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The Weber State University men’s basketball team will finish a three-game road trip this Wednesday against the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio.
The Wildcats are coming off a tough road loss against in-state opponent Utah State University last Saturday. The two teams shared a tight game until the very last minutes, when the Aggies made a 12-2 run on WSU to close it out.
Junior guard Davion Berry led WSU, contributing 11 points. Junior guard Jordan Richardson had nine points, and senior forward Frank Otis added eight.
“I was proud of our effort, and I thought we fought hard,” said WSU Head Coach Randy Rahe in a prepared statement from WSU Athletics after the game. “It just came down to missing shots that we needed. With five minutes to go, we were tied, and they made their shots, and we missed them. We missed 13 free throws, and you just can’t do that to a team like Utah State.”
WSU senior guard Scott Bamforth said the Wildcats were able to take away positive moments from the game despite the loss.
“I thought we played good defense,” he said. “The first half, we played really good defense, as well as in the start of the second half. But at the end of the game, we started to foul too much, and they got a lot of free throws. We played defense well for the first 30 minutes of the game, but they got a lot of free throws in the last 10 minutes, and that hurt us.”
During the game at USU, the score was tied at 53-53 with only five minutes left to go. The Wildcats, however, shot only 24 percent from the floor in the second half, going 14-24 at free-throw attempts. Bamforth said he recognized the factor of steady play to the finish and time for team development.
“We’re just continuing to get better,” he said. “It’s going to be a slow process . . . we have the potential of getting better and we show good signs in stretches when we play well. But we can’t even take that. We just have to play better for longer periods of time. Other than that, we’re just going to keep getting better and take the good things we did against Utah State.”
WSU was able to cut its season average of team turnovers in half. In the first two games of the season, the Wildcats turned the ball more than 16 times per game. Against the Aggies, WSU committed only eight turnovers.
The Flyers from UD currently have an overall record of 4-1 and are riding a three-game winning streak.
“They’re actually really good,” said Bamforth, concerning the Wildcats’ upcoming opponents. “It’s going to be a tough game for us in a tough environment. We’ve heard they have a lot of talented players. . . . We know it’s going to be tough.”
With the final match of their three-game road trip, the Wildcats look to grab a big win to bring momentum back home to Ogden.
“Playing away is a lot tougher,” Bamforth said. “You’re out of your comfort zone, and you’re not used to the court or the basketballs they use, and everything is different, but it helps you. I think if you can play well on the road, you can play well at home, so that’s what we’re trying to work on, and I hope we can do that.”
Following the match against UD, the Wildcats will play three straight home matches against Utah Valley University, the University of California, Irvine and Brigham Young University.