The Weber State University Wildcats beat the Sacramento State Hornets in a rematch of their previous game earlier this season where the Hornets got the win. Weber grabbed the 70–66 victory in front of a ecstatic home crowd as the ‘Cats improved to 9-14.
All eyes were on senior guard Jerrick Harding as he started the game on fire. Harding became the Wildcat’s all time leading scorer en route to 25 first half points on a scalding hot 10-14 shooting.
“I’m just worried about the win,” an excited Harding said. “It’s a great accomplishment, it’s an honor; we’re just going to keep moving forward.”
Move forward is exactly what Harding did, finishing the game with 44 points on 67% shooting from the floor and going a perfect 11-11 from the free throw line.
Despite the offensive clinic put on by Harding, The Hornets refused to go quietly into the night. Senior guard for Sacramento, Izayah Mauriohooho-Le’afa had 22 total points with 14 coming in the second half alone.
Thanks to Mauriohooho-Le’afa, and senior center Joshua Patton, who had 12 of his 16 in the second half, Sacramento State went on a late run to bring the game to within one possession.
Patton was one of the reasons why Sac State was able to hang around for so long, but he was also part of the reason they ultimately lost thanks to his inability to convert at the line.
Patton went 5-9 from the floor, using strong post moves to not only get to his desired spot but to also draw fouls on the Weber bigs who found themselves in foul trouble as the Hornet offense kept dropping the ball down low to the veteran big man.
As a team, the Hornets missed nine free throws. Five of those misses came from Patton himself, going a measly 6-11 from the charity stripe, prompting cheers from the student section every time he went to the line.
Down two with under a minute left, The Hornets tried to go to Patton again to force overtime, but a great defensive stand by Sophomore forward Dima Zdor stopped what would’ve been a game tying dunk.
“Dima just makes an instinctive play”, head coach Randy Rahe said after the game. “It’s a play we needed, and it’s a great play by Dima.”
Junior guard Khameron Davis secured the rebound and hit the consecutive free throws to drive the dagger through the heart of the Hornets.
Sac State managed to heave up three more desperation attempts in the remaining seconds, but only one of these shots even managed to hit rim. The final buzzer sounded as a Sac State airball fell to the hardwood amongst erupts of cheers from the crowd.
Weber will have only a short time to get ready for Northern Arizona on Saturday as they look to build off the momentum from this game and protect their home floor once again before heading up to Missoula to take on the Grizz.