GAME NOTES: The Weber State Wildcats try to increase their odds of capturing the Big Sky Conference regular season title as they host the Sacramento State Hornets at the Dee Events Center on Thursday night.
Ahead by two games over Northern Colorado at the top of the league standings, the Wildcats managed to snap a two-game slide the last time out with a convincing 86-68 decision versus Montana State on the road last Saturday. Weber State is now 12-4 in conference with this and three more games remaining before the end of the regular season.
The Hornets come into action tonight tied with Montana and North Dakota for third place in the Big Sky with a record of 9-7. On the road now for consecutive outings against WSU and Idaho State before closing with hosting gigs versus Montana and Montana State next week, Sacramento has won three in a row thanks to a 79-58 thumping of Northern Colorado last Saturday at home.
The Hornets stole a 78-75 overtime decision versus Weber State in the first meeting of the season earlier this month at home, thanks to what has been described as a 75-foot heave by Dylan Garrity at the buzzer, but still this is a relationship that is being dominated by the Wildcats, winners of all but one of 20 meetings in Ogden and 35 of 40 overall.
Mikh McKinney tallied 29 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, as the Sacramento State Hornets easily took care of the Northern Colorado Bears by 21 points in Big Sky action at The Nest.McKinney shot 8-of-18 from the field and knocked down 11-of-12 from the free-throw line for Sacramento State. Eric Stuteville also registered a double-double for the hosts, putting up 14 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. Sacramento State owned a 45-34 advantage on the glass and outscored UNC at the foul line, 24-17.
Holding the same lineup for all but one of their 16 conference bouts this season, the Hornets are being paced by McKinney and his 17.3 ppg, shooting both 50.3 percent from the field and 81.3 percent at the free-throw line. In addition to taking care of his own offensive needs, McKinney has also made it his job to get teammates involved, to the tune of 79 assists. Garrity (12.9 ppg) is responsible for another 65 dishes as well.
Weber State pulled into Bozeman with something to prove last Saturday, using a 58.1 percent shooting effort from the floor to generate an 18-point road win. Davion Berry tallied a team-best 20 points, connecting on all 10 of his free- throw chances, while Jordan Richardson tacked on 19 points. Richaud Gittens and Jeremy Senglin pitched in with 14 and 12 points, respectively, as the team held the hosts to just 37.1 percent shooting from the floor.
In conference play, Weber State is producing a solid 72.9 ppg on the strength of 42.5 percent shooting behind the 3-point line. Berry tops a list of three double-digit scorers with his 19.9 ppg, converting 84.0 percent of his opportunities at the free-throw line where the program has outscored the opposition by 91 points in 16 outings. Joel Bolomboy (8.9 ppg) handles the action in the paint with 12.1 rpg.
The Hornets won the first meeting of the season at home and on a prayer from long distance, but they are in enemy territory now and you can be sure Weber State won't let the game be that close down the stretch.
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