One night after a last-second loss cost Idaho a shot at the Great Alaska Shootout championship game, the Vandals recovered for a 75-66 win over Cal Poly on Saturday to take third place in the final installment of the historic event.
Because of a wealth of other holiday tournaments in warm climates, many outside the U.S., the Alaska Shootout has had trouble attracting teams and has struggled financially. It therefore is being disbanded.
For much of Friday night, it looked as though Idaho (4-2) would have a chance to win the last shootout, but the Vandals lost their semifinal game 64-62 to Cal-Bakersfield when Justin Davis made a 3-pointer from the corner with 2 seconds remaining.
That left the Vandals trying to end the tourney on a good note against the Mustangs (3-4), and they were able to do that pretty easily, building an 18-point lead in the second half.
“I was proud of our guys,” coach Don Verlin said. “Last night was hard on us, no question about it ... but we bounced back and played pretty hard.”
Victor Sanders led Idaho with 24 points and made five 3-pointers. Nate Sherwood added 17 points as four Vandals scored in double figures.