This contest had mismatch written all over it.
The Santa Cruz Warriors entered Fridays game with a 4-1 record and were in first place in the NBA Development Leagues West Division.
Idaho on the other hand, was 0-6 and in last place in the same division.
And it was a mismatch in the Stampedes favor. Idaho led the whole way as it defeated Santa Cruz 105-91 at CenturyLink Arena.
We had tremendous energy and spark and we played the way we were supposed to, said coach Mike Peck, who earned his first professional victory. Thats what tonight was. Did my pen and my Xs and Os win this game? No. The players won that game.
Idaho got a huge boost from two players assigned to Idaho earlier in the day by the Portland Trail Blazers. Center Joel Freeland, playing his first game with Idaho, gave the Stampede a much-needed physical presence inside the key.
Im happy to be on the court, and Im happy to be playing, Freeland said after notching a double-double with a team-high 22 points and 11 rebounds.
Freeland, a native of England, signed with Portland this year, and hes played limited minutes in 12 games with the Blazers this season.
I got real tired out there, the 6-foot-11 Freeland said. But Im happy to be out there and Im happy to help this team get the first win.
Spanish product Victor Claver played his third game with Idaho, and it might have been his best. He just missed getting a double-double of his own, with 11 points and nine rebounds.
The third quarter also played a big role in the victory. Idaho had been outscored by at least six points in the third quarter of its first six games, including the previous contest, when Austin outscored Idaho 33-19. On Friday night, the Stampede outscored the Warriors 25-19.
Prior to Wednesday, there were 50 D-League games played, and 35 of the 50 games in which the team won the third quarter, it won the game, Peck said.
So, perhaps Peck emphasized that point to his players?
Absolutely, he said.
The Stampede (1-6) will try to make it two in a row when they host the Warriors (4-2) again Saturday night.
Chris Langrill: 377-6424