Weber State at Montana State Men’s Basketball Tournament Recap

Weber State at Montana State Men’s Basketball Tournament Recap

by Zachary Knecht

Featured Image: Photo by Weber State Athletics

Weber State Montana State Tournament Recap

The #3 Weber State Wildcats come to an unfortunate demise at the hands of the #2 Montana State Bobcats 60-58 in the conference semifinals. The double-overtime thriller was a game-of-the-year candidate, but WSU couldn’t get the job done in Boise.

Montana State has been a nightmare for the Wildcats across any sport, now having knocked out Weber State in the football and basketball playoffs. Though the result wasn’t what WSU hoped for, it was an impressive season nonetheless, and they went down swinging against the Big Sky’s top-remaining team.

Game Lines

WEB +6

Under 130

Team Leaders

Dillon Jones and Steven Verplancken Jr. were the top producers for the Wildcats. Jones had a team-high 18 points, adding 16 rebounds for a tournament double-double. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a successful night from the field. The sophomore star had 24 attempts from the field, but shot a measly 20.8%, missing all five of his looks from three. He impacted the game defensively, stealing the ball three times which helped keep the Wildcats in the game as long as they were.

Verplancken Jr. had a strong night en route to his 14 points. Weber State’s second option shot an efficient six of 14 from the field, draining two of 15 from range. He added four rebounds in the do-or-die contest, dishing out two assists.

RaeQuan Battle played a similar role as Jones for the Bobcats. Montana State’s junior guard was fed the ball all night, hitting seven of his 22 shots for 17 points. He did not make much impact elsewhere, only securing one rebound despite the two extra periods.

Great Osobor was effective from off the bench for the Bobcats, scoring 16 points on 60% shooting. Osobor caused issues for Weber State’s defense earlier in the season and came through for his team once again in the semifinal duel.

Defensive Duel

Weber State and Montana State put on a show in the final matchup before the Big Sky Championship game. The skirmish lived up to the hype and more, needing two extra periods to determine a winner. Each team’s defense came to play with a trip to the title game on the line, the offensive production falling well below their usual numbers even with the two overtimes. Neither team had a minute to breathe, as six points were the largest lead from either roster.

The Wildcats and Bobcats posted nearly identical numbers from the field, shooting 34.5% and 34.6%, respectively, but Montana State had the advantage from beyond the arch. Though they were by no means efficient, their 27.8% from three outdid the 18.8% of Weber State and was a decisive factor in the victory.

WSU fought hard against the two seeds, outmatching them in rebounds (38-36) and forcing more turnovers (17-15). It wasn’t enough to give them the edge, but the Wildcats left it all out on the court against their bitter rival.

Closing Remarks

The Wildcats proved a lot in the 2022-2023 season. After a shaky start, there was no telling how their year would end up, but to attain the third seed and show their potential in the face of adversity, Weber State showed true character from top to bottom. To lose in the fashion they did with a championship game berth within arms reach leaves a sour taste in their mouth, but there are so many positives to celebrate. No matter what the road holds for them, they are destined to put their best foot forward. We Are Weber.

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Weber State StartersPTSREBASTFG3PTMIN
Dillon Jones, F181615-240-550
Steven Verplancken Jr., G14426-142-545
KJ Cunningham, G9723-61-338
Dyson Koehler, F8202-30-035
Alex Tew, C0210-00-013
Bench
Zahir Porter, G5102-81-218
Handje Tamba, C2401-10-027
Junior Ballard, G2001-20-019
Daniel Rouzan, F0000-00-05
Team Total5838620-583-16
Montana State StartersPTSREBASTFG3PTMIN
RaeQuan Battle, G17107-223-735
Jubrile Belo, F12710-20-145
Darius Brown II, G41161-40-149
Tyler Patterson, G3311-41-420
Caleb Fuller, G3211-50-234
Bench
Great Osobor, F16606-100-027
Robert Ford III, G5612-51-339
Sam Lecholat, F0000-00-01
Nick Gazelas, G0000-00-00
Team Total60361018-525-18

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