The basketball season is coming close to an end for the Wildcats as they played their final two home games at the Dee Events Center ahead of spring break, the first being a Saturday night showdown against Portland State.
The game started off quickly with the Wildcats taking an early lead as they were leading after five minutes when senior guard Jerrick Harding put in an acrobatic up and under layup. The Vikings responded with two three-pointers in the first five minutes from Alonzo Walker
Momentum started to turn in the Wildcats favor after a Jerick Harding alley-pop to freshmen center Tim Fuller brought the Dee Events Center crowd to its feet. A powerful two-handed slam by Barnes and a big block by Fuller on the other end got Weber State going early on.
Freshmen KJ Cunningham, sophomore Israel Barnes, and junior Kham Davis pitched in by facilitating on offense and playing scrappy and hard-nosed defense all night.
However, the Vikes’ hung around thanks to PSU’s Lamar Hamrick who put on a three-point clinic towards the end of the first half making back to back three-pointers and then adding another in the final minute.
Three-point shooting made a big difference in the first half as the Vikings made six threes to the Wildcats one.
The second half tipped off with Weber State immediately cutting the Viking lead in half with a layup from Harding.
Portland State’s defense tightened up as they went on an 11-5 run with back to back three-pointers from Holland Woods. The Vikings reached their biggest lead of the night of 15 points after a run which included huge put-back dunks by Rashaad Goolsby and Alonzo Walker.
The Wildcat comeback was ignited by a big three-pointer from senior guard Cody John and he drew a foul the next possession making the layup and the free throw cutting the Viking lead to nine with nine minutes left to play.
After a steal by junior forward Kham Davis and another and-1 being converted by Cody John, the Wildcat comeback was roaring. Back to back layups by Harding cut the Vikings lead to only two points 85-83 with only 47 seconds remaining.
Despite the valiant effort from Weber State, the Vikings axed the comeback attempt after making two free throws and another layup as they took home the victory with the final score reading 89-83.
“I think we did a good job of chipping away at that deficit late in the game, basketball is a game of runs and we knew sometime in the second half we were going to push back and make our run. It was a tough loss tonight,” said power forward Tim Fuller.
The Wildcats played a hard-fought game and kept coming back and making runs all the way until the end.
“It was a terrific effort, that’s a really good basketball team right there, I think they’re as talented a team as there is in the league, they’re an old team they have six seniors but our kids came fighting back,” said Head Coach Randy Rahe.
The Wildcats weren’t done on the hardwood as they took on the Idaho State Bengals, Monday on Senior Night. Jerick Harding, Cody John, and Brendan Morris were celebrated before the game on center court at the Dee Events Center.
Wildcat senior guard Cody John has played in 125 games for the Wildcats which is fifth-most in school history, starting 89 of those contests.
Senior point guard Jerick Harding has suited up for 118 games at Weber State and has scored 2,199 points for the Wildcats, the fifth most of any active NCAA player, as well as being the school’s all-time leader in points and free throw percentage.
John and Harding lead the team during a tough game in which Idaho State jumped out to an early lead with a 14-6 run in the first five minutes.
Harding kept the Wildcats in the game during a first half in which the ball wasn’t bouncing their way, by leading Weber State in scoring with three three-pointers and fifteen total points in the first half.
Including one of his threes cutting the Bengals lead to 32-26 with five minutes left in the first half.
Idaho State went into the half with a 46-37 lead, as they had 5 players with seven or more points at the half. The Wildcats Cody John and Kham Davis each poured in eight points.
After the break, the Wildcats came out with new life after a big defensive stop Cody John was fouled on his successful layup attempt and made the free throw. A minute later Kham Davis’ power slam cut the lead to only two points for the Bengals.
The Bengals Tarik Cool responded with a flurry of layups and a three from deep for a 7-0 run for Idaho State. Cody John lead the Wildcats in the second half pouring in 15 points.
The Wildcats fought hard and clawed back, but never quite got back in it as John finished with 23 points and Harding with 18 on the night.
With the Wildcats down by 10, Ogden’s own Brendan Morris out of Ben Lomond High School checked into the game with 50 seconds to go on Senior Night, as Wildcat fans were on their feet chanting his name.
Once the Wildcats inbounded the ball Morris was fired a pass but missed the corner three as it went off the front of the rim. However, he got in his last word on his home floor as he slammed in a two-handed dunk as time expired with a final score of 78-70
“In my fourteen years this has been the most adversity we’ve ever had, all the injuries and stuff we’ve had and how they’ve have handled it has been outstanding, a lot of teams would’ve given in a long time ago, the toughness and resiliency they’ve shown this whole season is what I’m going to remember about them,” said Head Coach Randy Rahe about the seniors.
The Wildcats will now finish the season up in the Pacific Northwest against the Eastern Washington Eagles after they defeated the Idaho Vandals on Thursday night, The Wildcats sit at 12-18 as the Big Sky tournament looms.
“We have a lot of talented people, I think a lot of unfortunate situations happened to our team, it’s been a fight the whole season, but this team’s very good,” said shooting guard Kham Davis.