The Weber State University Wildcats played host to Big Sky Conference foe Sacramento State University on Jan. 18, picking up an 80–64 win.
The Wildcats opened up the game with a spark from sophomore guard Jerrick Harding, who scored 11 of the first 14 points for the ’Cats. Despite the quick scoring from Harding, the Hornets were keeping it tight by responding to every Wildcat basket.
Throughout the first half, whenever the Hornets began closing the gap on the scoreboard, a Wildcat was able to hit a three and solidify their lead.
The Hornets dropped 36 points in the first half, but still found themselves trailing the ’Cats who closed the half with 37 points on the board.
Despite Weber State claiming a first half lead, in the opening half they gave up eight turnovers while the Hornets only turned it over two times. Harding carried the offensive load for the team, pitching in 14 points on 50 percent shooting.
As a team, the Wildcats were able to pull down more rebounds and dish out more assists than Sacramento State.
The second half began with more of the same, as Harding began the second half with a reverse layup off the backboard, causing the crowd to erupt in a roar of applause.
Within the first four minutes of the half, the arena was filled with booing and jeers towards the referees, as Wildcat fans felt that they were calling soft fouls against the home team.
The fans’ attitudes changed quickly into cheers as junior forward Brekkott Chapman stung a Hornet defender with a spin move then finished at the rim with a two handed slam dunk.
“I tell the kids a stat every year, most home losses occur the first home game back from a road trip,” said head coach Randy Rahe. “It is because you go on the road and be on edge, then you come home and think everything is fine and you exhale a little bit which is how you get beat.”
Midway through the final period, neither team created any separation, as the score was constantly within five points. As the second half moved forward, it was evident that the Hornets could not stop Harding.
The Wildcats pushed the lead to seven off his back and forced a Sacramento State timeout.
With four and half minutes left, freshman guard Ricky Nelson found Chapman for a layup. He was fouled on the layup and then made the free throw, on the next possession it was Chapman again getting the basket, this time on a 3-pointer over the defender.
Chapman said, “I want to thank my family, my teammates and my coaches for believing in me. I was down on myself a little bit and they just kept helping me.”
As the seconds ticked of the clock, Harding was sent to the free throw line and pushed the lead to the final score of 80–64.
Harding said, “We are becoming the team what we eventually want to be.”
The Wildcats leading scorers on the night were Harding, who dropped 29, and Chapman, who had 17 points and 13 rebounds. The Wildcats defense was led by Michal Kozak who held the Hornets leading scorer to 13 points on 5–22 shooting.