The Weber State University men’s basketball team had a tough shooting night against the University of Northern Colorado on Thursday, shooting just 29 percent in the second half and giving up 12 turnovers, which led to 14 Bear points.
“I felt like, in certain lineups, it was men against boys out there tonight,” said WSU head coach Randy Rahe. “Northern Colorado is a veteran team, and their experience really showed.”
Both teams played strong defense to begin the half. Both teams also missed their first three shots and remained scoreless for the first three minutes.
The Wildcats were the first on the board when Kyle Tresnak forcefully slammed the ball home off of an assist from Davion Berry.
Tresnak made plays on both ends of the floor early in the game. After giving the Wildcats a 4-0 lead on back-to-back baskets, Tresnak made two consecutive blocks on the defensive end.
After missing their first eight shots, the Bears finally got on the board on a layup off of an offensive rebound. That field goal got the Bears going, as they went on a 7-2 run to tie the game at seven all with 12 minutes to go in the half.
The Wildcats missed a few opportunities midway through the half, giving up multiple turnovers, which allowed the Bears to take their first lead of the game.
Tresnak continued to take advantage of opportunities, keeping the Wildcats in the game. Tresnak had recently had troubles scoring, as opponents would double-team him nearly every possession.
The Wildcats forced the ball inside early in the game, taking advantage of their size. All of the Wildcat field goals were in the paint in the first 14 minutes of the game.
“That was our plan, and it was very effective,” Rahe said. “By doing that, I thought our guards got a little bit unaggressive. When it was their opportunities, when we did go different directions with the ball, I didn’t think we were aggressive enough.”
The Bears went on a run late in the half, going on a 13-4 run to hold a 35-26 lead into the half.
“We are trying to send a message to the rest of the conference that we are not the same team as last year,” said UNC senior Derrick Barden. “We can’t get a big head about it, because we have a lot more games to go, but we take the win.”
Tresnak led all scorers with 12 points in the first half. Bolomboy added eight points and nine rebounds for WSU. The Wildcats committed nine turnovers in the half, leading to nine points for the Bears.
Barden led the Bears with 11 points and six rebounds. Tevin Svihovec added seven points and three assists for UNC.
The Bears continued to find easy buckets in the second half, fighting their way through the Wildcat pressure.
The Wildcats tried to cut the lead back down, bringing the lead down to seven, but the Bears again made a push, pushing their lead to 12 with 12 minutes left in the game.
The Wildcats continued to struggle from the field, and the Bears pushed their lead to 16 points with seven minutes to go.
“Just looking at the stat sheet, (WSU) shot 37 percent for the game,” said UNC junior Tim Huskisson. “That doesn’t happen to Weber State often. Defense was reinforced in the locker room and in practice.”
The Bears pushed their lead to as many as 22, as they shot a strong percentage from beyond the arc in the second half.
Barden led all scorers with 21 points in the game. He also pulled down a team-high 13 rebounds. Svihovec added 15 points for the Bears.
Tresnak had 14 points to lead the Wildcats. Bolomboy had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds.
“Your first conference game, things happen that don’t normally happen,” Rahe said. “We got to fix that. We can’t turn it over 12 times, especially against a team like this. We’ve got some things to work on.”
The Wildcats played against the University of North Dakota on Saturday. That game will be covered in the Wednesday edition of The Signpost and at www.wsusignpost.com.