The Matchup: Idaho State Bengals at Washington Huskies
Game Info: 1pm tip off at Alaska Airlines Arena
TV: Pac-12 Networks. Radio: 950 KJR
Idaho State 2013-14 record: 3-3. 2012-13 record: 6-24
Coach: The Bengals are coached by Bill Evans, who is his 2nd year at Idaho State. Before joining Idaho State, Evans spent four seasons as an assistant at Montana. During a 15 year run as the head coach of Southern Utah, Evans was 183-189. Evans is 9-27 in his two seasons with the Bengals.
Series: Washington is 4-0 all time against Idaho State, with the first game being played in 1990. The last time these two teams met, Washington cruised to an 82-50 win behind a 21 point 11 rebound performance by Jon Brockman.
Scouting Report: Idaho State
Heading into the season Idaho State was predicted to finish last in the 11 team Big Sky Conference. In their previous game against Utah, Idaho State led 37-28 at halftime, but was outscored 46-29 in the second half on way to a 74-66 loss. The Bengals return four starters from last season and have started the same lineup every game.
The Bengals ended their 22 game road losing streak last month with a win at San Francisco. Junior Chris Hansen poured in 33 points, including five three pointers, to lead the Bengals.
Some interesting stats to point out, Idaho State is second in the NCAA in steals at 11.4 per game, and stand at 65th in scoring at 79.6 points per game.
Players to Watch
The team’s leading scorer, senior Tomas Sanchez, returns to his hometown of Seattle where he played at Shorewood High School. The 6’2 guard averages 16.2 points and 4.7 assists for the Bengals. Sanchez played in 29 games for the Bengals last season, averaging 10.3 points and 3.3 rebounds. Before arriving at Idaho State, Sanchez spent two years at Fresno City College. Sanchez is shooting 49% from the field and 54% from three.
Junior Chris Hansen is the team’s second leading scorer at 15.7 PPG. Hansen is a native of Fort Collins, Colorado, and played at year at Northwest College in Wyoming before transferring to ISU. Hansen averaged 11.4 points and 3.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore, earning him Big Sky honorable mention honors.
The teams leading rebounder is 6’4 senior guard Andre Hatchett. Hatchett averages a team high 7.7 rebounds, and has recorded two double doubles this season.
Huskies Win If…
They win the turnover battle, attack the hoop, and win the rebound battle. Idaho State comes in averaging 11 steals a game so if the Huskies can control the ball they can stop the Bengals from getting easy buckets. Much like the Huskies, the Bengals are a smaller team who starts four guards. The tallest player in their starting lineup is 6’9 so look for the Huskies to feed senior Perris Blackwell and attack the hoop. If the Huskies attack they will find themselves getting easy baskets or getting to the free throw line, where they have shot an impressive 77% on the season . Idaho State is one of the few teams who don’t dominate the Huskies size wise, so if the Huskies get extra opportunities on the offensive end, and finish defensive possessions after one shot, they will put themselves in a great position to win
The Huskies Lose If…
Hopefully this one isn’t close but the Huskies will lose if they turn the ball over and let ISU’s scorers get hot. We saw what turnovers can do to the Huskies against San Diego State, where a first half lead was diminished by multiple TO’s. Idaho State has had no trouble turning teams over and will use them to get easy buckets. In many games this season, the Huskies have allowed go-to scorers to keep their teams alive a half, and even a whole game, and Sanchez and Hansen have shown they can put together big performances. Sanchez shoots and impressive 54% from three and would love to roast the Huskies as he returns to his hometown Seattle.
Sitting at 4-4, the Huskies have a lot to lose and not much to win in this one. I’m sure most Husky fans hope UW will win this one comfortably, but you never know what to expect from this team. Obviously the Huskies are more talented than Idaho State, but that doesn’t always translate to wins. If anything this game should be entertaining, as both teams average scores in the 80s. Go Dawgs!
What do you think? Comment your score and predictions for the game in the comments section.
Reach Erik Erickson via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Erik_Erickson