| 03.18.2018

Shoulda, coulda, woulda — Don Verlin remains winless in WAC Tournament play despite having been the higher seed in three of Idaho’s five games under his tenure


During his five years in Moscow, Idaho men’s basketball has won more than 80 games with Don Verlin at the helm. Not a single one of those victories has come on the conference’s biggest stage, the WAC Tournament. In three conference tournament defeats, Idaho has lost to a lower seed. The Vandals have played in three postseason tournaments under Verlin’s tenure but Idaho’s last appearance in the NCAA Tournament came in 1990. Here’s a look at each of Verlin’s WAC tourney losses.2008-09 — La. Tech 70, Idaho 62
Verlin’s first conference tournament game. Idaho came in as the No. 3 seed, playing the No. 6 La. Tech Bulldogs, a team they had split with during the regular season. The Bulldogs went 7-of-10 from the 3-point line in the first half and shot 53 percent from the field overall while holding Idaho to 43 percent. Point guard Mac Hopson had 16 points on the evening, dished out eight assists and didn’t turn the ball over in Idaho’s eight-point loss.
2009-10 — Nevada 87, Idaho 71
With the loss, the Vandals moved to 1-5 all time in the WAC Tournament, but received a little slack against a Nevada team headed by Luke Babbitt, who currently plays for the Portland Trail Blazers. Babbitt knocked down a 3 for the first shot of the game and Idaho was never close, falling victim to a 13-point deficit at halftime. Luciano De Souza scored a career-high 20 points and freshman Kyle Barone pumped out seven points and grabbed seven rebounds.
2010-11 — San Jose State 74, Idaho 68
The eighth-seeded Spartans upended the fourth-seeded Vandals and San Jose State got 56 combined points from Adrian Oliver and Keith Shamburger, who poured in 28 points each. The two made six 3-pointers apiece and San Jose State held off Jeff Ledbetter’s 21-point outing, when the then-senior made seven treys. The Vandals would go on to lose in the opening round of the Collegeinsiders.com Tournament, where the University of San Francisco defeated Idaho 81-73.
2011-12 — Hawaii 72, Idaho 70
Idaho looked to have the upper hand on Hawaii, who played without leading scorer Zane Johnson. However, Vander Joaquim got the better of Kyle Barone and put up 20 points, while grabbing 13 rebounds. Tied 70-70, Deremy Geiger knocked the ball away from the Warriors’ Shaquille Stokes, but it found the hands of Hauns Brereton who hit a jumper from the elbow with 3.8 seconds remaining. Barone did score 19 points on 8-of-14 from the field, Stephen Madison had 15 points and Djim Bandoumel pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds. Idaho led by as many as seven points midway through the second half.
2012-13 — New Mexico State 65, Idaho 49
Cut the Vandals a little slack — they lost to the eventual WAC champion. The same team that’s advanced to the NCAA Tournament two years running, but also the same team that beat Idaho by a combined four points during the regular season. Idaho held 7-foot-5 center Sim Bhullar in check and the tournament MVP scored just seven points, while grabbing seven rebounds. Meanwhile, Daniel Mullings scored 23 points on 10-of-14 shooting, while tallying another three steals. Verlin would move to 0-5 in tournament play and Idaho missed the postseason for the first time in four seasons.
Theo Lawson can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu

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