After COVID forced the Wildcats two matchups against Idaho State at the Dee to be canceled, the team found the Wolverines from Orem coming to Ogden for an in-state hardwood matchup on Jan. 2.
In a hard fight blow for blow, shot for shot game Weber State defeated Utah Valley 70—62.
UVU gave the Wildcats all they could handle, but in the end Weber State gave the Wolverines their fourth straight loss.
“We just ended up making a few more plays than they did and it was one of those after Christmas long break, ugly basketball games and our guys showed a lot of grit and determination,” Wildcats men’s basketball Head Coach Randy Rahe said.
The game was off to a slow start, but a hanging slam from Dontay Bassett injected energy into the Wildcats and gave the team a 6—4 lead in the opening six minutes.
Bassett finished the game with nine points and five rebounds.
With just over nine minutes left in the half, Jamison Overton put the Wolverines up 14—13 with a quick layup. Overton finished as the Wolverines leading scorer with 19 points.
The back and forth battle continued throughout the opening half and up until the final minutes. The game saw 16 lead changes and was tied 10 times.
Cody Carlson and Seikou Sisoho Jawara led the way for the Wildcats in the first half with seven and six points respectfully.
Sisoho Jawara’s 3-pointer stole the lead for the Wildcats, but a mid-range jumper from Overton tied the game for the Wolverines.
Points were hard to come by in this one. Both defenses were charged up and ready to roll in the first half with the score being 30—30 at the half-time buzzer.
Rahe expressed that the team wasn’t playing as well as they could have with the lack of offense and seemed to be playing frantically. At halftime he told them to relax and that they were going to make the shots they needed.
Zahir Porter’s falling layup gave the Wildcats a 34—33 lead four minutes into the second half.
Former Wildcat Tim Fuller who transferred to UVU this season, scored his lone basket of the night and put the Wolverines up 37—36 early in the second half.
Carlson retook the lead for the Wildcats with a pump fake driving and one putting Weber State up 40—36.
Carlson saw open looks from beyond the arc, and while he finished shooting 1 of 5 from the 3-point line, those are the looks he wants to see from deep.
The game stayed within a five-point margin until the final minutes when the Wildcats began pulling away.
After a dish from Sisoho Jawara to Bassett for a booming dunk the Wildcats took a 65—58 lead and never looked back.
Brown and Porter secured the victory for Weber State from the free throw line.
“I knew it was going to be an ugly game, we hadn’t played in two weeks, they hadn’t played in two weeks, and I told my staff before the game we just got to slug through this one because everybody’s out of rhythm,” Rahe said.
While Brown shot two of six from the field and one of three from the 3-point line, he’s the Wildcats leading scorer of the year averaging 18.6 points per game.
The Wildcats move to a 4—3 record on the season which has been marred with cancelations.
“It’s hard, cause this week we’re getting ready to go play two league games and we get them all jacked up, it’s league time, and boom those games are gone. Now we fill in with this game, but this group was ready to go and they come to work everyday. We’ve got some maturity in that way,” Rahe said.
The team’s homestand against Eastern Washington on Jan. 7 and 9 was wiped out due to COVID. The cancelation marks four games notched off the Wildcats schedule due to the pandemic.
Weber State’s next scheduled game is at the Dee on Jan. 21, against Southern Utah.