Vandals beat Fresno State 71-68 on the road

Led by a ferocious effort tonight by junior center MARVIN JEFFERSON, Idaho dominated on the boards 40-31 in the wake of Jefferson's 11 rebound performance. Idaho (14-14, 7-7 WAC) evened their season record with the 71-68 road victory over the Bulldogs. Idaho now heads home to wrap up their regular season with a two-game stand at the Cowan Spectrum. INSIDE: Verlin and Jefferson post-game quotes.

Idaho Head Coach Don Verlin, post-game quotes

LARRY JOHNSON: First your thoughts on the game.
DV: "Unbelievable win for us. It's tough to win here, and I thought our guys did an unbelievable job responding from what I thought was a mediocre second half effort on Thursday night. I think they came out and they played really hard, and we rebounded our ball like I thought we could all year. Marvin Jefferson had 11 rebounds which was huge. Mac Hopson 10 assists. We played one of our best basketball games of the year."

LARRY JOHNSON: I hate to bring this up, but the San Jose game it looked like there was a little bit of yipping going on amongst the troops, and it seemed it started right at the end of the first half and it carried on into the second half. I had never seen that all year.
DV: "No. That was exactly right, and the guys will tell you that was what I was most upset about. I didn't think we played hard, and most importantly I didn't think we were together. We preached at ‘em a lot about that, and then by the encouragement of my assistant coaches we stayed in the Bay Area on Friday and practiced there, went to the (Golden State) Warrior game to watch Kashif's brother CJ (Watson) play, and I thought it was a good team bonding experience. We spent a lot of time together, and they had to sit in a room for about three hours and listen to me talk, and I think they got tired of listening to me; so maybe some of it wore off."

LARRY JOHNSON: The game was close really until three or four minutes to go, and you guys stretched the lead out to about eight or nine points. What do you think made that difference to get out that far?
DV: "I just thought we wore ‘em down. I thought we played as hard as we've played all year. I thought it was one of our best efforts possession after possession and on the boards and getting on the floor. I thought we wore them down. We got a couple of key turnovers, got a couple of huge rebounds. I just think we wore them down."

LARRY JOHNSON: Trevor Morris had a hot hand tonight, and also he was doing a lot on defense. Your comments on that?
DV: The best game Trevor's played all year. Unbelievable. He took his shots out of the offense that were wide open. He knocked ‘em down. Any time Trevor makes shots his defense usually gets better. He played very well defensively, and I'm so happy for Trevor heading into senior week, he and Terrence (Simmons) both I thought played very well tonight. What a great effort from both of them. What a great effort from our team!"

LARRY JOHNSON: I saw coach (Ray) Lopes do the wings and the ball and (Marvin) Jefferson gets kind of a hand on it and it looked like he was going to really put on an exhibition. What did you say to him when you took him out of the game after that? He was substituted out. What did you say to him?
DV: "Uh, you know I really can't remember what I did say to him. Probably ‘just hang in there and don't do anything crazy.' I can't remember what I said to be honest with you."

LARRY JOHNSON: It looked like it was going to turn into a Vandal highlight reel there for a moment and I thought it was gonna be a backboard breaker.
DV: (laughing) "Yeah, yeah. I can't remember what I said to him on that play to be honest with you."

LARRY JOHNSON: When you guys went to see C.J. Watson and the Warriors play did you get much of a chance to talk to C.J. Watson?
DV: "Yeah. Kashif got there early and was able to talk to him. C.J. was at our game on Thursday night and Kashif got to talk to him a little bit. We didn't get to talk to him, but you know I think just going and watching and hanging out and visiting I thought it was good for our team building. We have good guys; so we [the coaches] like being around them. It was a lot of fun. I told them they owed me one. I said most coaches wouldn't do that; so they paid me back tonight."

Center Marvin Jefferson, post-game quotes

LARRY JOHNSON: Your thoughts on this game. You come off San Jose, a game you probably thought you should have won and it seemed that way, and the team didn't look that cohesive at San Jose. Tonight things really came together and there was a hot hand. Your thoughts?
MJ: "This game really was about bouncing back. We went to San Jose and coach gave us a game plan, and we basically...we spoiled it. We didn't do what we were supposed to. Tonight was really about redeeming ourselves, coming out and coming together like we've been doing all year and pulling it out when we need to, pulling a W."

LARRY JOHNSON: Well, about four or five minutes to go - and the game was always within three or four or five points - and then all of a sudden you guys were up by eight or nine points and it seemed like you were a lot more comfortable. Something changed. What do you think it was?
MJ: "It was us coming together and us executing the way we were supposed to, buckling down and playing some defense, and that was in close possessions."

LARRY JOHNSON: The dunk down here where the coach signals the flying wing signal and you ran down and the pass…what went wrong?
MJ: "I got too excited. I hadn't had the court wide open like that all year. I was trying to think about what I was gonna do with it and I kinda lost it, you know?"

LARRY JOHNSON: I thought you were gonna break the backboard.
MJ: "In some way, windmill, 360, I don't know. It was all up here and it kinda slowed me down."

LJ: What did coach say to you guys at halftime?
MJ: "Halftime? Just like ‘Keep it up.' We were playing hard. He said we needed to execute more, buckle down on defense, and get separation from them."

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