Vandals improve to 2-2, beat NDSU 78-69

Led by junior guard KASHIF WATSON (19 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 6 steals), the Vandals beat North Dakota State University last night in Memorial Gym. Said coach Don Verlin: "I thought for the first time since I've been here we executed offensively the way I want us to execute, and I thought we got a lot of good looks throughout the game. We competed really hard and it was a good win for us."


- This was Idaho's second win in six tries against NDSU. The two teams did not play last year; in the 2006-07 season the Bison won 91-76 in Memorial gym. The three prior games had been decided by seven points or less.

- Kashif Watson led all scorers with 19 points followed by Marvin Jefferson with 16, Luciano deSouza with 15 and Mac Hopson with 11. Terrence Simmons and Brandon Wiley had 7 each and Luis Augusto had three.

- The rebounding battle was close with the Bison holding a slim 35-31 edge. Watson topped the Vandals with 6, Hopson, Simmons and Jefferson each had 5, and Augusto, Wiley and de Souza had 2 each. Simmons and Brandon Brown each had a rebound.

- Hopson handed out eight assists for the Vandals, Simmons five, Watson four, and Wiley one.

- Team-wise, the Vandals scored 20 points off turnovers to 9 for the Bison; Idaho had a 10-2 edge in fast break points; Idaho lead 18-12 in second-chance points. Points in the paint were virtually even, 40 for NDSU and 38 for the Vandals. Both teams collected 10 bench points.

- Next action for the Vandals will be Monday at 7:05 p.m. when they travel to Cheney to face Eastern Washington in non-conference action. Their next home game will be Friday, Nov. 28 at 7:05 p.m. against UC Irvine in the Cowan Spectrum.


Your thoughts on the game?

DON VERLIN: "Well, I thought we played great in the second half, especially defensively. The stats speak for themselves. When you hold them to 34% from the field and 16 from the 3, that's going to help you win. I thought for the first time since I've been here we executed offensively similar to the way I want us to execute, and I thought we got a lot of good looks throughout the game. Any time you shoot 50% from two and 50% from three you're going to have a good night. We played really hard, competed really hard and it was a good win for us. That's a good basketball team."

About the post play, opening with Marvin Jefferson in the post:

DV: "Marvin (16 points including 7-of-8 from the floor, 5 rebounds, 2 blocked shots, 1 steal) played great tonight. We started him. We hadn't been starting him. We started him tonight. I didn't think he had a particularly good first half. In the second half I thought he really played well. I thought he came in with some huge offensive rebounds (a total of four for the game) and put backs. We need Marvin Jefferson to play well. We need an inside presence on this basketball team, and Marvin Jefferson's got to be one of those guys."

Starting point guard MAC HOPSON with eight assists and one turnover against NDSU.
On Kashif Watson's play:

DV: "I thought 'Shif and Mac (Hopson) both played very well. Probably the stat I was most impressed with Mac was eight assists and one turnover. That's a point guard, and that's what we need. Shif (19 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 6 steals) brought good energy, and the thing that Shif did so well was late in the second half we put him on their best player (Ben Woodside) and he shut him down. That's what Shif needs to do for us night in and night out."

It looked like you wore them down defensively.

DV: "I thought our athleticism had something to do with that. I thought we were athletic around the basket. We played physical, and I thought we just wore them down. You're right. We wore them down; our athleticism was the whole deal there."

On changing up between man and zone and extending the defense out to half court:

DV: "Yeah. We did that a little bit on the road trip. We're not where we need to be defensively yet; so by changing some defenses we were hoping to keep them off rhythm. This is a team…those four seniors have started 108 games. They've gone and won in some big places. They went to Wisconsin and won as freshmen. They're a very good basketball team, and guarding their motion is something very difficult, and we had to keep them off balance as best we could. Primarily in the second half we went to man-to-man and we got a bunch of stops and that was the difference in the game."

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