GAME NOTES: Still in the race for the regular-season crown in the Big Sky Conference, the Weber State Wildcats try to keep the pressure on as they take the floor against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks on Saturday afternoon in Flagstaff.
Sporting the best overall record in the league at 21-5, the Wildcats are second in the standings with a 15-2 mark, trailing only Montana (15-1) with three games to play. In action two nights ago, WSU dismissed Sacramento State in a 70-55 decision on the road, the team's eighth win in a row.
As for the Lumberjacks, tied with both Montana State and Southern Utah for fourth in the Big Sky with a record of 8-9 heading into the weekend, they too picked up a victory on Thursday night with a 67-58 win against Idaho State at home. It was the second win in the last three games for NAU, which is just 11-17 on the season overall.
Weber State won the first meeting of the season by a score of 83-70 at home in the middle of January, which means the Wildcats have run their win streak in the series to nine in a row and now own a commanding 70-26 edge all-time versus the 'Jacks.
The Wildcats made just 11 field goals in the first half against Sacramento State on Thursday night, but the good news is that six of them were taken from behind the 3-point line, giving the squad a 32-25 lead at the break. Weber State ended up hitting 11-of-20 on the perimeter in the 15-point win as Davion Berry converted 4-of-7 on the outside to help arrive at 22 points. Scott Bamforth pitched in with 14 points and Joel Bolomboy 11 points and seven boards off the bench.
Against conference teams this season, the Wildcats have run out the same starting lineup in all 17 contests and that has gone a long way in producing a scoring advantage of almost 14 ppg. Berry (15.6 ppg) is not only shooting 51.2 percent from the field, he is also responsible for 68 assists, followed by Bamforth (13.3 ppg) and Kyle Tresnak (12.5 ppg) for a squad that has made good on 51.7 percent from the floor and an impressive 44.3 percent behind the 3- point line where WSU has knocked down 125 attempts, compared to just 60 for the competition.
Gabe Rogers scored a game-high 24 points as the Lumberjacks captured a 67-58 win over the Idaho State Bengals in Big Sky Conference action at the Walkup Skydome two nights ago. DeWayne Russell added 13 points and Stallon Saldivar 12 and six assists off the bench for the Lumberjacks as they forced 17 turnovers on the night and held the Bengals to just 16 made field goals. In the second half alone, the 'Jacks held the Bengals to a miserable 3-of-19 shooting from the floor.
A starter in every game for the 'Jacks, Rogers leads the team in scoring with 17.7 ppg, although his 38.8 percent accuracy from the floor is far from optimal. Then again, of the 16.2 field goal attempts he takes every game, just under half are coming in from beyond the arc so that explains a lot about his lack of accuracy. Russell is responsible for another 14.6 ppg which means when you put those two together you come up with almost half of the unit's 67.0 ppg.
With still so much hanging in the balance in the Big Sky, the Wildcats cannot afford to be over-confident heading into this meeting. Hopefully WSU will remain level-headed and in the win column as it pushes Montana right up until the end.
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