OGDEN, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - In a must-win game Weber State dominated Montana 87-63 Thursday night at the Dee Events Center for their fifth straight win. The victory moves the Wildcats to 18-5 overall and 13-2 in Big Sky play and keeps their conference title hopes alive, handing the Grizzlies their first conference loss and snapping their 25-game conference winning streak.
Montana held an early 7-6 lead but the Wildcats quickly responded with a 20-4 run over the next nine minutes and never looked back. They led by as many as 22 in the first half and held a 44-24 lead at halftime. WSU shot 55 percent in the first half and held Montana to 32 percent shooting.
The lead was never less than 17 points in the second half as the ‘Cats rolled to the win, their eighth straight home victory.
The Wildcats finished the game shooting 58 percent from the field, compared to 46 percent for Montana. The ‘Cats also outrebounded the Grizzlies 29-25. They had 21 assists and just seven turnovers.
“I was really proud of our guys for our effort tonight,” said WSU head coach Randy Rahe. “We played with a lot of energy and excited but we also really executed our game plan and stayed within the game. Montana is a really good basketball team. We played really hard and earned this one tonight. Now we put a little heat on Montana but we still have to take care of our business. Lots of basketball still to be played but it was a good confidence win for us.”
Four Wildcats scored in double figures led by junior Kyle Tresnak who finished with 19 points on 8-10 shooting to go along with five rebounds. Davion Berry added 16 points along with six assists and three steals and Frank Otis added 14 points, along with a career-high five assists.
Sophomore Gelaun Wheelwright tied his season-high with 14 points. He was 5-6 from the field and a perfect 4-4 from three-point range. Jordan Richardson and nine points and Scott Bamforth added eight, along with seven rebounds and six assists.
It was Montana’s first conference loss in 13 months, since losing 80-64 to the Wildcats in Ogden on Jan. 14, 2012. The Grizzlies (18-5, 14-1) came into the game with the nation’s second-longest winning streak and had won a record 25-straight conference games. Will Cherry and Mathias Ward combined had 18 points each in the loss. The Wildcats have now won nine of the last ten games against the Grizzlies at home.
Both teams now have five conference games remaining. Weber State will host Montana State Saturday night at the Dee Events Center.