(Editor’s note — Montana State Athletics press release)
OGDEN, U.T. — Weber State made 13 of its first 15 shots in the second half and never looked back, cruising to a 94-82 win over Montana State in Ogden on Saturday.
Montana State used a late rally to take a 40-39 halftime lead, and in spite of Weber State’s scorching shooting held a 52-51 lead five minutes into the second half. But Weber State’s hot shooting and a three-minute drought late in the game spelled MSU’s doom.
“I’m proud of the guys and how hard they fought tonight,” said MSU coach Brian Fish. “They played so hard, but (Weber State) made some tough shots, some deep shots that as a staff we decided we’d give them to take away other things. Credit them, but our guys left it all on the floor so my hat’s off to them, as well.”
Guard Jerrick Harding led all players with 28 points, but Weber State spread the scoring out. Cody John scored 18, Caleb Nero 19 and Brekkott Chapman 14. Tyler Hall and Harald Frey each led the Cats with 25 points.
Weber State started fast. A Keljin Blevins jumper staked MSU to a 4-2 lead, the Wildcats scored 14 straight points. MSU turned the ball over three times and missed all five of its shots in that span. The Wildcats built their lead to 22-9 at 13:03, but the Cats responded. Devin Kirby got things wolling with a short jumper, Ladan Rickets made a layup on the fast break then drained a trey, the Tyler Hall hit two triples to pull MSU within 28-22.
“We knew they would get off to a fast start,” Fish said, “and they did. But we kind of weathered the storm.”
After Keljin Blevins dunked and converted a conventional three-point play, Harald Frey’s three-point bomb tied the game at 28-28 with 6:37 to play before halftime. WSU scored four quick points, but MSU scored on six of their last 10 possessions in the first half, and when Hall hit a jumper at the buzzer MSU entered the intermission with a 40-39 lead.
The Bobcats pulled ahead on the strength of their defense. Montana State held the home team to 4-for-12 shooting in the last eight minutes of the first half.
Weber State finished the night shooting 54%, including 62% in the second half, and 13-for-26 from the arc. Montana State shot 43%, and held a narrow 35-to-34 rebounding advantage.
Montana State falls to 12-13 on the season, 9-6 in Big Sky play. Weber State is 16-10 overall, 10-5 in the league, and alone in third place. The Cats head to Missoula next Saturday for the second Cat-Griz matchup of the season.