Game experience crucial for Stampede before opener

Idaho opens the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday against Bakersfield at CenturyLink Arena.

STATESMAN STAFFNovember 20, 2013 

Idaho Stampede, NBA D-League, CenturyLink Arena

Former Boise State basketball player Jason Ellis, shown during a game against Bakersfield in March, is back for his fifth NBADL season with the Idaho Stampede.

DARIN OSWALD — Idaho Statesman file Buy Photo

The Idaho Stampede played their lone preseason game Tuesday night in Winnemucca, Nev. The Reno Bighorns won 125-102.

The outcome wasn't what second-year coach Mike Peck had hoped for, but it did provide him the opportunity to see this year's team in a game situation. He has 12 players on his roster, and he needs to trim that number to 10 by Thursday.

“We need to evaluate guys,” Peck said before Tuesday's contest. “We need to see who can do what in a game situation. We need to figure out which pieces fit together best, and then we'll make a decision as a staff.”

Idaho opens the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday against Bakersfield at CenturyLink Arena. The two teams will play again Saturday on the Stampede's home court.

Pierre Jackson, Idaho's first-round pick in this year's NBA Development League Draft, showed Tuesday that he's a player to watch as he scored 26 points in a little more than 23 minutes. The Baylor product went 13-for-13 from the free throw line. EJ Singler, out of Oregon, went 4-for-5 from 3-point range and finished with 18 points.

As for Friday's regular-season opener, forward Dallas Lauderdale might be the most excited player to get the season underway. He missed all of last season while he rehabbed a foot injury.

“After sitting out all of last year with that injury, he's ready to go,” Peck said. “He doesn't want to miss another minute, whether it's practice or a game.”

Lauderdale got into foul trouble early Tuesday night and finished with five fouls, two rebounds and one point in 14 minutes. But a healthy Lauderdale could be a big plus for the Stampede, who started the season on a six-game losing streak last year as they struggled inside. The 6-foot-8 Lauderdale is No. 3 on Ohio State's list of career shot blockers. His wingspan is 7 feet, 6 inches.

“He's a mobile big. He can get up the floor,” Peck said. “People say, 'Ah, he's 6-8.' But you know what? With that wingspan, he's like a 7-footer, and he moves way better than any 7-footer that I've ever seen.”

NOTE: The game time for the Stampede's home contest against Reno on Nov. 30 has been changed from 7 p.m. to 3 p.m. Boise State football fans who wear blue and orange will receive discounted ticket prices.

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