The Weber State University men’s basketball team lost a thrilling road match against San Jose State University on Thursday night.
The Wildcats took the game into an overtime period against the Spartans after a second-half comeback, but the favor went the way of SJSU in the final seconds of the game.
This was the second overtime game between the two teams in the last two years. WSU defeated the Spartans in double-overtime last year and hoped to carry its closing ability against them this season.
At the start of the game, the tempo was evenly matched from both sides. The score stayed close throughout the first 10 minutes of the first half. The neck-and-neck play continued until three minutes to the end of the half. From there, WSU saw an eight-point deficit slowly made at the end of the period with a score of 35-27.
The second half started with more woes for WSU as the scoring margin widened. With 18 minutes left to play, the Wildcats were down by 14 points with a score of 43-29. Hoping to regain the bit of ground lost, the Wildcats began to fight back.
With five minutes left to play, WSU cut the Spartans’ lead down to seven as the scoreboard read 55-48. With a burst of solid play, the Wildcats went on an 11-2 run to gain the 59-57 lead with two minutes left in the game. Scores stayed similar from there, and the game went into overtime.
With one minute left in overtime, WSU held a 67-64 lead. The Spartans, however, closed the gap with four unanswered free throws and put the score at 68-67, where it stayed for the Wildcats’ first loss of the season.
“We put ourselves in a really good position to win — we just couldn’t quite finish it,” said Head Coach Randy Rahe in an interview with the WSU Athletics Department. “I think, in a lot of ways, we grew as a basketball team. We found some toughness and fought extremely hard in the second half to give ourselves a chance. We missed a lot of good looks, and it’s tough to lose, but we can learn a lot from a game like this.”
Notable statistics from the game include a career-high 21 points, three rebounds and three assists from WSU junior guard/forward Davion Berry. Senior guard Scott Bamforth had 11 points and sophomore guard Gelaun Wheelwright added 10 points. WSU freshman forward/center Joel Bolomboy had five points and 11 rebounds.
“I think (the game) was good for us,” Bamforth said. “It was a tough loss, and, obviously, we don’t ever like to lose, but it was good. We were down by about 15 (points), and we fought back. We came together and fought back and brought it back into overtime, where we came up short . . . But I think it was good for us. It was good for our team to figure out how we have to play to be successful, and I think we figured that out in the second half. We came up short, but the feeling is good around this team. We feel like we are going in the right direction.”
The Wildcats will now prepare for a big game against in-state opponent Utah State University on Saturday at The Spectrum in Logan. The Wildcats defeated the Aggies last season in Ogden with a score of 73-63.
“We’re going to feel good,” said Bamforth, concerning the upcoming match. “It’s going to be a tough environment to play in and (will be) especially for the new guys. They haven’t played in anything like they will at Utah State. Some of us older guys have, so hopefully we’ll be able to lead our young guys and we’ll come together. We played well in the second half against San Jose State, so that should carry over.”