Idaho Stampede shuffles roster, beats first-place Santa Cruz

clangrill@idahostatesman.comJanuary 30, 2014 

No roster in the NBA Development League is safe from turmoil.

But with one player making his debut and a recent acquisition pitching in offensively, the Idaho Stampede defeated the Santa Cruz Warriors 99-95 on Wednesday night at CenturyLink Arena.

“We were coming off of three losses, so we needed this one,’’ said guard Kevin Murphy, who scored 23 points in his ninth game with Idaho.

Idaho moved into sole possession of first place in the West Division after a home win over the Warriors on Jan. 18. After three road losses, Idaho slipped to fourth.

All three of those losses were played without Richard Howell, who averaged a double-double per game (18.0 points, 10.6 rebounds) in his 20 contests with Idaho.

“He left,” Peck said. “My understanding is he got a deal overseas in Manila. … I just know they bought out his contract and he’s gone. You’ve got to regroup, guys have got to step up and you make adjustments and move on.’’

Idaho waived Howell on Wednesday, and has signed 6-9, 275-pound former UTEP product Derrick Caracter. He was selected 58th overall in the 2010 NBA Draft. He played in 41 games with the Lakers as a rookie, but was waived after a knee injury.

Caracter played four games with the Stampede during the 2011-12 season, but most recently had been playing in Lithuania. He flew into Boise on Wednesday, played a little more than 10 minutes and had six rebounds.

“We’re definitely looking forward to him being in the middle,” Peck said. “He’s a mobile big. He’s strong, explosive, with great hands.”

And after adding Murphy to the mix, perhaps Idaho (14-11) can climb back to the top of a competitive division.

“In one week, we slid from first to fourth,” Peck said. “By the end of this week we can be back in first.”

Chris Langrill: 377-6424

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