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Wildcats’ claws crack the Centurions’ armor in a historic game

Weber State University’s men’s basketball team last played on Jan. 2 when Utah Valley came to Ogden. In the first of two non-conference games over the weekend, the Wildcats saw Yellowstone Christian College arrive in Ogden in what turned into a historic game for Weber State.

The Wildcats saw Yellowstone Christian College arrive in Ogden in what turned into a historic game for Weber State.
The Wildcats saw Yellowstone Christian College arrive in Ogden in what turned into a historic game for Weber State. Photo credit: Weber State Athletics

“We had two things we wanted to accomplish with this game and number one is we needed to play a game, we needed to play in a game situation to try and establish some timing and rhythm and get our game legs back. Second thing was to get some guys some minutes that deserved them,” Wildcats Head Coach Randy Rahe said.

The Centurions marched into Ogden prepared for a battle, but the game was decided by the end of the first half when Weber State held a 29-point lead.

The Centurions left the Dee after a 124—44 defeat at the paws of the Wildcats.

In a historic night for the Wildcats, the team buried 22 3-pointers, the most in a single game in school history.

“Anytime you see the ball go in the basket it helps your confidence. It was good to see the ball go in especially with the long layoff and how long we’ve been off and the few games we’ve played,” Coach Rahe said.

From the opening tip Wildcat big men, Dontay Bassett and Michal Kozak were on fire from beyond the arc. Bassett finished the game three of four and Kozak four of six from three-point range.

“That’s one of our strengths, we’re going to let them shoot it. Our big guys can shoot, we run an offense where if you don’t come out and guard them we’re going to shoot it, that’s part of our plan. If they’re open they’ve got the green light,” Rahe said.

Bassett put up 13 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out two assists on the night while looking dominant with his shooting touch.

“First thing I like about Dontay is he’s a great leader he talks and talks and talks, he’s a high energy guy, he loves to lead and he’s very selfless,” Rahe said.

Cody Carlson crashed the boards like a rebounding machine, reaching a near double-double of eight points and seven rebounds in the opening 15 minutes of the game. He finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.

David Nzekwesi caught fire off the bench from deep to end the first half, burying a 3-point bucket, and hitting another deep jumper to send the Wildcats to halftime.

Weber State held a 29-point lead going into the locker room at halftime by the score of 53—24.

Kozak drilled back-to-back threes, extending the Wildcat lead to 79—30 early in the second half.

KJ Cunningham caught and hammered home an alley-oop slam off a lob from Dillon Jones and minutes later another fast break leaping dunk from Cunningham broke triple digits for the Wildcat 100—35 lead with over seven minutes left to play.

Bringing the game home for Weber State was the Wildcat bench led by Darweshi Hunter. He dropped a team leading 17 points.

“He deserves to get worked in the rotation, I wanted to see what he has, and what he showed me is he’s a gamer, and when the lights come on he’s not afraid of anything, and he’s a very confident kid, and my goal is to get him into the rotation,” Rahe said of Hunter’s performance.

Hunter also finished second on the squad with five assists, while going perfect from beyond the arc drilling four of four three-pointers.

“It felt good, I haven’t been playing so it felt good to get shots up, I’m trying to work my way into the lineup, so when I get on the court try and make the best of it, and it starts on defense and the offense will come,” Hunter said.

The Wildcats hope to resume conference play Jan. 21 against Southern Utah at the Dee.

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