GREELEY, Colo. – A slow stretch late in the second did the Vandals in on Sunday in Greeley, as Idaho fell to Northern Colorado, 81-77.
Both teams got out to slow starts, and it was Northern Colorado that was able to get things going first. The Bears would get up by as many as nine in the first half, before the Vandals mounted their comeback to get to within two at the break, 37-35.
The game remained close throughout, with neither team able to pull away, but the Bears took control late. Idaho would mount a comeback in the final minutes, getting to within two points twice, but the Bears were able to weather the storm for the win.
Idaho shot 45.9 percent (28-61) from the floor and 33.3 percent (5-of-15) from beyond the arc. Idaho started strong with the long-ball, going 5-of-10 in the first half, but finished the game 0-of-5 in the second.
Victor Sanders led the team with 19 points, while Brayon Blake added 17 points and eight boards. Perrion Callandret chipped in with 16 points, and Jordan Scott finished with 11.
Arkadiy Mkrtychyan. Mkrtychyan finished with eight points and six boards off the bench. He connected on 4-of-8 shots from the floor.
Idaho moves to 1-1 in Big Sky play. Northern Colorado goes to 2-0. Northern Colorado was one of two other schools to receive votes in the preseason coaches’ poll.
Scott recorded a season-high 11 points.
Idaho won the battle-of-the boards, 35-34. Idaho was outscored in the paint, 34-32.
“You look at the stat sheet and it’s almost equal,” said Don Verlin. “We basically shoot the same amount from the field, they make a few more 3’s. The bottom line to this game is just a little bit, a few plays here and there that make the difference to beat a team on the road. I thought we made some mistakes tonight that we need to clean up.”
Idaho returns home to take on Sacramento State at 7 p.m. on Thursday. Check back with GoVandals.com this week for more information.