The Weber State University men’s basketball team battled for a big 82-56 win on Monday night against Western State Colorado University — the team’s first opponent of the season.
The men’s basketball team, led by Head Coach Randy Rahe, put out a solid effort in its only exhibition game prior to the start of preseason play.
The Wildcats got off to a big lead only five minutes through the first half with a score of 18-2 over the Mountaineers. Each of the Wildcat starters had multiple points on the board, including six from junior guard/forward Davion Berry and four points each from senior forward Frank Otis, senior guard Scott Bamforth and junior center Kyle Tresnak.
Halfway through the first half, the score read 28 -8 in favor of the Wildcats. Eight different members of the WSU roster had contributed to the scoring total, and the team was shooting a perfect 1.000 percent in 3-pointers and free throws.
At halftime, WSU held a 48-22 lead over WSCU. Scoring leaders for the Wildcats were Berry and Bamforth with eight points, and Tresnak, junior guard Jordan Richardson and sophomore guard Gelaun Wheelwright with seven each. The team shot 55 percent from the field compared to the 31 percent from the Mountaineers.
Five minutes into the second half, the score read 61-32 as the WSU lead grew larger. The Wildcats went on a burst for an 11-0 scoring run about midway through the half, and as time reached the 10-minute marker, WSU held a 35-point lead with a score of 75-40.
The Wildcats held a comfortable lead throughout the game and were able to come away with a 82-56 win over WSCU. Highlights for the team included 15 points from Berry, 12 from Tresnak, 11 from Bamforth, and 10 each from Wheelwright and Otis. The Wildcats dished out 19 assists overall, compared to five from the Mountaineers, and had a team total of 38 rebounds.
“I feel like what we were trying to accomplish was to go out here, play every possession hard, execute and get all the young guys in with the feel of the game,” said Otis, who also had a team-high eight rebounds in the game. “I think we accomplished that, and Coach (Rahe) was pretty satisfied.”
The Wildcats recently held their annual “Purple and White” scrimmage game to kick off the season’s competitive play. Otis explained that he has seen progress for the team since the scrimmage game due to commitment to team strategy.
“We made a big improvement execution-wise,” he said. “We trusted the offense and ran our offense like Coach wanted us to do; we didn’t break out to do our own things. So I think we made a big improvement from the Purple and White Game.”
Rahe, who is now in his seventh season as WSU head coach, said the team is looking to improve its force on defense more than anything at this early point.
“What I was looking for tonight was defensive intensity and defensive urgency . . . Overall I was fairly pleased, defensively . . . I think we’re making progress defensively. I mean, we’re a long way away . . . we want to get up and pressure a little bit more and keep the ball out of the middle a little bit better than we did last year. We’re trying to be a little more aggressive. It’s nothing crazy . . . but it is a little more aggressive than we’ve been in the last few years.”
WSU will look to carry that aggression into its first preseason game of the year as it battles Arizona Christian University at 7 p.m. on Friday night in the Dee Events Center.