GAME NOTES: Playing at home for just the fourth time this season, the Idaho State Bengals welcome the Weber State Wildcats to Holt Arena for a Big Sky Conference battle on Monday night.
Idaho State has a total of just three wins at this stage of the season, with two of those coming in Pocatello against Montana Western and Northern Colorado. Over the weekend the squad actually snapped an eight-game slide on the road with a narrow 54-53 triumph versus Southern Utah in Cedar City. The last three-game win streak for the program took place in late January-early February of last season.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats are one of two teams in the Big Sky that has yet to suffer a league loss, the other being Montana which is one game ahead in the standings entering the week. Coincidentally, the last opponent for WSU was also Southern Utah on Thursday night, with the Wildcats picking up an 81-74 win, their sixth in a row and the ninth in 10 tries.
Last season, these two teams split a pair of meetings as Weber State posted a 78-64 victory in late December, and the Bengals returned the favor the following month, 64-62, which means the all-time series now favors the Wildcats by a count of 71-41.
A free throw by Chris Hansen with 1:37 remaining in regulation proved to be the difference for the Bengals as they captured the one-point win against SUU on the road at Centrum Arena. Hansen finished with 17 points, shooting just 5- of-14 from the floor, his point total second only to Tomas Sanchez who dropped in 18 points and handed out five assists while connecting on 4-of-5 shots behind the 3-point line. Melvin Morgan chipped in another 10 points, but he too struggled from the field (2-of-11). Morgan is leading the team overall in scoring with 12.5 ppg through 14 outings, but his 36.6 percent accuracy from the floor is almost as disappointing as his 21.1 percent behind the arc. Hansen checks in with 10.5 ppg, but he too has had issues from the field (.346) and because of those two the team as a while it making good on a mere 38.1 percent right now.
Despite taking just three shots from the floor and coming off the bench as usual, Joel Bolomboy was again a key figure in the win over SUU for the Wildcats last week as he registered a double-double with 13 points and a game- high 17 rebounds. Davion Berry tallied a team-best 19 points and pulled down seven boards, followed by Scott Bamforth and Kyle Tresnak with 17 and 11 points, respectively, for a squad that survived even though they shot just 39.6 percent from the floor and 3-of-11 beyond the arc. The big difference in the game was that Weber State outscored the Thunderbirds, 36-22, at the charity stripe. Thanks to Berry (13.5 ppg), Bamforth (13.2 ppg) and Tresnak (11.4 ppg) the Wildcats are generating a hefty 79.1 ppg over the course of 13 games. The team is connecting on 50.2 percent from the floor and 41.9 percent beyond the arc, but just as impressive is a defense that is giving up only 60.7 ppg.
Forgetting about the latest outing by the Wildcats, the team has one of the most potent offensive attacks in the Big Sky, so much so that a foe like Idaho State doesn't stand much of a chance.
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