Vandals Stun Utah State Aggies!

LARRY JOHNSON / VandalVenue.com

Talk about redemption! A frustrating early season schedule resulted in the Vandal Men posting an uncharacteristic 1-8 record. But in front of a boisterous home crowd Thursday night at cozy Memorial Gym, the Vandal men triumphed over powerhouse Utah State by erasing a 12-2 deficit early in the game to post a 69-62 victory.

From the OFFICIAL Idaho website:

MOSCOW, Idaho –The Idaho men's basketball team staged a monumental, almost unimaginable, home win Thursday night at historic Memorial Gym.

In the conference opener, against one of the best teams in the Big West, the Vandals played their best game of the season –by far – and toppled Utah State 69-62.

"Tonight, the kids stepped up," head coach Leonard Perry, "We kept our composure, our staff did a great job, and the kids executed for 40 minutes.

The win was so unexpected it must have been a surprise to everyone in Memorial Gym – except for the Vandals themselves.

"We just knew we'd been working all week in practice," guard Tanoris Shepard said. "We didn't want to lay down against a team we know we can compete against."

Shepard scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half and helped the Vandals (2-8, 1-0) outscore the Aggies (7-3, 0-1) 34-28 after halftime. He also had three assists and three steals.

Dandrick Jones ‘ effort was just as impressive. He led the Vandals with 17 points, four assists and nine rebounds. Two of his late-game baskets helped the Vandals seal the victory while sending the holiday crowd of 1,350 into hysterics.

With 3:30 remaining, and the Vandals leading by three, Shepard missed a leaning jumper in traffic. Just as the ball bounced off the back of the rim and tumbled forward, Jones swooped along the baseline – around multiple Aggie forwards – and grabbed the ball at its apex before slamming it into the basket.

Three minutes later, he calmly took a feed from a driving Shepard and hit a 3-pointer from the baseline to put the Vandals ahead by six with 20 seconds left.

The win was all the more surprising considering the first four minutes, during which the Vandals fell behind 12-2.

A blowout loss seemed much more likely than a win at that moment. Yet from that point on, the Vandals outscored the Aggies 67-50.

"We're known for our slow starts," Jones said. "Coach just told us not to put our heads down. Once everybody calmed down, we got it going."

Facing a talented, tall and deep Utah State front line, Anton Lyons played well on both ends of the court. He scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds in 29 hard-fought minutes.

The Vandals had 19 offensive rebounds to the Aggies' five.

"I thought we rebounded well out of our area," Perry said. "Anton, Dandrick and (Mike) Kale ran down balls as well as they have all year."

Spencer Nelson and Jaycee Carroll both scored 17 points for the Aggies.

The Vandals hit eight 3-pointers. Forward Armend Kahrimanovic scored 11 points off the bench and connected on all three attempts from behind the arc.

"I know we're doing the right things in practice," Perry said. "Our kids have stayed with us all along. All they've done is come out and worked hard – that's all they've done. This is their win."



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