MEN’S HOOPS KEEPS IT CLOSE WITH UNBEATEN WEBER STATE, BUT FALLS IN THE END
OGDEN, Utah -- Weber State used a 9-2 run over the game's final three minutes to eventually defeat Sacramento State, 65-56, in a Big Sky Conference men's basketball game Saturday evening at the Dee Events Center.
The Wildcats, who remain undefeated in league play with an 8-0 record, got all they could handle from the pesky Hornets. In fact, Sacramento State was in striking distance the entire second half, trailing by six points or less from the 9:18 mark of the second half until the two minute mark. The Hornets closed to within two points with 5:04 left to play (54-52), and again with 3:21 remaining (56-54) in the contest.
After the Hornets' sank a shot to get the Hornets within, 56-54, Weber State's Kyle Tresnak buried a jumper to put the Wildcats back on top, 58-54, with 2:56 remaining. With the score still, 58-54, and 2:12 left in the contest, Garrity breezed in for a contested layup that hit the backboard and settled on the rim for what seemed like an eternity before eventually falling out. The Wildcats grabbed the rebound, and sunk a three-pointer on their next possession to all but put the game away.
Weber State would eventually push its lead to a game-high 11 points (65-54) with 16 seconds left before setting on the nine-point win. On the Hornets' final six possessions of the game, the team committed two turnovers and shot 1-for-4 from the field. That allowed the Wildcats to stretch their lead in the waning minutes and win the game by a score that was not nearly indicative of how close the game really was.
The Hornets' largest lead was five points at 7-2 early in the contest before Weber State went on a 9-0 run to take an 11-7 lead at the 14:31 mark of the first half. Sacramento State never led again, but found itself down single digits for nearly the entire contest.
With the loss, Sacramento State dropped to 8-8 overall and 3-5 in the conference, and no longer sits above the .500 mark for the first time all year. The Hornets also concluded their season-long four-game road trip tonight, and will welcome a stretch that sees the team play five of its next six games at home over the next three weeks.
The Wildcats (13-3, 8-0) won their ninth straight game and remain one of two unbeaten teams in the Big Sky as Montana also improved to 8-0 tonight with its overtime win against Montana State. Weber State is now 34-4 all-time against Sacramento State, including 11 straight victories in the series. The Wildcats are also 19-1 when playing the Hornets in Ogden, Utah.
Weber State converted just one more field goal than Sacramento State, but buried seven three-pointers compared to a season-low one three ball from the Hornets. That one three-pointer came on the Hornets' final possession of the first half by , and extended the team's streak to 535 consecutive games with at least one three-pointer dating back to Nov. 28, 1993.
The Wildcats finished the game shooting 45.3 percent (24-53) from the field, 35.0 percent (7-20) from the arc and 71.4 percent (10-14) from the free throw line. Weber State, which is the conference's top rebounding team, held a slight 35-33 edge on the glass. That snapped a streak that had seen the Hornets outrebound all seven conference opponents it had played prior to tonight.
Sacramento State shot 39.0 percent (23-59) from the floor, 12.5 percent (1-8) from the three-point line and 90.0 percent (9-10) from the free throw line. Sacramento State was credited with just six assists despite its 23 made baskets, and held a 38-30 advantage in points in the paint.
The Hornets were led by Garrity's 20 points as the sophomore point guard shot 8-of-15 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line while also adding four assists. The 20 points were just two shy of his career best, set earlier this year against UC Davis. Center added 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting and eight rebounds in a career-best 36 minutes of play. , who had to exit the game briefly in the second half with an injury, finished with nine points, five rebounds and three steals. chipped in six points, four rebounds and a career-high four steals. Hornet starters accounted for 54 of the team's 56 points.
Montana had three players score in double figures, comprised of Scott Bamforth (18 points, seven rebounds), Tresnak (15 points, eight rebounds) and Frank Otis (12 points, seven rebounds). Thirteen of those points from Bamforth came in the second half as he connected on three-pointers on three consecutive possessions midway through the second stanza.
Sacramento State returns to action for home games next week against North Dakota on Thursday and Northern Colorado on Saturday. Both games will tip at 7:05 p.m.