taking a 36-32 lead into the break.

Both teams shot lights-out to start the second half. NAU built its lead to as many as eight before Idaho’s Brayon Blake took over, scoring six straight for the Vandals to cut the deficit. Idaho continued to put the pressure on, eventually reclaiming the lead at 54-53. The Lumberjacks stayed close for the rest of the night, but couldn’t get back to level as the Vandals handled business at the free throw line to take the 84-80 win.

Idaho shot 51.0 percent (25-of-49) from the field and 48.0 percent (12-of-25) from beyond the arc. The Vandals won the rebound battle, 32-29.

THE NAME

Brayon Blake . Blake followed up his tremendous performance from Thursday night with another outstanding game, finishing with 25 points and nine rebounds. Blake, the Big Sky’s leading rebounding this season, is averaging nearly 10 boards per game in conference play this season.

Blake stepped up when the Vandals needed it early in the second half. The Lumberjacks couldn’t seem to miss early on, but neither could Blake. He opened the half with six quick points, keeping the Thundebirds close before the rest of the Vandals took over to secure the win.

“BJ had a great trip, no question about it,” said head coach Don Velrin. “To score 20 points or more in each of the games. He gets nine rebounds tonight, and 12 or 13 the other night, he’s just giving us one heck of an effort. I’ve been very happy with his progress. Stepped up and made his free throws, something that he’s been struggling with a little bit this year but has been working really hard on it.”

THE NOTES

Idaho moves to 5-2 in Big Sky play and will end the day in at least a tie for second in the league.

Sanders moved into 4 th in program history in scoring, passing Kenny Luckett. He now has 1583 points, two points behind Brian Kellerman for third in program history.

Blake finished with 20-plus for the second straight night. Idaho is now 4-1 in his career when he scores at least 20 points.

Tonight was the first time that Sanders and Blake scored 20-plus in the same game.

Jordan Scott tied a career high with three 3-pointers, going 3-of-3 from beyond the arc and finishing with 11 points. “No one has worked harder on his shot than Jordan,” Verlin said. “He has been working on that thing non-stop for five years. He’s got a lot of confidence right now in it, our guys have been doing a great job of finding him, those were great passes BJ made coming out of their double-team. Couldn’t be happier for him. Couldn’t be happier for a guy that has worked extremely hard on shooting. No one has worked harder on their perimeter shot and it’s all paying off in his senior year.”