The Weber State University men’s basketball team executed well on both ends of the floor in a dominating performance over the Bobcats of Montana State University on Thursday. The Wildcats won the game by a score of 86-57. Senior guard Davion Berry led the way for WSU yet again with 25 points and seven assists.
“I thought our kids played with a lot more confidence than I’ve seen them play all year,” said WSU head coach Randy Rahe.
Thursday night held heavy standing implications, as only three teams remained with one conference loss: WSU, Northern Arizona University and the University of Northern Colorado. WSU hosted MSU with the hope of being in a tie for first place with the winner of the NAU-UNC game being held at the same time in Greeley, Colo.
WSU’s lockdown defense led to opportunities on the offensive end, which Berry was able to take advantage of. Berry helped the Wildcats get off to a hot start with back-to-back 3-pointers to help the Wildcats jump out to an 8-2 lead in the first two minutes of the game. Two nights earlier, at the same time in the game, the Wildcats didn’t have a single point on the board.
“Usually we get off to a slow start, but tonight we wanted to get on it,” Berry said. “We got after it on the defensive end first, and it paid off.”
The start was just the beginning for WSU. The Wildcats then went on a 15-3 run that lasted more than five minutes, sparked by a 3-pointer from senior guard Jordan Richardson.
The best conference defense in WSU allowed merely two field goals from MSU in the first eight-and-a-half minutes of play.
However, a dry spell eventually came for the Wildcats, as the Bobcats went on a 10-4 run for themselves over five minutes. Despite the run, WSU was able to find a bucket every now and then to keep distance between itself and MSU.
“We had a period where we were kind of sluggish,” said sophomore Joel Bolomboy. “We gave up a lot of layups and easy threes, but we’re coming along.”
The Wildcats ended the half on a high note. Berry drained a 3-pointer, his 15th point, at the buzzer to give the Wildcats a 10-point lead heading to the break with a score of 38-28.
“(Berry) makes everybody better,” Rahe said. “He’s such a versatile player. He does everything well. He’s playing with a very clear mind right now. He’s playing very mature, like a senior.”
Flavien Davis and Paul Egwuonwu led the way for MSU in the first half with seven and six points respectively.
The beginning of the second half went back and forth, as WSU matched everything the Bobcats threw at it, maintaining that 10-point lead.
Then, about halfway through the second half, WSU ran away from MSU with a 19-9 run over five minutes. In the half, the Wildcats never allowed the Bobcats to score back-to-back buckets, ballooning the lead to 29.
In garbage time, Bolomboy and Josh Fuller both knocked down 3-pointers. For Bolomboy, it was the first 3-point attempt of his career; for Fuller, it was his third.
The Wildcats finished with the starting five players scoring in double digits, whereas the Bobcats had just two. WSU also recorded an impressive 23 assists on 28 field goals made.
After its game against conference rival the University of Montana, the Wildcats will head on the road for games against NAU and California State University, Sacramento.
The Wildcats also had a game on Saturday against UM. That game will be covered in the Wednesday edition of The Signpost and on www.wsusignpost.com.