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Wildcat’s men’s basketball against Eastern Washington and University of Idaho

Steven Verplancken getting blocked by an Eastern Washington University player.

Inside: Wildcat’s men’s basketball against Eastern Washington and University of Idaho
Paw: WSU men’s basketball goes up against Eagles and Vandals

Sports Editor: Collyn Cowles

Weber State University’s recent performances have been a rollercoaster of emotions, showcasing both triumphs and challenges. In their first home game of Big Sky play, the Wildcats faced a tough battle against Eastern Washington, ultimately losing 80–78 at the Dee Events Center on Jan. 18.

The game saw remarkable moments, including Weber State’s strong first-half performance with a 56% shooting rate and eight 3-pointers. However, the second half presented difficulties, with the Wildcats going 3 of 15 from beyond the arc and shooting 33% from the field.

Despite facing a 13-point deficit midway through the first half, Weber State managed to lead 47–39 at halftime. Eastern Washington, however, mounted a comeback with a 12–0 run in the second half, eventually securing a 20–4 run and a 61–54 lead with 13:12 left to play. The Wildcats showed resilience, regaining the lead at 72–71 with 3:52 remaining, resulting in a tied game four times in the final minutes.

The statistical battle was intense, with Eastern Washington shooting 53% from the field compared to Weber State’s 45%. The Wildcats made 11 3-pointers, holding the Eagles to six, but struggled in rebounding, trailing 31–28, and conceding 36 points in the paint.

Steven Verplancken led the team with 16 points, while Dillon Jones achieved his 11th double-double of the season, reaching 1,000 career rebounds and tying Eddie Gill for first in steals in WSU history with 178.

“We had a six-game stretch where everything was going our direction. The last three games haven’t, and we’ll find out a lot about who we are on Saturday night,” Eric Duft, head coach, said.

Weber State faced a three-game losing streak, making their next game against the University of Idaho crucial. Fortunately, the Wildcats bounced back with an 88–65 victory at the Dee Events Center on Jan. 20.

“Really proud of our team, especially our veterans, and how they rallied the team,” Duft said. “Our leaders led tonight.”

The game saw Idaho taking an early 18–6 lead, but Weber State responded with a 10–0 run, eventually tying the score 35–35 at halftime.

The Wildcats dominated the second half, outscoring the Vandals 53–30 and ending the three-game losing streak. Weber State showcased a balanced offensive performance, shooting 50%, making 10 3-pointers, and outrebounding Idaho 37–21.

Blaise Threatt achieved a career-high with 24 points, while Dyson Koehler contributed a career-high 23 points. Dillon Jones secured his 12th double-double and became WSU’s all-time leader in career steals with 180.

Duft praised the team’s energy and resilience, highlighting key plays by Koehler, Threatt and Jones. The victory marked a significant turnaround for the Wildcats, who faced challenges in defending against Idaho’s early lead.

In the broader Big Sky context, Eastern Washington continued their success with a 79–67 win over Idaho State, maintaining a perfect 5–0 record, while Northern Colorado secured a blowout home win against Portland State, currently standing at 4–1 in league play. The competitive landscape within the conference remains dynamic, with teams striving for success in the ongoing season.

The Wildcats quickly turned around for yet another road game, taking on the University of Montana in Missoula on Jan. 22. Despite the recent challenges, the Wildcats aim to maintain their standard of play, acknowledging the tough schedule ahead.

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About the Contributors
Collyn Cowles, Sports editor
Sara Staker, Photographer

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