The Weber State University men’s basketball team returned to action with a solid win on Saturday night against Southern Utah University, scoring 75-58.
The Wildcats came into the game after a week’s rest, following a solid win against the University of Northern Colorado last Saturday. WSU had five players in double figures and shot 60 percent from the field in its 85-64 win in Greeley, Colo.
The SUU Thunderbirds came to Ogden with an overall record of 10-12 and a Big Sky record of 8-5. SUU entered the match with the momentum of a five-game winning streak.
The first half of the match against SUU opened up with high emotions from both teams. With a score of 12-11, the Wildcats held a tight lead five minutes into the half. A quick technical foul was called against junior forward Davion Berry of WSU after both teams exchanged some pushing and arguing. Tensions remained high throughout the half.
WSU put on a burst of solid play and landed a 9-0 scoring run against the Thunderbirds, putting the score at 21-11. SUU came back to within five points, however, and, with 10 minutes to go in the half, the scoreboard read 23-18.
The scoring was consistent on both sides of the court for the rest of the half, but at the end of the first period, the Wildcats held an advantage with a lead of 39-31.
The Wildcats were led by Berry, who had 13 points for the half. Other notable statistics included 11 points, five rebounds and three assists from senior guard Scott Bamforth. Junior center Kyle Tresnak also added seven points and four rebounds.
The second half started with a similar tone to the first. The Wildcats managed to increase their lead to 11 points five minutes into the half with a score of 46-35. After a three-minute span without any points scored from either side, tensions flared between each team once again and a double technical foul was called.
After the score read 49-38 with 11 minutes left to play, the Wildcats were carried by a 9-0 run over three minutes to put the score at 58-38 — a margin of 20 points.
Although the Thunderbirds never let their energy down, the Wildcats were able to maintain their comfortable lead for the rest of the game. In the final six minutes of the match, WSU never dropped its lead below 17 points.
Berry led WSU with 21 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block. Bamforth contributed with 15 points and seven rebounds, and junior guard Jordan Richardson added 15 points as well. Tresnak scored eight points with nine rebounds, and freshman forward Joel Bolomboy scored five points with eight rebounds.
The Wildcats shot 53 percent from the field, including 11-for-19 from behind the 3-point line.
After the game, Berry spoke concerning the technical foul called against him in the first half.
“I don’t really know what was said, but obviously it was my fault,” he said. “So I just want to apologize to the team for getting a technical foul and ruining the rhythm (of the game) … I just wanted to come out and be aggressive after that and take the opportunities that I get.”
Head coach Randy Rahe commented on the solid play from the Wildcats throughout the high emotion of the game.
“We knew tonight was going to be a really physical, tough battle … I thought our guys responded to it well,” he said. “If somebody wants to try to do something to antagonize you, we’re going to let them know we’re there. The best way that you do it … is you go and get it done on the court.”
WSU (16-5, 11-2) will come back to play on Monday night when it takes on Idaho State University. In their last meeting, the Wildcats defeated the Bengals in Idaho with a score of 70-54.