Weber State at Sacramento State Men’s Basketball Preview

Weber State at Sacramento State Men’s Basketball Preview

by Zachary Knecht

Featured Image: Photo by Weber State Athletics

Weber State Sacramento State Preview

The Weber State Wildcats are back on the road, heading to Sacramento State to face the Hornets in another Big Sky showdown. The Wildcats look to forget their disappointing loss to Montana before they hit the road, while the Hornets aim to snap their five-game skid at home.

The ‘Cats (13-13) enter play third in the Big Sky (8-5), and the struggling Hornets (12-14) are sixth in the conference (5-8). The result of Thursday’s contest can see much mobility in the Big Sky standings for either team.

Game Lines

SAC: -1

Over/under: 126

The Wildcats are 11-13-0 against the spread; the Hornets are 10-13-1.

Previous Matchup

The late January battle between these teams ended in a low-scoring 50-48 Wildcat win. The duel was as back-and-forth as it gets, but a late Weber State run put away the Hornets. Dillon Jones was the hero for the ‘Cats, putting in the deciding layup with five seconds remaining in front of the home crowd.

Despite struggling from the field, the Wildcats did just enough to pull out the conference W. Jones was not only the hero with the final basket, but he carried in other categories as well. His 18 points were the game’s high, and his 14 rebounds proved decisive in the result.

Dyson Koehler had a timely performance, shooting four for five from the field with two steals and five rebounds. Although much of the roster struggled, Koehler produced a solid 12 points to help get his team over the hump.

Most of Sacramento State’s roster was contained as well, with Austin Patterson having the only standout performance. Patterson is not typically a top-scoring option for the Hornets, but his 12 points led the team, flirting with a double-double with nine rebounds.

Who to Watch

For Weber State, watch for Jones and Steven Verplancken Jr. When push comes to shove โ€“ especially late in the season like this โ€“ teams need to rely on their top options to pull out tough wins. Just as Jones did in late January, a repeat performance would do wonders, given how deadlocked these rosters are statistically.

Verplancken Jr. was a big part of the offensive game plan at home against the Hornets, but he needs to shoot better on the road. His four of 13 of the field was not the efficient performance he was looking for, so finding the hot hand will help this team’s second scoring option flourish in the big game.

For Sacramento State, look for Callum McRae and Zach Chappell to have better showings at The Nest. They were more-or-less contained at the Dee Events Center, combining for 12 points and nine rebounds. While McRae struggled from the field, shooting two of seven, Chappell was dominated, only hitting two of his 17 shots. The Hornets can’t afford another performance like this in a late conference duel.

Aggressive Play

These teams are about as even as you get. The Wildcats score 66.7 PPG to 66.4 from the Hornets, allow 68.0 PPG to 68.2 PPG, and shoot 44.9% to 43.8%. The main difference between these rosters is in the rebounding department, where the Hornets dominate 36.2 boards per game to 30.5. In their last bout, the ‘Cats kept up but lost the battle 41-38, and they will need to continue the forceful play Thursday.

Forcing turnovers will also give Weber State more opportunities. The turnover battle was even at 12 a piece last time, but winning the battle can prove vital in the road effort. Playing safe on offense but attacking on defense will create some separation. The Hornets only force 8.8 turnovers per game to Weber State’s 12.9, so the Wildcats know how to apply pressure on their opponents.

Game Time

The Wildcats will head to The Nest to face the Hornets at 8 pm MST in a vital conference battle coming to the conclusion of the season.


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