MOSES LAKE — The defending NWAC champion North Idaho Cardinals (12-2, 1-0 NWAC East) rolled into town and put up a C-note Wednesday night at DeVries Activity Center, snapping Big Bend’s six-game winning streak with a 101-65 victory to open the East Region schedule.
North Idaho used a 9-0 run with 5:57 remaining in the first half to gain the separation in a ballgame that was tied 27-27 early, then spread the gap to 50-37 at the intermission.
Big Bend sophomore Koby Huerta buried a 3-point field goal to make it a 62-49 game with 13:45 remaining in the game, but the Cardinals stomped their foot down with a 14-2 run down the stretch to hand the Runnin’ Vikes (10-2, 0-01) just their second loss of the season.
“We had nine turnovers in the first half and they got 14 points on layups. That didn’t help against very good team,” Big Bend coach Mingo Scott. “In a game like that it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about maintaining your composure, and I thought we lost that a little bit.
“The bottom line is that you have to have a short memory in the NWAC. We have Spokane on Saturday.”
Four of Big Bend’s starters were in double figures. Huerta had a team-high 20 points to go with seven rebounds. Serph Decker (10), Joey Andrews (15), and Miles Brown (12 points, 10 rebounds) filled in around the sophomore from Covington, who started at the shooting guard and moved to the point in the second half.
But here’s where it gets a little weird. Alphonso Anderson, a 6-foot-7, sophomore from Garfield High School in Seattle, was the force in the paint, finishing with 28 points, 12 rebounds. But other than RayQuan Evans (13) and Phillip Malatare (10), that was it for points from the Cardinals starting lineup. They cashed in on 44 points coming off the bench, including 17 from James Carlson and 10 more from Nate Pryor.
“Our intentions were to come in and win this game, so to be tied with five minutes left in the first half was what we expected,” Huerta said. “We definitely learned what not to do from this game. If we take away some of their second-chance points and cut back on the turnovers, we’ll be fine.”
North Idaho held a 23-22 edge in rebounds in the first half, but as they started breaking away the Cardinals closed with nearly every board down the stretch, ending with a 45-37 difference.
“They didn’t get in our head. We’re not scared of anybody in this league,” said Andrews, who finished 6 of 14 from the field. “We just didn’t get back on defense. Their bench was huge and that was really the outcome of the game. We lost by 38 and their bench had 44.”
The Runnin’ Vikes travel to Spokane on Saturday.
North Idaho 50 51 - 101
Big Bend 35 30 - 65
North Idaho - RayQuan Evans 13, Phillip Malatare 10, Alphonso Anderson 28, Jarod Greene 4, Ismael Valdez 2, Nate Pryor 10, Tyler Tanner 2, Iaian McLaughlin 6, Yusuf Mohamed 5, James Carlson 17, Jaden Dewar 2, Drew Sheridan 2. Totals: 45-85 7-18 4-9 101
Big Bend - Mauricio Smith 4, Koby Huerta 20, Serph Decker 10, Joey Andrews 15, Miles Brown 12, Michael Washington 2, Denis Ulyanchuk 2.