The Weber State men’s basketball team picked up from where they left off last season, defeating the St. Katherine Firebirds 80-57 in an exhibition match Saturday night.
“It was good to get out there and play another team because we’ve just been playing against ourselves for months all summer,” said junior Joel Bolomboy. “So everybody was pumped up and ready to play tonight.”
WSU head coach Randy Rahe said the exhibition match went about as he was expecting.
“I thought it was pretty much a prototypical first exhibition game,” Rahe said. “A lot of nerves, a lot of unsureness, guys were playing frantic. I thought we did a better job in the second half, settled down more.”
Wildcat junior Chris Golden led in scoring, making his first appearance with Weber State since transferring from Otero Junior College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, earlier this year. Golden had 16 points for Weber State, shooting 5-9 from the field, including 2-6 from three-point range. Golden also pulled down three rebounds in the game and recorded a block and a steal in a team-high 29 minutes on the court.
“It was all my teammates,” Golden said regarding his performance. “My teammates found me when I was open, and we all just fed off of each other.”
After the game, Rahe said he was very pleased with Golden’s Weber State debut.
“Chris is a good player. He’s a junior college player, and he’s played two years of college basketball before he got here, so he had more calmness about him because he’s got a little bit more experience,” Rahe said. “Chris has got that demeanor too. He’s a very confident kid. He never gets too high, he never gets too low. He’s got a lot of confidence in himself, and we’re gonna need it. He’s just a really good basketball player. He does a lot of good things in a lot of different areas.”
Golden was one of five Wildcats to score double-digit points in the game. Junior Joel Bolomboy had 10 points in the game while also pulling down a game-high 14 rebounds for the double-double. Sophomores Richaud Gittens, Jeremy Senglin and Kyndahl Hill combined for 37 points, 12 rebounds and three steals in the win.
Rahe sent most of his team out onto the court against St. Katherine to gauged the performances of his freshmen and transfers. Eleven of the 16 players on the Weber State roster got playing time against the Firebirds, with 10 of the 11 playing for at least seven minutes. Junior Jaelyn Johnson-Coston put up the best performance off the bench, scoring five points and recording four rebounds and a block in just 23 minutes on the court.
“I got the chance to look at a whole lot of different combinations tonight, which is what I really wanted to do,” Rahe said. “We had Kyndahl Hill playing the (small forward position) and the (power forward position). We had some young guys playing with older guys, we had some young guys playing with young guys. It was my plan going in to kind of script who we were going to sub and how we were going to sub. Now we can look at some things and see what matchups we like and who plays better.”
Weber State dominated St. Katherine throughout the entire game, winning the rebounds battle with 40 team rebounds to the Firebirds’ 30 and shooting 49 percent from the floor (24-49) to the Firebirds’ 37.3 percent (22-59). The only time St. Katherine held a lead in the game was during the first minute of the match after scoring the first basket of the game. The Wildcats quickly went on a 12 point run to take the lead and from there they never looked back. The Wildcats’ largest lead came in the second half when sophomore Kyndahl Hill made a layup and a free throw to make the score 67-41.
One problem the Wildcats faced was turnovers, turning the ball over 17 times in the game.
“We turned it over way too much, but a lot of those were offensive fouls, some crazy stuff,” Rahe said. “And all that is is experience. You have got to have game experience and when you do, guys will settle in.”
Bolomboy said after the game that although the team played well, there were some things they needed to work on.
“(The team was) a little rusty. Nothing was perfect obviously,” Bolomboy said. “There’s some things we need to work on , but we’ll get there.”
The Wildcats have another exhibition game on Saturday against Western State at 2 p.m., before they start their regular season on the road at Utah State on Nov. 14. Their first home game of the season is on Nov. 17 at 7:30 p.m., when they host Presentation College.
“We feel pretty good,” Golden said. “Our team played hard, we just kind of feed off of each other, and we’ll come back in the next game and play even harder.”