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Zach Braxton high fives Weber State basketball fans before the March 11 game against North Dakota. (Abby Van Ess / The Signpost)

 

The Weber State University men’s basketball team will not be dancing this year, as they lost 93–89 to the University of North Dakota in overtime during the championship game of the Big Sky Conference Tournament in Reno, Nevada, on March 11.

“I couldn’t be more proud of this team,” head coach Randy Rahe said. “They are the most together group I have ever had. They are the toughest group that I’ve had and the most resilient group I have had.”

Senior Jeremy Senglin was the top scorer for the Wildcats, finishing the game with 26 points, including four 3-pointers. Senglin was one rebound shy of a double-double with nine.

Senglin became Weber State’s all-time career scorer, passing Bruce Collins’ record of 2,019 that was set in 1980. After tonight’s game, Senglin now has 2,030 points for his career.

Senglin acknowledged his teammates’ contributions to his record-breaking accomplishment. “The credit goes to my teammates,” he said.

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Guard Jeremy Senglin puts the ball up for two against North Dakota on March 11. (Abby Van Ess / The Signpost)

 

Senior Kyndahl Hill knocked down 21 shots — tying his career high — and snatched 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.

Freshman Jerrick Harding added 18 points before fouling out of the game.

Weber State started out shooting hot, taking a 20–10 lead over the Fighting Hawks in the first eight minutes of the game.

North Dakota then went on a 7–0 run and tied the game at 34 apiece with under five minutes to go until halftime.

Weber State fought back, but the Fighting Hawks went on a 19–8 run to take the lead 46–42 at halftime.

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Forward Zach Braxton slam dunks the ball during the Big Sky Conference championship game against North Dakota on March 11. (Abby Van Ess / The Signpost)

 

North Dakota added seven points to their lead shortly after the second half began. WSU kicked their defense into gear, and the Wildcats went on a 13–0 run to take the a 61–52 lead over UND.

Weber State had an 81–75 lead with 50 seconds left on the clock when North Dakota scored six points. Harding took what would have been the game-winning shot and was blocked, sending the championship game into overtime.

“We have been here before many times,” Rahe told his team before overtime began. “We’ve got tough guys, and they have been in this situation. You just have to be tough, find a way and rely on each other, and we did that.”

In overtime, the Wildcats took control of the lead until the last two minutes when WSU went cold. UND went on an 8–3 run, ultimately defeating WSU 93–89.

“Basically, they made two more plays than us,” Rahe said. “That is what happens when two good basketball teams get together and play.”

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Guard Jerrick Harding pushes around North Dakota guard Quinton Hooker (21) and forward Conner Avants (32) on March 11. (Abby Van Ess / The Signpost)

 

Senior Quinton Hooker led North Dakota with 28 points. He was named Big Sky Tournament MVP for his efforts. UND has six players in double figures and will advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time.

“You can’t win them all,” Rahe said. “We’ve won our share. You’re going to win some, and you’re going to lose some. … (North Dakota) is an outstanding team, and they beat us. I want to wish them good luck as they move on.”

With this loss, the Wildcats will not advance to the NCAA Tournament. However, with an overall record of 19–13, Rahe sounded hopeful that the Wildcats will be playing in a post-season tournament.

“I am happy that I get to play more basketball with my teammates,” Senglin said. “I don’t ever want to stop playing with them. Whatever tournament we get in, no matter what it is, we are going to try and win it.”

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