WSU to face Northern Iowa in CIT semifinals

(Photo By Tyler Brown) Scott Bamforth dribbles the ball in the game against Montana State Univeristy.
(Photo By Tyler Brown)
Scott Bamforth dribbles the ball in the game against Montana State Univeristy.

The Weber State University men’s basketball team will take on the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on Saturday night for a chance to play in the Tournament final.

Head coach Randy Rahe said he’s proud of the team and hopes it can turn in another good performance in its first road game of the tournament.

“We are really excited to still be playing,” Rahe said. “We’ve had such a fun season and are thrilled to be still playing.”

The Wildcats will look for their 30th win of the season and a chance to represent the Big Sky Conference in the final of a postseason tournament. UNI is coming into the game with a 21-14 record and a third-place finish in the Missouri Valley Conference.

The Panthers have racked up a few wins against some quality opponents this year, including Creighton University, St. Mary’s University and Wichita State University. Wichita State University made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. SMU also was in the NCAA tournament, and nearly upset the University of Memphis in its second-round game of the tournament.

Rahe said he expects Saturday’s game to be tough and knows UNI is a strong team that has the ability to challenge the Wildcats.

“Northern Iowa is a really tough basketball team and will be a great test for it, but we are really excited for the opportunity,” Rahe said.

UNI is coming off a 90-77 win over Bradley University earlier this week to secure its place in the semifinals. The Panthers had all five starters reach double figures in scoring and were led by Anthony James, who scored 21 points. Seth Tuttle nearly had a double-double for UNI with 19 points and nine rebounds.

WSU continues to set multiple school and Big Sky records. The 29 wins and the 35 games played are both school and conference records. The 17 home wins is also a WSU record. WSU also set a team record for most points scored in a season in Big Sky history.

Kyle Tresnak said this season on a whole has been great and the team has gone through a lot to get to where it is now. He said he is already proud to be a member of the team, regardless of what happens next.

“To be able to say that we’re the most successful team in Weber State history is just unreal, because Weber State has such a great history. To be on top of that — it’s mind-blowing.”

Tresnak also said the entire team has worked together to reach this point and that, while some players have set individual records recently, the main focus has been on the team, not individual achievements.

“We have a great group of guys in the locker room,” he said. “Everyone fights hard in practice every day; everyone just plays through whatever’s on their mind and brings it every day.”

Saturday’s game will be a bit of a homecoming for Rahe. He is from Bancroft, Iowa, which is about two and a half hours outside of Cedar Falls.

The winner of Saturday’s game will host the Tournament championship game on April 2.