MISSOULA — Weber State's offense came alive on Saturday afternoon, and the Wildcats raced past the Montana Grizzlies 91-82 in Dahlberg Arena.
Isiah Brown led the Wildcats (12-5, 7-3 Big Sky Conference) with 21 points as Weber State bounced back from Thursday's defeat against Montana. Five Wildcats scored in double-figures with Seikou Sisoho Jawara finishing with 14 points while Dontay Bassett, Dillon Jones and Michal Kozak each finished with 13. Jones led Weber State with eight rebounds as well.
Josh Vazquez led Montana (9-10, 5-7) with 17 points while Cameron Parker added 15 points and seven assists. Kyle Owens finished with 12 and Brandon Whitney and Josh Bannan each tallied 10.
The game showcased the high-powered offense at Weber State's disposal after Montana effectively shut the Wildcats down in an 80-67 victory on Thursday. Weber State shot a scorching 62.2% from the field and finished 5 for 12 from 3-point range.
"I think that we’re kind of far enough along where we know what we want defensively. But it’s just a couple breakdowns here and there and the tough stretches where we just can’t have them," Vazquez said. "And that kind of, I don’t want to say brings us down, but it kind of does. I think we just have to fix those couple things and we’ll be good, it’s kind of like this little roller-coaster we’ve been on."
Weber State led Montana 36-34 heading into the break. The contest went back-and-forth for about nine minutes into the second half before the Wildcats ballooned their lead to 62-54 after a Kozak 3-pointer with 9:20 to go. Montana was tasked with playing catch-up from there, but offensively Weber State was too much to handle and the Wildcats eventually iced the game with free throws.
Weber State finished shooting 30 for 38 from the free throw line while Montana went 21 for 22. The Grizzlies finished shooting 45.8% from the field and 7 for 16 from deep.
The loss makes Montana 0-5 in Saturday Big Sky Conference games, and 0-4 in a league series in the second matchup after winning the first contest. Parker and Vazquez pointed to a lack of intensity that was there in Thursday's win, and that the team needs to hone that in as the final stretch approaches.
"I would just say the consistency part of it and just staying as dialed in as you were for the start of the week to the end of the week," Parker said. "They just make adjustments and stuff like that but I agree with Josh, we only have two or three more (regular-season) series left so we can’t just keep saying we’re young or that we haven’t figured it out yet because we’ve played enough games at this point where coach shouldn’t be reminding us the simple things we do in practice every day."
"When you play someone twice in less than 48 hours, the game is never going to be the same as it was the first time," Montana coach Travis DeCuire said about the team's inability to beat teams twice. "And so now you’re making adjustments but you don’t know what adjustments they made because there’s no film of watching them play six or seven more games and then play them again, and so the team that can handle change on the fly the most is going to be the team that’s successful and right now we’re just too inexperienced with that and we’ve shown signs of getting better we’re just not good enough right now with it."
Montana is on the road at Eastern Washington (10-6, 9-2) on Thursday and hosts EWU on Saturday. The Eagles have won seven straight games including a road sweep of Montana State this weekend.