UC Irvine (4-5) at Weber State (3-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 8, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dee Events Center (12,000) -- Ogden, Utah. Television: None. Home Record: UCI 3-0, Weber State 2-0. Away Record: UCI 0-4, Weber State 1-2. Neutral Record: UCI 1-1, Weber State 0-0. Conference Record: UCI 0-0, Weber State 0-0. Series Record: Weber State leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Weber State Wildcats continue their three-game home stand on Saturday night when they do battle with the UC Irvine Anteaters in a non- conference tilt at Dee Events Center.
It's been an up-and-down start to the season for UCI. After winning three of its first four games, the team fell into a four-game slide before snapping out of it on Tuesday night with a dominating 94-52 win over San Diego Christian. The Anteaters have yet to find any success away from Irvine however, losing all four road matchups so far.
Weber State hasn't been very busy on the young season with just five games over the course of nearly a month. The Wildcats have won back-to-back games. beating Dayton on the road (62-61) and Utah Valley at home (89-56) to move above .500 (3-2).
The Wildcats lead the all-time series with the Anteaters, 2-0, with the last matchup coming during the 1983-84 season.
After failing to score more than 65 points in any of its previous five games, UCI exploded in the 42-point victory over San Diego Christian by making 56.9 percent of its field goal attempts, and its point total could have been even higher had it put together better showings from beyond the arc (5-of-17) and at the foul line (15-of-31). All 13 Anteaters who saw action in the game scored, paced by 14 points by Adam Folker on 7-of-8 shooting. Chris McNealy came off the bench to net 11 points, and Mike Best and Travis Souza contributed 10 points apiece. Despite the erratic nature of UCI's season so far, overall it has been impressive at both ends of the floor, making nearly 45 percent of its field goal attempts for 75.3 ppg, while holding opponents to a lowly 35.5 percent shooting. Daman Staring leads the way with 13.3 ppg, but he's been as inconsistent as his team, scoring 25 points twice while producing fewer than 10 points four times. While no one else averages double digits in the scoring column, six players tally between 5.1 and 9.4 ppg.
Weber State's offensive numbers (.479 field goal percentage, 76.6 ppg) are skewed by the fact that it has generated a lofty 99.5 ppg in two home games and just 61.3 ppg in three road bouts. The Wildcats were on the mark on Wednesday night in the win over Utah Valley, making nearly 55 percent of their field goal attempts while putting together a nearly perfect night at the foul line (15-of-16). Kyle Tresnak had a big day down low, tallying 20 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots. Scott Bamforth drained 4-of-5 shots from beyond the arc en route to 18 points, while Frank Otis chipped in with 14. Joel Bolomboy came off the bench and logged 10 points and eight boards. Davion Berry shot just 4-of-12 for eight points in the win, but he is still the team's leading scorer with 13.2 ppg. Bamforth puts up 12.0 ppg and Tresnak (9.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg), Otis (9.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and Bolomboy (8.2 ppg, 8.0 rpg) are all essential pieces to the puzzle in the WSU frontcourt.
UCI has enough scoring talent to keep up with the Wildcats, but its inconsistency this season does not bode well going on the road, especially against a Weber State team that has been so dominant on its own court.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Weber State 87, UC Irvine 75
12/08 10:35:20 ET