Vandals Open Season With 11 Wins
After only three years as head coach of Idaho's men's basketball team, Don Monson has reached a level of success matched by few other coaches in the Big Sky conference. When Monson joined the Vandal staff in 1978, Idaho had just finished an embarassing 4-22 season . In Monson's first year the Vandals converted the 4-22 record to an 11-15 mark, and last year Idaho finished 17-10 overall and earned second place in the Big Sky Conference. Not bad for a club picked to finish last in a pre-season poll conducted by conference media representatives. The same poll correctly tabbed Idaho as one of the top teams in the league this year. The Vandals started the season with an impressive eleven-game winning streak, Idaho's best start since 1917. Idaho earned its first two victories on the road against Nebraska University and long-time rival Washington State. The Vandals comfortably defeated both teams, Nebraska falling 64-53 and WSU 65-51. In the first home game of the season, Idaho defeated the Simon Fraser Clansmen, 76-69, after trailing early in the game. The next few opponents simply weren 't in Idaho's class . Teams such as Gonzaga, U.S. International University, San Jose State, St. Martin's College, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and Northwest Nazarene College were .easy prey as the Vandals racked up six more victories. It was during these early nonleague games that Idaho worked out many of the bugs in its offense and defense. Improvement was needed before the Vandals entered the tournament and league portions of their schedule. The competition stiffened as Idaho went into the All-College Tournament in Oklahoma City. In the opening round there , Idaho defeated Oklahoma City University 74-61 and then Long Island University fell to the Vandals by a score of 90-68. The Vandals faced Oklahoma State University in the title round of the tournament and suffered a heart-breaking 94-83 defeat, their first of the season.