Excitement filled the Dee Events Center as the Weber State University men’s basketball team played its annual Purple and White Game. Both teams fought hard, and the new freshman recruits gained their first experience playing in front of a crowd.
“I thought they played good,” said senior Davion Berry of the freshmen. “They were maybe a little bit nervous. It was their first time playing in front of a crowd in a college atmosphere.”
The night began with a skill competition, pitting the two top shooters from both the men’s and women’s teams against one another. The game between the two squads was full of highlight dunks and tough physical play.
The purple team jumped out to a quick seven-point lead behind the play of Berry and freshman Kyndahl Hill.
The white team bounced back with a run of its own, a 6-2 run with strong inside play from senior center Kyle Tresnak. The team traded dunks halfway through the first period, as both freshman Richaud Gittens and sophomore Joel Bolomboy got above the rim.
“That was a point of emphasis,” Berry said. “Coach wanted us to make sure that we got the ball to Joel, just give him confidence. He has all the potential and all the moves to be a special player here. We just need to keep feeding him and get him confidence.”
The purple team pulled away in the latter part of the period, taking an 18-13 lead into halftime.
Berry led the purple team in points with six, including a perfect 4-4 from the free-throw line. Bolomboy added four points and three rebounds. Tresnak led the white team with six points and six rebounds.
Bolomboy and Tresnak had to guard each other the entire game. It was a physical matchup for them both.
“I think it helps me get better and, on the other side, it helps him get better,” Bolomboy said. “And when we come together on the same team, we are kind of unstoppable. It helps the whole team out, especially defensively. It’s hard to score on us when we are both on the same team.”
The white team came out hot to start the second half, climbing within two. Berry put on a show with his speed and athletic ability, scoring four straight give the purple team a 31-23 lead with three minutes to go in the period.
The white team wouldn’t be put away quietly, scoring the next four points off of two timely steals.
The purple team put more distance between it and the white team in the final minute with a three-point play from Bolomboy. Purple scored five of the final seven points in the period. The score after two was 38-31 in favor of the purple team. The teams continued with a four-minute overtime period.
Bolomboy continued his scoring in the overtime period, scoring the first five points for the purple team. The white team had multiple chances to get back in the game, but was unable to hold off the strong inside presence of the purple team. The purple won both periods and the overtime, with the final score of 52-43.
Bolomboy led all scorers with 20 points on 9-13 shooting. Berry finished with 18 points and two assists.
“It’s definitely been a while, to play in front of our fans that support us,” Bolomboy said. “It felt good. I was just out there playing, and when I was open I tried to dunk it. I try to dunk everything, really.”
Tresnak led the white team with 14 points and eight rebounds. Senior Jordan Richardson added seven points.
“I think we are on pace to where we need to be,” said head coach Randy Rahe. “We should be ahead of where we were last year, and we are. What I am really judging on right now is how hard we are playing, how tough we are playing, how together we are playing. There are some holes in the dyke. We will plug in those holes as we go and get better in some execution areas.”
The Wildcats will officially start the season on Nov. 8 when they travel down to Provo to face Brigham Young University. The Wildcats will have an exhibition game against Adams State University on Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. in the Dee Events Center.