Along the way a number of first year players were called upon throughout the season to be major contributors. Although the beginning was rough for many of them (including a tough early season schedule played largely on the road), their maturity under fire began to show towards the end of the season. Plus, as in years past, the Vandals turned to defense, forcing teams out of their game-plan and into the strength of the Vandal team. As a team Idaho ended the season at or near the top of the Conference in several defensive categories, including blocked shots (1st), turnover margin (1st), and steals (2nd). Offensively the numbers were not jaw-dropping, but combined with their defense it was good enough for an 8-3 run to close out the regular season and go into the BWC tournament with a bye.
In front of 5,676 fans Friday night at the Cowan Spectrum, Idaho said good-bye to 3 seniors who played key roles for the Vandals all season...and have been key contributors throughout their time in Moscow. The seniors include this year's leading scorer Tyrone Hayes (13.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 81.6% FT, 21 blocked shots, 32 steals) who also ranks 6th in the Idaho record books for career free-throw percentage, Dwayne Williams (11.0 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 65.9% FT, 29 assists, 23 steals) who is ranked 3rd all-time in 3-point field goals made at UI, and work-horse Rashaad Powell (7.5 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 72% FT, 12 blocks, 33 steals) battling in the paint.
From all of us at VandalVenue.com, congratulations to the seniors and team on a strong finish to the 2003-2004 season, and good luck next week in the Big West Tournament.
LINK: Official Site Men's Basketball page with summaries/stats
Below are a series of images from Saturday's MEN'S game against Utah State played at The Spectrum, courtesy VandalMar. Many thanks to Mar for bringing those of us who can't make it to Moscow a little closer to the action!
Vandals rally before the game. (VV.com Image / VandalMar)
Vandal sophomore center David Radlovic (6-9, 220) goes tall to block a Utah State shot. (VV.com Image / VandalMar)
Idaho's leading scorer the last 2 seasons, senior forward Tyrone Hayes, is currently 6th in the all-time UI record books for career free-throw percentage with an 80.4 career percentage from the stripe. (VV.com Image / VandalMar)
Vandal head coach Leonard Perry talks strategy with the team during a time-out. (VV.com Image / VandalMar)
Vandal cheerleaders rally the crowd of 5,675 at the Spectrum Saturday night against Utah State. (VV.com Image / VandalMar)