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Weber State beats Saint Mary’s 61–57

Forward Dillon Jones (2) running down the court with the basketball as a Saint Mary’s player goes after the ball.

Kicking off the 2023-24 season with a 96–62 win over Benedictine University on Nov. 7 at the Dee Events Center, Weber State University’s men’s basketball team traveled to Moraga, California, for the first away game in the 2023 season to face off against Saint Mary’s College of California on Nov. 12.

After two quarters of play, the Wildcats upset No. 23-ranked Saint Mary’s 61–57. Junior forward Dillon Jones led the game in scoring and rebounding with a career high of 29 points and 10 rebounds. Jones also played all 40 minutes of this game to lead the Wildcats to victory.

“You know, I really thought going into the game if we play well then we have a chance, I really felt like our ball screen coverage is a strength of ours and if we executed and made a few shots we could have had a chance,” head coach Eric Duft said.

This victory was Weber State’s first win over a ranked opponent in 23 years.

Heading into halftime the Wildcats were down 37–26 and managed to come back from a 16 point deficit in the second half to stun the Gaels. Weber State went on a 22–4 run in the remaining 13 minutes of the game to take their first lead of the night.

Both teams shot a total of 40% from the field during the game. Saint Mary’s shot a total of 55 perfect in the first half but only 25% in the second half. The Wildcats shot 29% in the first half from the field and 50% from the field in the second half.

The Wildcats forced 9 turnovers in this upset and shot a total 9 of 11 from the free throw line.

On top of Jones’ 29 point performance, Steven Verplancken and Alex Tew each had 8 points and Dyson Koehler added 7 points to the stat sheet.

“Preparation meet opportunity tonight, these guys prepared and they’re good players so when it’s time to make the plays it was presented to them and it was their night to make them,” Jones said.

After starting the season out 2–0, the Wildcats will be now traveling to Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada, for the Atlantic Slam this Friday-Sunday. The Wildcats will face off against Garnder-Webb, Yale and Colgate.

After leading the Wildcats to a 2–0 start to start off the 2022-23 spring season, Jones was named one of the National Players of the Week. Jones is one of five players to have earned this award this last week.

Jones is the first Wildcat to earn National Player of the Week since Damian Lillard did it back in 2012. He’s also the first player to receive this honor since 2017. Jones was also named the Big Sky player of the week for the ninth time at Weber State.

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Collyn Cowles
Collyn Cowles, Sports editor

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