Senior night victory over the Vandals

Wildcat center Alex Tew drives inside against Idaho forward John Harge. Tew leads the team in blocks with 14 this season.

Weber State University’s men’s basketball beat the University of Idaho 67–53 on Feb. 25 at the Dee Events Center in a senior night victory.

“We wanted to get third place wrapped up,” Wildcat head coach Eric Duft said. “We wanted to do it home. We wanted to do it in front of our fans.”

Weber State guard KJ Cunningham started off the night’s scoring by hitting a long 2-pointer right before the shot-clock sounded. Vandal guard Divant’e Moffitt responded by drawing contact off forward Dillon Jones and making two foul shots.

Hitting inside, Idaho forward Nigel Burris gave the Vandals their largest lead of the night. After getting blocked on his first attempt, Wildcat center Alex Tew scored to tie the game. Cunningham then created a gap by making a 3-pointer.

Idaho regained a lead after guard Trey Smith hit a corner 3-pointer. Wildcat center Handje Tamba then made a hook shot, putting Weber State up 14–13. Fighting for control, Tew dunked off a feed from Dillon Jones.

With 10 minutes left in the first half, Idaho guard Yusef Salih hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 16. Weber State forward Dyson Koehler responded with a 3-pointer of his own, after which Weber State outscored Idaho 9–7, ending the half up 28–24.

The Wildcats started the second half with a 7–0 run. Though a layup from Idaho forward Isaac Jones stopped the run, Weber State’s momentum survived. The Wildcats scored 9 points before Idaho made their next field goal. With 10 minutes left in the second, Dillon Jones hit a 3-pointer to put Weber State up by 16 points.

Driving inside from the corner, Dillon Jones threw a one-handed slam. Wildcat guards Steven Verplancken Jr. and Junior Ballard hit from beyond the arc to push Weber State’s lead to 21 points with under five minutes left. Toward the end of the game, the Wildcats pulled their starters out with 1:20 left, solidifying the win.

Dillon Jones led Weber State in points with 21, rebounds with 14 and assists with four. Verplancken was the second-leading scorer with 14 points. Although the Vandals are typically known as a high-scoring team, Idaho’s only player with double-digit scoring figures was Isaac Jones.

With senior guards Zahir Porter and Ballard being celebrated, the game marked the Wildcats’ final matchup at home this season.

“I like the support that we had all year,” Ballard said. “Fans, cheerleaders, little kids, like whoever — we felt the love.”

Weber State hit the road to Flagstaff, Arizona, to take on Northern Arizona University on Feb. 27.

As the bracket currently stands, the Wildcats will play Sac State during the first game of the Big Sky conference tournament on March 6 at 8 p.m.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with the change in Weber’s bracket.