by Dominic Ferrucci
It was not always pretty, but the Weber State Wildcats found a way to respond in a much needed bounce-back win Saturday afternoon on the road at Montana. The Wildcats shot over 60 percent for the second time in four games in the 91-82 win. They overcame 15 turnovers and two technical fouls in the process. The win now guarantees a winning regular season for Weber State. That is something head coach Randy Rahe has now accomplished 14 times in his 15 seasons at the helm. Rahe and his squad are playing good basketball as they head into the final six games of the season. They are seeking their first NCAA tournament appearance since the 2015-16 season. In order to get there, stellar performances from senior guard Isiah Brown will help.
Brown led the way today with 21 points, missing only two shots in the process. Wildcat fans have become accustomed to this type of performance from Brown, who has scored in double figures in all but one game this season. While Weber State is his third home in this college career, Brown has paved quite a niche for himself. He is playing like an all conference member in his first Big Sky season.
Fellow transfer Seikou Sisoho Jawara has found quite the niche in Ogden as well. He added 14 points, six rebounds and seven assists in an all-around great game. Sisoho Jawara is averaging nearly 19 points over the last six games for the Wildcats, and will be a key in the hopes of a Big Sky title come March. The transfer standouts were aided today with the stellar contributions of the bench. It’s something that was lacking in Thursday’s loss. Freshman Dillon Jones stepped up with 13 points and eight rebounds while veteran senior Michael Kozak poured in 13 points of his own off the bench. Kozak’s outing was filled with clutch shots, including a step back as the shot clock was running down with less than two minutes left. This gave the Wildcats a seven point lead, seemingly putting the game on ice.
For much of the afternoon, the teams were neck and neck and there were 10 ties and 13 lead changes to show for it. Montana’s Josh Vazquez paced the Grizzlies’ effort, going 3-6 from long range. He made two three-pointers in the second half to keep Weber State from pulling away. Montana’s fantastic free throw shooting also aided in their attempt to stay close missing just once in 22 tries. Their 21 points off of turnovers also helped the cause while Weber’s 10 first half turnovers caused the game to be a tight two point contest at the break.
Ultimately, the Wildcat’s 67 percent shooting from the field in the second half was too much too overcome for Montana. Their struggles to sweep a series reared its ugly head, as they still have yet to win both legs of conference matchups. Weber State was able to capture the lead following two Dillon Jones free throws at the 11:44 mark in the second half and used a 10-3 later in the half to put them up nine. Montana got as close as four after that. Strong free throw shooting, a strength for this Weber State ballclub, kept the game out of reach. They are hitting 78.6 percent from the charity stripe in conference play.
The Wildcats will return to action Thursday evening hosting the Lumberjacks of Northern Arizona in the Dee Events Center. NAU has not played since a win on January 29, 2021 against Northern Colorado. This is due to Covid Protocols.
Featured image courtesy Montana Grizzlies website