Weber State (9-3) at Southern Utah (5-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 10, 9:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Centrum (5,300) -- Cedar City, Utah. Television: None. Home Record: WSU 6-1, SUU 4-1. Away Record: WSU 3-2, SUU 1-5. Neutral Record: WSU 0-0, SUU 0-2. Conference Record: WSU 4-0, SUU 3-1. Series Record: Weber State leads, 22-6.
GAME NOTES: Tied for the top spot in the Big Sky Conference standings with Montana, the Weber State Wildcats turn their attention to one of the newcomers to the league as they challenge the Southern Utah Thunderbirds at the Centrum on Thursday night.
Since falling to BYU in the middle of December, the Wildcats have ripped off five straight wins, four of those coming against league foes. The most recent triumph was a 95-63 blowout against North Dakota last weekend at home, which means WSU has now posted victories in eight of the last nine outings overall.
Meanwhile, the Thunderbirds have a total of just five wins this season, but the good news is that three of those have come in league play. However, the last outing for SUU was on Monday night at Sacramento State and the team was taken out by the Hornets by a final of 64-59 in front of an announced crowd of just 405. The setback snapped a brief two-game win streak by the Thunderbirds.
Already in-state rivals, these teams are meeting for the 29th time, with the Wildcats owning a 22-6 advantage. The most recent meeting took place last season in Ogden, with WSU putting up a convincing 84-66 victory at home over the T'birds.
Weber State wasted little time conquering North Dakota in the most recent outing, shooting 64.0 percent from the floor in the first half and 55.9 percent overall. Kyle Tresnak accounted for a team-best 22 points, Davion Berry tallied 20, to go along with six rebounds, six assists and three steals, while Scott Bamforth and Gelaun Wheelwright responded with 19 and 13 points, respectively. Joel Bolomboy cleared a game-high 11 rebounds off the bench as the team posted a 46-26 rebounding advantage. Through four conference games, the Wildcats are scoring 80.2 ppg, shooting not only 53.5 percent from the floor but also 47.3 percent beyond the arc. The competition has generated a mere 59.8 ppg while hitting on 37.0 percent from the field, not to mention being out-rebounded by more than eight boards per contest. Bamforth's 15.5 ppg in conference play has him leading five players in double figures.
The Thunderbirds made a total of just eight field goals in the first half of their recent game with Sacramento State, but thankfully the hosts shot just as poorly, which left SUU with a chance to work for the win in the second half, but it simply wasn't meant to be. Jackson Stevenett refused to give up easily as he posted 24 points and 12 rebounds for the visitors, followed by Damon Heuir with 14 points, but the latter shot only 2-of-7 beyond the arc and was charged with seven of the unit's 16 turnovers. Stevenett, the leading scorer for the Thunderbirds in four of the last five games and seven times this season overall, accounts for 14.9 ppg and is also the top rebounder with 6.3 per game. Heuir, recently named the Big Sky Co-Player of the Week, checks in with 14.4 ppg and is first with 31 assists, but he has also coughed the ball up 46 times.
The wins that the Thunderbirds have picked up against new conference foes have certainly been a good sign for the team, but trying to take out one of the top squads in the Big Sky is another story entirely.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Weber State 79, Southern Utah 66
01/10 10:33:26 ET