OGDEN, UTAH -- Weber State shot a very proficient .553 (26-47) from the field and .438 (7-16) from the 3-point line on the way to a 79-67 victory over Sacramento State on Thursday evening at the Dee Events Center.
The Wildcats, who clinched at least a share of the Big Sky's regular season title with tonight's win, improved to 16-9 overall and 13-4 in the Big Sky. Weber State sits three games ahead of second-place Northern Colorado (10-7) and North Dakota (10-7) with three games remaining in the regular season. In addition, the Wildcats have now won 27 straight Big Sky regular season games at home.
The loss for the Hornets snapped a three-game winning streak as Sacramento State dropped to 13-13 overall and 9-8 in the conference. Still, the Hornets have won seven of their last nine games and now sit in a four-way tie for fifth place in the league standings with Eastern Washington, Montana State and Northern Arizona. The top seven teams in the 11-member league qualify for the Big Sky Tournament and only three games separate the second place teams and 10th-place Idaho State (7-10).
For a look at the jigsaw puzzle that is the Big Sky standings, click here. The Hornets are attempting to qualify for the postseason tournament for the first time since 2006.
Weber State scored the first seven points of tonight's game and never trailed the entire way. Sacramento State kept things close throughout the game, trailing by just four points with 10:46 remaining in the game, but the Wildcats kept answering with buckets every time the Hornets got within a manageable deficit. Weber State led by seven points (41-34) at halftime, and outscored the Hornets in the second half, 38-33.
Sacramento State shot .458 (27-59) from the field and converted on one more field goal than Weber State, but the difference in the game was at the free throw line where the Wildcats went 20-of-28 (.714) compared to the Hornets going 9-of-13 (.692). The Wildcats, who also held a 36-25 advantage in the rebounding department, buried seven 3-pointers compared to four from long distance for the Hornets.
Sacramento State, once again, got a huge contribution from junior shooting guard Mikh McKinney. The reigning Big Sky Player of the Week posted team highs in points (21), assists (9) and minutes (39). He shot 8-of-16 from the field and had just two turnovers to go with his nine assists. McKinney has now led the Hornets in scoring in 10 straight games and is averaging 21.7 points during that stretch.
True freshman center Eric Stuteville continues to get better with every game, finishing with a season-high 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including his first 3-pointer of the season. He also had a team-best eight rebounds and played a season-high 33 minutes. Over the last four games, Stuteville is averaging 12.8 points and 5.3 rebounds on .645 (20-31) shooting from the floor. Cody Demps added nine points and four rebounds in 36 minutes, Zach Mills had eight points and three rebounds, and Jordan Salley had six points and a pair of rebounds.
After the Wildcats opened the game on a 7-0 run, the Hornets would eventually trim the deficit to two points (36-34) with 1:41 remaining in the first half. However, Weber State would go on a 11-0 run over spanning the next four minutes of both the first and second halves to take a 47-34 lead with 17:36 to play. Sacramento State got within four points on a pair of occasions, but would get no closer. Weber State led by double figures the final 5:47 of the contest.
The Wildcats had four players score in double figures, comprised of Davion Berry (20 points, 11 assists, six rebounds), Kyle Tresnak (18 points), Joel Bolomboy (13 points, 14 rebounds) and Jeremy Senglin (13 points). Thirteen of Berry's 20 points came in the second half, including eight of Weber State's final 10 points of the contest.
Sacramento State will play its final road game of the regular season on Saturday at Idaho State. Tip-off is 6:05 p.m. PST, and the game is shaping up to be the biggest of the season as the Hornets look to solidify themselves in the race for a berth into the Big Sky Tournament. Sacramento State's final two regular season games will come next week at home against both Montana (March 6) and Montana State (March 8).