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Idaho Vandals Game Thread

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Ahmad Starks had his best shooting night of the season in leading Oregon St. to a 25 point win over Montana. If he can continue his improved shooting, the Beavers stand a good chance of getting another win against Idaho.
Ahmad Starks had his best shooting night of the season in leading Oregon St. to a 25 point win over Montana. If he can continue his improved shooting, the Beavers stand a good chance of getting another win against Idaho.

Idaho (4-4) at Oregon St. (6-1) at 7 PM at Gill Coliseum / ROOT Sports NW / KEJO 1240 AM / KPAM 860 (Streamed)

The Idaho Vandals from the WAC visit Gill Coliseum tonight to take on the Oregon St. Beavers.

There will be a moment of silence during the pregame in memory of Fred Thompson, 19, the Oregon St. freshman football player who passed away from an apparent heart attack Wednesday evening, while playing basketball at the Dixon Rec. Center on campus.

Idaho has actually faced Oregon St. more often than any other team except Oregon, Washington, and Washington St.. This will be the 173rd meeting all time. Most of the meetings came from 1930 thru 1955, when both teams were members of the Pacific Coast Conference.

Oregon St. leads the series 120-52, and has a 66-18 advantage in games at Gill Coliseum. However, the teams have meant only 3 times in the last 28 years, and not since 76-73 Idaho overtime win in Corvallis 9 years ago.

The Vandals hosted neighborhood rival Washington St. Wednesday night, and lost 66-64, after the Cougars' Reggie Moore sank the game winning shot with .9 seconds left.

Stephen Madison led all scorers, with 18 points for Idaho, having shot 70% from the field (7 of 10), and 2 of 4 on 3 pointers. Idaho fell behind by a much as 12 points in the first half, and trailed by 10 points at halftime, but fought their way back into the game, tieing int 8 minutes into the second half. The Cougs got as far as 5 points ahead again, but the persistent Vandals hung in, tieing it with 25 seconds left on a jumper by Landon Tatum, only to have Moore break their hearts at the buzzer.

The Beavers controlled things all evening in their 71-46 home win Sunday over Montana. Ahmad Starks had his best game of the year, hitting 4 of 7 3 pointers, and scoring a game high 16 points. Jared Cunningham was close behind, with 14 points, and several additions to his season long highlight video, which looks like it will need to be a boxed set.

Cunningham even had a highlight show blocked shot, which inspired Devon Collier and Eric Moreland to combine for 5 more blocks. The overall defensive effort Oregon St. put forth allowed them to dominate the Grizzlies despite a tepid shooting night, where the Beavers were 40% from 3 point range, but less than that inside the arc.

Idaho is the kind of team that can cause trouble. They are a team with little recent success (their wins are over a less than impressive schedule, with 2 of their wins against below Division I opponents, but one that shoots the ball well. The kind of team its easy to take lightly, but one that can shoot their way into contention.

The Vandals' duo of Deremy Geiger and Madison both shoot in the mid 40s%, and Geiger in particular is not shy about shooting.

The atmosphere at Gill Coliseum won't be the most raucous of the year either, as finals have finished, and many of the students that generally inhabit the Beaver Dam will have beat it out of town for the holiday break.

There's bound to be a mindset of relief with the team as well, with those finals taken care of.

Fortunately, this team hasn't been hesitant at any point this season, and played with energy and emotion all night every night. And there will be a detachment from the OSUMB who haven't headed out for break yet, which will wake up the winter break crowd.

Idaho also isn't a team that plays the up-tempo style that lends itself to their getting a lot of turnovers and fast break points, or preventing Oregon St. from doing so.

The Vandals can score down low, and contend for rebounds, with 6-10 junior Kyle Barone the key to their efforts around the basket. It will be important for Collier, Moreland, Joe Burton, and Angus Brandt to assert themselves.

For those of you watching on ROOT rather than venturing out on a cold, foggy night, here's the place to warm up the discussion of what should be some hot Beaver basketball action.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com