Men's basketball blows first half lead in loss to USU

blah blah  (Kaitlyn Johnson / The Signpost)
Senior James Hajek (center) looks on in disbelief during the Wildcats’ season-opening loss to Utah State. The Wildcats blew an 18-point halftime lead, as they were held to only 14 points in the second half.
(Kaitlyn Johnson / The Signpost)

The Weber State men’s basketball team started off its season with a 72-61 loss at Utah State University, extending their losing streak at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum to 10 games.

The last time the Wildcats won in Logan was on December 7, 1993 when Weber State topped Utah State 87-86.

The Wildcats got off to a hot start in the first half,  holding the lead for the entire 20-minute period and went into halftime with an 18-point lead. When the Wildcats came back onto the court for halftime, their shots began to come up short as they only scored six points through the first 10 minutes of the half. In that time, WSU was 1-10 from the field while Utah State went on a hot streak, shooting 8-14 from the field to tie the game at 53-53.

After Utah State took the lead, the Aggies ran away with the win as they extended their lead to 15 points before the game ended with a score of 72-61.

Junior Joel Bolomboy dunks the ball in the Wildcats' loss to Utah State Friday night.   (Kaitlyn Johnson / The Signpost)
Junior Joel Bolomboy dunks the ball in the Wildcats’ loss to Utah State Friday night. Bolomboy scored 12 points against the Aggies.
(Kaitlyn Johnson / The Signpost)

“It’s obviously a tale of two halves,” said WSU head coach Randy Rahe. “They did to us in the second half what we did to them in the first half. We got a young basketball team and we got to learn a valuable lesson that you got to play both halves.”

Weber State dominated on offense (.577 shooting percentage) and defense (23 rebounds) during the first half, but fell apart in the second half as they shot .174 from the field and pulled down 13 rebounds. The Wildcats were outscored 43-14 in the second half as they lost their season-opener for the fifth time in the last seven seasons.

“We came out aggressive in the first half. Ready to play, hyped up,” said sophomore Jeremy Senglin. “And I think that some of us let that blowout get in our heads so we came out not too aggressive (in the second half).”

Senglin led the Wildcats with a team-high 14 points in the loss, but also led the team with a game-high eight turnovers. The Wildcats also had two players come up just short of a double-double in the loss. Junior Joel Bolomboy scored 12 points and pulled down nine rebounds while sophomore Kyndahl Hill had nine points and eight rebounds against the Aggies. Richaud Gittens finished second on the team in scoring with 13 points, while also pulling down seven rebounds and leading the team in assists (3) and steals (3). After the game, Gittens echoed the sentiment that the team did not perform as well as they should have in the second half.

“We just didn’t come out aggressive enough. Plain and simple,” Gittens said. “It’s a learning curve for us, and I guarantee you this won’t happen again. We will learn from this and we will get better from this.”

The Wildcats (0-1) return home on Monday night as they host Presentation College (2-0) for their 2014 home opener. The men’s basketball game will take place at 7 p.m. in the Dee Events Center following the women’s basketball game against Bristol University.