[EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was written by Devin Pugh]
After being swept in their season series last year, the Weber State University men’s basketball team picked up a 77-50 win over in-state rival Southern Utah University on Saturday night.
The Wildcats did not waste any time putting Southern Utah away as they jumped out to a 29-point halftime lead. Sophomore Ryan Richardson’s confidence and shooting gave the Wildcats the spark they needed. Richardson made four of five 3-pointers and was 5-of-7 from the field overall.
Richardson said, “In practice, a couple of days ago, (WSU head coach Randy Rahe) asked us if we were having any fun because we got really serious,” Richardson said. “So he was like, ‘Let’s just go out and have fun today.’ So we went out and we did that, played together and just fought for each other.”
Senior Joel Bolomboy continued his dominant final season with the Wildcats, recording his nineteenth double-double of the year with 12 points and 16 rebounds—13 of which came in the first half. Bolomboy is currently second in the nation with 13.3 rebounds per game.
“I really liked our energy tonight. The other night, I really felt like we played like we were stressed out,” Rahe said. “We played like we had the weight of the world on our shoulders, which I don’t understand why. We had to get back to having fun competing.”
One reason for the newfound energy could be freshman Juwan Williams. Rahe said he felt Williams’ teammates fed off of his toughness. Williams finished with 13 points, five rebounds and one block. A couple of Williams’ plays seemed to take the spirit out of Southern Utah—on one play, Williams chased down the ball handler and swatted the layup attempt into the third row.
“Going forward, I think this is a huge game for us. I think this game is going to start another win streak,” Williams said. “The last couple of games, we kind of got away from what we were as far as playing up to speed, playing fast, defending hard, playing our brand of basketball. But tonight, I feel we got back to it. Whoever’s up next, I feel sorry for them.”
The Wildcats (15-6, 7-1 in conference) go back on the road on Thursday night to face Northern Colorado (8-13, 5-4). On Saturday, WSU will play at University of North Dakota (10-10, 5-4) at 1 p.m.