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Vandal men breeze to 54-point victory over West Coast Baptist

November 28, 2018

Well, at least it was a confidence builder. But no way to treat a considerate guest.

After Walla Walla University canceled its season and dropped out of a date with Idaho, the Vandals were able to fill the schedule vacancy on short notice with West Coast Baptist College, from Lancaster, California. The Eagles are a member of the Pacific Christian Athletic Conference.

“They bused from Lancaster. They were very nice to play us,” Vandals coach Don Verlin said.

The Vandals, however, repaid that thoughtfulness by running the outmanned Eagles off the court Tuesday, 98-44.

Six Idaho players scored in double figures, led by Cameron Tyson’s 16 points. Geno West and Cassius Smits-Francisco each added 12. Jared Rodrigues and Trevon Allen had 11 apiece, and Xavier Smith 10 points.

“It was a learning experience for us, especially coming off two losses,” said West. “It’s fun, of course. Everybody gets involved.” The Vandals improved to 2-4. The Eagles fell to 0-6.

Verlin echoed his sophomore guard. “This team needs as many of those type of experiences to get out and play as they can get.”

West, who split point guard duties with Allen, made two assists and a pair of steals. He said the point “is my natural position. I’m learning how to be a point guard at a high level. In high school, I was a combo guard.”

Allen is 6-2. As a sophomore last year he worked exclusively at guard. But when he wasn’t running the Vandals from there Tuesday, he moved out to play extensively as a wing. In addition to his 11 points, he grabbed eight rebounds and made three assists.

“We’re a work in progress,” Verlin said. “We’re putting some different rotations out there.”

Two statistics eloquently summed up Idaho’s dominance. The Vandals outscored the Eagles in the paint, 54-14, and for the game West Coast Baptist shot just 27.3 percent from the floor, 18 of 66, to Idaho’s 56.9 percent, 37-65. The Vandals were able to get shots inside at will, and their three-quarter pressure on defense harried West Coast Baptist into 17 turnovers and countless bad shots. Stephen Wheeler was the Eagles’ best ball handler, really the only one able to cope with Idaho’s backcourt pressure, and he turned the ball over five times himself.

Ian Russell led the Eagles with 16 points. He was an efficient 8 of 15 on field goals with a jump hook and mid-range jump shot. But at about 6-5, he had the daunting task of trying to check the taller Vandals inside. Although he picked up three first-half fouls and another in the second half, he was able to stay in the game.

The Vandals had 10 players with at least 16 minutes of playing time. Tyson, the leading scorer, had the least time on the floor, 16:07. Verlin was pleased with the contribution from the bench, exemplified by sophomore guard Chance Garvin. Verlin noted Garvin scored six points and made a steal in nearly 26 minutes of playing time. “He played hard. He dove on the floor.

“It’s good to get guys going like that and get a win.”

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