This was a fun game. It started out a bit rough, but then both teams settled down and the Stampede looked like they would run away with it like they used to. Dakota fought back and kept hanging around, and Idaho started missing shots. The Stampede offense fell off the face of the earth for the first four minutes of the fourth quarter. I think they had two points in that time frame, but it might've been four. Either way, his game was pretty much neck and neck for most of the second half. Idaho had a chance to win after Curtis Withers' layup, but Donell Taylor bobbled away the inbounds pass (actually he was pretty well covered, and the pass maybe should've gone somewhere else) and Dakota took it. A few more notes after the jump (the box score is here):
- Joe Dabbert was out with an injury "of some sort," and Idaho missed his inside presence. Lance Allred played very well, hitting midrange shots and finishing with 20 points and 11 rebounds, but he couldn't cover everyone, and Dakota's big men all did pretty well.
- Well, "all" doesn't include Connor Atchley, who played just seven and a half minutes, and wasn't very effective for that time, either. He's become the starter lately, and while I think he's a fine player he's not really contributing much as part of the lineup. That dunk of his that made the highlights was his only make of the game.
- The other big men, however (Withers, Boo Jackson and Cory Underwood) combined for 38 points and 21 boards. They all contributed in various ways; Jackson got to the free throw line, Withers played big down the stretch and Underwood had some nice moves in the post against Allred.
- I like the starting trio of Andre Barrett-Donell Taylor-Coby Karl for Idaho. They're mostly used to playing with each other by now, and while the team doesn't have many options when they go into a shooting slump as a group (did I mention that Idaho scored two points in four minutes?), they all demand some kind of defensive attention since they all can handle the ball and shoot threes. Barrett finished with 16 points and nine assists, Taylor had 22 points, nine rebounds and five assists, and Karl had 15 points, five boards and five assists.
- Renaldo Major had a nice game off the bench. 17 points on 11 shots, plus some tough defense. Darren Cooper also is to be commended for his D, since he's the one who was smothering Taylor on that inbounds play and knocked the ball away.
- To sum up, of the final four things that Rumble requested in his excellent fanpost, the Stampede did...none of them. Well, that's not entirely true, since Allred played well and there was some nice perimeter defense, but there was yet another absence on the roster which the other guys couldn't make up for. This team just needs a little more time playing together and they'll be alright.