MOSCOW, Idaho — The Central Washington University men’s basketball team defeated the University of Idaho in an exhibition, 88-81.

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“I was really impressed with our effort tonight,” CWU Head Coach Brandon Rinta said afterward. “This was a challenging game to play so early. We had moments where we were definitely out of rhythm but everyone made up for it by continuing to play hard. It always helps to shoot it like that from three.  Jeryn [Lucas] and Davon [Bolton] both knocked down shots from outside. They were handling us on the glass at times, but Xavier [Smith], Jeryn, and Amari [Stafford] all came up with some big rebounds.”

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The Vandals scored the first bucket of the game, but that was the only lead that Idaho held. Idaho led for a total of just 51 seconds, while CWU led for 37:21.

Davon Bolton led the Wildcats in scoring. He finished 7-for-12 from the field, including sinking six 3-point shots. Bolton finished with 20 points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal, and a plus-minus of +10.

Central owned the first half of play, outscoring Idaho 41-33 before the halftime buzzer. In the first stanza, the Wildcats shot 51.7 percent (15-29) and knocked down five attempts from beyond the arc. Idaho, meanwhile, shot just 42.4 percent from the floor in the first half. The Vandals went 3-for-14 from beyond the arc and 2-for-6 at the free-throw line.  

It was no different in the second half. The Wildcats once again flourished from beyond the arc, finishing 7-for-13 in the second stanza. In total, Central converted at a clip of 54.5 percent from three-point land. They easily eclipsed Idaho’s mark of 6-for-24 (25%). Despite getting into some early foul trouble, the Vandals were in the double bonus with 10 minutes to play, the Wildcats held off the Idaho advance. The Vandals struggled from the line, knocking down 13 of their 22 attempts.

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The Crimson and Black shot an even 50 percent on the evening, finishing 31-for-62 from the field. Their largest lead came at a 16-point margin with 6:10 remaining in the second half.

Former Vandal Xavier Smith finished with 16 points. He shot 3-for-6 from the field and had a monster day at the charity stripe, knocking down 10 of his 11 attempts. He also hauled in five rebounds and recorded two assists.

Jeryn Lucas finished third in scoring for the Wildcats with 15 points. He finished 4-for-7 from beyond the arc, added one free throw, and mid-range bucket. He also recorded a team-high eight rebounds.

Central’s bench outscored the Vandals’ reserves, 27-13. The Wildcats also had fewer turnovers (12) than Idaho (15).

The last time a Great Northwest Athletic Conference team defeated a Division I opponent in a regular-season game, exhibition, or otherwise came on November 23, 2017, when Alaska Anchorage defeated Santa Clara in overtime, 78-73.

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