Weber State men’s basketball team ran away with a 22-point victory against Northern Arizona, 74–52. It was the second victory for the Wildcats over the Lumberjacks and WSU’s third straight win.
“We weren’t getting better at all; we weren’t very good,” Wildcats Head Coach Randy Rahe said. “Then we started to get back into conference play, and I could tell from one weekend to the next we were getting a little bit better, and so it’s all about continuity.”
Isiah Brown’s back-to-back 3-pointers to start the game not only gave the Wildcats a quick 6–0 lead, but sent WSU’s mascot Waldo into a dancing frenzy and put the fans inside the Dee Events Center on their feet.
“You know, he [Brown] did it both nights. He came out Thursday and made some shots, and I think he gives our team confidence when we see that ball go in early,” Rahe said. “He’s a confident player, and he took the shots that came to him.”
In what’s becoming a theme for the Wildcats this season, the whole team got involved in scoring.
“I thought we played good offense. We’ve been pretty consistent over the last three weeks or so getting a lot of guys in double figures, which is exactly what I envisioned with this team,” Rahe said. “We’ve got some pretty good players and we got to spread the wealth.”
Five players scored in double digits, led by Brown and Zahir Porter, who finished with 15 and 13 points and shot a combined five of 12 from 3-point range.
Seikou Sisoho Jawara put up 11 points and led the team in assists, dishing out six, including multiple one-handed passes to his Wildcat teammates, leading to easy baskets.
Cody Carlson and Dillon Jones each put up 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds on the day.
It was the 13th game this season where at least four players finished in double digits for WSU.
Following Brown’s back-to-back buckets to start the game, Carlson threw down a two-handed slam to take an 8–4 Wildcat lead.
In the first half, Grizzly Luke Avdalovic hit three straight 3-pointers to lead NAU on an 8–2 run and brought the Lumberjacks to within one point, trailing 15–14.
But this was the closest the Lumberjacks would be to WSU the rest of the game.
Jones fought in the paint all game long for the Wildcats, including a possession with under five minutes to play in the fist half where he battled on the offensive glass, grabbing the rebound off his missed layup twice before drawing a foul and heading to the free-throw line.
“When you’ve got a guy [Jones] who embraces the little things to help your team win, it’s huge for chemistry and togetherness, and it makes other guys play with a little more energy,” Rahe said.
Jones snagged seven of his eight total rebounds in the fist half.
Porter and Sisoho Jawara went on a 7–0 run for the Wildcats at the end of the first half. Porter crossed up his man, sending him backwards, and drove to the hoop for the easy lay-in.
With 2:11 to go in the opening half, Porter buried a deep 3-pointer, followed two possessions later by Sisoho Jawara laying in an easy bucket to send the Wildcats to the second half with a 32–23 lead.
Coming out of the halftime locker room, the Wildcats went on a 9–2 run capped off by Carlson landing a 3-pointer and powering home a layup, despite taking a blow to his face that sent him to the foul line.
“We definitely shut down their leading scorer. We beat them on the boards…. We just did a really good job overall today,” Carlson said. “And you know, the second day people start to figure out the team, so the game just naturally moved slower.”
With 15:26 left in the game, and with WSU leading 46–30, Porter drilled another 3 off the dish from Sisoho Jawara, who rifled a one-handed pass to him at the 3-point line.
WSU continued to build its lead throughout the second half, and with 7:04 left to play, Dillon Jones buried two free throws, giving the Wildcats a 60–42 lead.
Jones’ hustle and tenacity in the paint paid off as he led the Wildcats in free throw attempts, shooting six of six.
With under four minutes to play, Porter’s third and final triple of the day led to a 28-point lead for WSU with a score of 72–44, the team’s biggest lead of the game.
“We definitely want to keep the energy and motivation up at the end of the season,” Carlson said of the team’s goals for upcoming games. “So we just trying to ignore all of that and keep the energy up going into the conference tournament.”