Sanders, Mkrtychyan lead Idaho by Montana, into BigSky semi's


After earning a first round bye in this week’s BigSky conference tournament, it was time for the Idaho Vandals to earn their keep as they opened quarterfinal play with the Montana Grizzlies Thursday at the Reno Events Center.

The two ball clubs split their season series, each team winning on their opponent’s home court and if it wasn’t for Arkadiy Mkrtychyan’s play in the first half, the Vandals would have likely been run out of the building. Ark would finish with 19, just two off his career high 8-of-10 shooting and the Vandals held the lead mid-way through the first.

Later in the first, Idaho building a double-digit lead on the little runner in the lane from Vic Sanders but despite that lead, Montana would make a second half push. Down six, make that three on the perimeter shot from Jack Lopez. Very next Montana possession, Ahmaad Rorie, bang and the Griz had things squared at 61.

But the Vandals won’t wilt, Vic Sanders…take that and Idaho had the lead right back. But down a point with under two to play, Vandals all out of sorts on the offensive side so they play through the guy who can make lemonade out of oranges. Vic Sanders with the runner off the window, Vandals back on top, 75-74.

Montana would get one more chance to tie or take the lead late. Victor Sanders splits a pair at the line but on the other end it is Sanders with the swat of Walter Wright, Bobby Moorehead’s putback will not fall. Trevon Allen comes down with the board and ices it at the line and the Vandals with a little payback for the Griz.

Idaho will play North Dakota in the conference semi’s tomorrow (Friday) night at 5:35PM.

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