Despite their first loss in the Big Sky Conference last week against Idaho State University, the Weber State men’s basketball team didn’t let it get them down. The ‘Cats bounced back with a 76-66 victory over Northern Arizona University Thursday night at the Dee Events Center.
“We had to grind one out tonight, and thats what we did,” said head coach Randy Rahe. “Any time you have a tough one and lose at the buzzer, it dings you a little. We pushed them hard this week to get back into that fighting mentality, and I think we were ready to fight tonight.”
It was a battle until the end, but the Wildcats were able to finish strong. Their win tonight puts them at second place in the conference with a record of 6-1 in conference play and 14-6 overall this season.
The first half was a struggle for both teams. Together there was a total of nine missed shots and no score into the first three minutes of the half. Weber State only shot 37.5 from the field but led the half with a score of 24-29.
“I don’t think we were able to get our rhythm going, but we just stuck with it and stayed together as a team and eventually got it going,” said senior Joel Bolomboy, who had his eighteenth double-double in his 20 games played this season.
During halftime, Rahe told the team “he wanted us to continue to play hard and do the things we know we need to do. His message was to just stay with the process and continue to work hard, and we did that,” said freshman McKay Cannon, who had a total of 11 points and was one of the top scorers of the night for WSU.
“Every game, I am learning a lot from my teammates. I have been very fortunate for this situation. I feel like I am getting a little bit more comfortable every game, and it helps when you have great teammates like I do,” said Cannon.
The Wildcats came out of the second half wanting that win, scoring the first nine points of the half in the first few minutes. Despite Northern Arizona’s record of 1-7 in the conference, 3-16 overall, they fought until the finish and never eased the pressure.
The win that night meant something special for the team, “We never look at the records. In conference, anybody can win on any given night. We show up ready to fight and try to get every win we can,” said Bolomboy.
Cannon added, “I don’t think any of us knew how many wins they had. We were just going to play. We just wanted to play Weber State basketball.”
The team’s performance Thursday wasn’t perfect, and they knew they had some things to work on before the next game on Jan. 30.
“In the second half, we played much better offense, and then our defense wasn’t as good. We’ve got to get back to putting it all together,” said Rahe.
The players shared the sentiment that improvement was needed in the end.“We can learn to just take better care of the ball and just try and keep the lead where it is at and play better defense as a team,” said Bolomboy.
Weber will next host Southern Utah University Saturday night at the Dee Events Center at 7 p.m., hoping to advance their conference record to 7-1.