GAME NOTES: Weber State is back in the title game of the Big Sky Conference Tournament for the third straight year, but this time the top-seeded Wildcats hope to have a more favorable outcome as they battle North Dakota at the Dee Events Center.
In both 2012 and 2013 the Wildcats, seeded first in this year's tournament, lost to Montana in the championship round of this event, but now they've returned to compete for the crown for the fourth time in the last five years. Already winners of this tournament eight times, most recently in 2007, Weber State earned a bye through to the semifinals after finishing first in the standings during the regular season.
Even with the additional rest and the luxury of playing at home, the Wildcats were still pushed to overtime by Northern Colorado last night, before pulling out the 66-63 victory.
As for second-seeded North Dakota, it was in action earlier in the day on Friday and secured a far more convincing win over Portland State, 79-63. The victory came a day after UND took out seventh-seeded Sacramento State in a much closer call, 79-76.
Weber State swept the regular season series with North Dakota, which means the all-time series now numbers at 5-0 in favor of the Wildcats.
Aaron Anderson scored 19 points and pulled down six rebounds as North Dakota defeated Portland State by a comfortable 16 points in the semifinals of the tournament yesterday. Also scoring in double figures for second-seeded North Dakota were Troy Huff and Jaron Nash with 18 and 13 points, respectively, the former shooting just 3-of-14 from the floor, but 12-of-15 at the free-throw line. North Dakota outscored the Vikings in the paint, 46-18, and forced 18 turnovers which led to 21 points.
Huff had a rough time of it from the field yesterday, but on the season he is still a solid 45.4 percent accurate and responsible for 19.5 ppg as one of the school's all-time leading scorers. Anderson checks in with another 11.1 ppg and Nash 10.8 ppg, but clearly this group is only as successful as Huff allows them to be.
Weber State led by seven with just under four minutes remaining in regulation on Friday night against the Bears, but then watched UNC close on a 7-0 run to send the meeting to overtime knotted at 55-55. However, in that bonus period it was WSU that began with an 8-1 run and then held on. Davion Berry tallied five points during the spurt and finished with a team-best 15 overall. Jordan Richardson knocked down 4-of-8 behind the 3-point line to finish with 13 points, followed by Kyle Tresnak and Richaud Gittens with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Although he failed to record a single blocked shot last night and was held to only four points and seven rebounds, Joel Bolomboy is still a crucial piece to the puzzle for the Wildcats in their pursuit of the title. Bolomboy is responsible for 10.8 rpg, which marries well with Berry (19.1 ppg), Tresnak (11.2 ppg) and Jeremy Senglin (11.1 ppg) who focus their efforts on offense almost exclusively.
Hopefully, the close call last night served as a wake-up for the Wildcats who have everything working in their favor for tonight's title game, as long as they can frustrate Huff on the other side.
Game Date and Time