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Tied for second in Big Sky

As the regular season comes to a close, Weber State University’s men’s basketball came into the last stretch of their away games looking to solidify their standings for the upcoming Big Sky tournament. With a win and a loss, the Wildcats are tied for second place in the Big Sky conference with one game remaining.

Seikou Sisoho Jawara, #5, of Weber State takes the ball down the court against the Northern Arizona defense. (Weber State Athletics)
Seikou Sisoho Jawara of Weber State takes the ball down the court against the Northern Arizona defense.

The Wildcats started their road trip with a matchup against the Portland State Vikings on Feb. 24. Weber State lost 81–75, with the Vikings getting double-digit scoring from five players.

The Vikings started the scoring with a catch and shoot 3-pointer on the left wing from guard Ian Burke. Soon after, he made a layup to score 5 of Portland State’s first 9 points.

Guard Zahir Porter added 7 points and four rebounds in the first half for the Wildcats, starting off with a wide open, deep 2-point jump shot assisted by guard Koby McEwen.

The Wildcats took a 34–31 deficit into halftime.

For the Wildcats, guard Seikou Sisoho Jawara provided four of the team’s five total 3-pointers, all coming in the second half. His first came with 18:15 to go in the right corner after grabbing the offensive rebound.

The sharpshooting wasn’t exclusive to Sisoho Jawara, with Viking guard Khalid Thomas hitting five 3-pointers of his own for Portland State. With 11:26 left to go in the second half, the Wildcats had brought the game back within 3 points, but a confident 3-pointer from Thomas put Portland State back up 59–53.

McEwen led the Wildcats in scoring and assists, contributing 24 points, four assists and six rebounds. He hit a shot at the basket bumping up against two Portland state defenders to bring the game within 2 points with less than a minute to go.

The Vikings answered on the other end with an offensive rebound and layup from Portland State guard Michael Carter III, giving the Vikings a 79–75 lead with only 26 seconds left.

Portland State would hold onto that last lead, ending the game 81–75 to give Weber State their fifth loss in their last six games

Weber State had a chance to bounce back less than 48 hours later with a matchup against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks on Feb. 26.

The Wildcats didn’t let the opportunity slip through their fingers, as they held the lead for all 40 minutes of action.

“We had good energy today and I thought our guys responded really well and came out and played well on both ends of the floor,” WSU head coach Randy Rahe said. “We were efficient and patient on offense and made the defense work hard.”

McEwen set the tone early, hitting a three in transition to start the scoring. He was fouled on the shot and hit the free throw to take the lead they kept throughout.

McEwen followed up the Portland State game with another game as the leading scorer for Weber State, contributing 20 points, three rebounds and three assists.

The only player to reach double-digit scoring for the Lumberjacks was from their junior forward Nik Mains. Mains hit back to back threes with about four minutes left to bring Northern Arizona within 1 point, 28–27.

Weber State responded with 7 straight points to bring a 35–27 lead into halftime, punctuated by a deep 3 on the left side from Weber State forward Dillon Jones.

The Lumberjacks weren’t able to bring the game much closer, as Weber State outscored the Lumberjacks by 16 points in the second half.

A bright spot in the second half for Northern Arizona was forward Ajang Aguek. He came off the bench and made three dunks in the second half. He would tie his season high in scoring with 9 points.

Northern Arizona was limited to 49 points in the game, the lowest such mark for a Weber State opponent since Dec. 2.

“We’ve had a busy stretch and haven’t had a lot of practice time and didn’t play well in a few games,” Rahe said. “It will be good to get a few days off and get rested up for next week and the tournament.”

The Wildcats finish off the regular season at home on March 5 against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds. The Men’s Big Sky Tournament begins on March 9 in Boise, Idaho.

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