In a conference showdown between two of the top-rated teams in the Big Sky, Weber State University overpowered Eastern Washington University with a final score of 70–67.
The Jan. 14 win over Eastern Washington extends WSU’s winning streak to seven games and improves their record to 4-0 in the Big Sky Conference.
After falling behind 8–2 early in the first half, the Wildcats came roaring back after back-to-back 3-pointers by senior Jeremy Senglin and a quick layup by sophomore Zach Braxton to take their first lead six minutes into the game.
Eastern Washington head coach Jim Hayford spoke highly of the Wildcats and of Senglin, who led the nation in 3-pointers per game prior to the game.
“Weber State is an excellent team with the best player in the conference,” Hayford said.
Jacob Wiley led the Eagles in first half, scoring 20 points, while Senglin led the Wildcats with 10 points in the first.
The Eagles played tight defense on Senglin, holding him to 18 points and only two 3-pointers, but sophomore Cody John was there to keep the game flowing for the Wildcats, scoring a career high 24 points.
“I give the credit to my teammates for getting me open shots,” John said. “It felt great — I put it in a lot of work over the summer, so [everyone] should expect this from me more often.”
Weber State head coach Randy Rahe agreed that John is doing what it takes to become a leader for the Wildcats.
“Cody wants to be the best he can be,” Rahe said. “When you work like that and you put in the time, you prepare yourself to be pretty damn good, and that’s what he’s doing.”
Wildcat senior Kyndahl Hill was tasked with defending Eastern Washington’s top scorer, Wiley, who tallied 36 points for the night. Hill posted a career high 15 rebounds. With 15 points and 15 rebounds, Hill was the only Wildcat to post a double-double for the night.
“He was just an absolute tough, hard-nosed warrior,” Rahe said of Hill.
Eastern Washington took a 35–28 lead going into halftime, shooting 42.4 percent from the field and 50 percent from behind the 3-point line. Weber State shot for 36.4 percent from the field and only 20 percent from behind the arc.
Weber began the first half with six quick points to close the Eagles’ lead to two, and neither team was able to stretch beyond a six-point lead for the remainder of the game.
In a game with 11 ties and 13 lead changes, the Wildcats shot 90.9 percent from the free throw line for a total of 20 points, a statistic that both Hill and John agreed made a big difference in the game.
The Wildcats shooting percentage improved drastically in the second half, at 56 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from behind the arc, for a game percentage of 46.8 percent and 35.3 percent respectively.
“We had to grind tonight,” Rahe said. “We won that game with toughness, resiliency and togetherness.”
The Wildcats will hit the road for their next three games and will return home on Jan. 27.