SU @ Idaho Preview

Feb 17, 2010, 8:22 PM | Updated: Apr 5, 2011, 9:30 am

Seattle U (13-13) vs Idaho Vandals (12-12, 4-8 WAC)

Cowan Spectrum (Moscow, ID)

Thursday February 18, 2010 7:05 pm

RADIO: 710 ESPN Seattle INTERNET AUDIO: seattleufan.com

Series- Seattle- 13-8

Last Meeting- January 30, 2010- Idaho 87-85

Seattle built an early double-digit advantage, but blistering 3-pointshooting in the first half (7-12) kept Idaho close. The Vandals exploded out the gates in the second half to surge ahead. SU fought back, but the Vandals hits 8-10 free throws in the last 30 seconds to put the game away. It was a successful homecoming for Pacific transfer Steffan Johnson who led the charge with 18 points. Charles Garcia paced Seattle with 23.

Scouting Idaho:

04-05- 8 wins
05-06- 4 wins
06-07- 4 wins
07-08- 8 wins
08-09- 17 wins
This Year- 12 wins

Head Coach Don Verlin has never been a part of a program that has finished below .500. He has Idaho moving in the right direction in his second year although his above .500 streak is in jeopardy. The long-time assistant at Utah State led the Vandals to their first winning season in over a decade while stacking up 17 wins for the first time since the mid-90’s last year. Idaho earned an invitation to the collegeinsider.com Postseason Tournament which was their first postseason appearance in 20 years. The Vandals were picked to finish 4th in the WAC this season, but have stumbled badly after a fine non-conference run. Idaho picked off Utah to start the year, beat the 25th ranked Portland and knocked off Hawaii to begin conference play. Idaho dropped six conference games in a row before recovering to 4 of their last 6 including a triumph over Seattle. Idaho features an outstanding backcourt, but they struggle with an inconsistent frontline.

The Ones to Watch:

Mac Hopson- 6’2 185 SR G- 15 ppg 5.2 rbd 4.5 assts

The transfer from Washington State leads Idaho in points and assists and is second in rebounds. He earned WAC first team honors last season after averaging 16 points per game. Hopson is the engine for the Vandals offense. He is a tough matchup because of his size and he hurts his opponents in a number of ways. As a sophomore at Washington State he averaged 4 points and 2 assists a game and started 7 of the first 8 games that season. He only scored 9 points against Seattle and turned it over 7 times, but also dished out 11 assists.

Steffan Johnson- 6’1 180 SR G- 11 ppg 3 rbds 3 assts

Another point guard who transferred to the Vandals. Johnson spent three years in a Pacific uniform climbing the charts to 3rd in school history in steals, 6th in assist and 6th in 3’s. He averaged 10 points a game in his career at Pacific. Johnson was chosen preseason Newcomer of the Year in the WAC. The Kent, WA product is stroking 3’s at a 44% rate and is second in the WAC at downtown hits. He buried 6 of 7 from beyond the arc in a game against Eastern this year. He teams with Hopson to form a dynamic backcourt. Both players can score and distribute. Johnson led Idaho with 18 points in the first meeting with Seattle while chipping in 5 rebounds and dishing out 4 assists. He was deadly from downtown (4-8).

Keys to the Game:

1- Rebounding- Idaho’s weakness is in the frontcourt and Seattle outrebounds their opponents by double-figures in wins.

2- Backcourt Defense- SU will have their hands full with the combo of Hopson and Johnson.

3- Fast Start- Seattle has jumped out to great starts two games in a row with their new guard oriented starting lineup. They will need another good start against a very good Idaho team.

Seattle looks to continue the run to postseason. Tune in 15 minutes before tip on 710 ESPN Seattle and the live blog will be cooking at seattleufan.com.

Redhawk

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