Northern Arizona (12-16) at Weber State (16-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 1, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dee Events Center (12,000) -- Ogden, Utah. Television: None. Home Record: NAU 7-4, WSU 12-1. Away Record: NAU 4-10, WSU 4-8. Neutral Record: NAU 0-2, WSU 0-0. Conference Record: NAU 8-8, WSU 13-4. Series Record: Weber State leads, 73-26.
GAME NOTES: The Weber State Wildcats hope to wrap up the Big Sky Conference regular-season title tonight, as they host the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks at the Dee Events Center.
Setting the standard in the conference, the Wildcats are shooting for their 21st Big Sky Conference title, which would give them the right to host the league tournament starting on March 13. The team is an impressive 13-4 in conference play after posting a mere 3-5 mark in non-conference action, notching 12 wins in 13 home appearance since early November.
Weber State has won back-to-back decisions after losing consecutive outings versus Idaho State and Montana, with the most recent triumph coming two nights ago versus Sacramento State, 79-67.
As for the Lumberjacks, they enter the weekend in a four-way tie for fifth place in the standings as they sport a record of 9-8. Also in action on Thursday night, NAU managed to snap a three-game slide with a narrow 66-65 decision versus Idaho State on the road.
Weber State won the first meeting of the season in late January by a score of 76-67 in Flagstaff, which means the all-time series now numbers 73-26 in favor of the Wildcats who have won 12 straight matchups.
The fact that Quinton Upshur and Max Jacobsen were the only Lumberjacks to score in the first half against Idaho State two nights ago should have been a sign of things to come as the visitors lost by a single point in the waning moments. Upshur finished with a game-high 28 points as he converted a sizzling 8-of-11 behind the 3-point line, followed by Jacobsen with another 20 points and eight rebounds for a squad that shot just 42.9 percent at the free-throw line in the close call.
In conference games, where the 'Jacks have scored almost exactly the same number of points as the competition (1,171-1,172), Upshur carries the majority of the load on offense with his 17.2 ppg, thanks to a sensational 48.4 percent accuracy on the perimeter. Unfortunately, the team as a whole, while it is hitting 3-pointers at a 38.9 percent clip, is falling behind Big Sky opponents who have made good on 42.4 percent of their long-range chances.
Weber State scored the first points of the night against the Hornets and never looked back, converting 55.3 percent from the floor and outscoring the visitors by a 20-9 margin at the free-throw line in the 12-point decision. Davion Berry scored 20 points, leading four players in double figures, while Kyle Tresnak accounted for 18 points and Jeremy Senglin 13. Also scoring 13 points was Joel Bolomboy who paired that effort with a game-high 14 rebounds for the hosts.
Bolomboy takes his work in the paint very seriously, resulting in 12.2 rpg against the rest of the conference, but he has also shown that he can be a significant contributor in the scoring column as well with 9.1 ppg. Berry (19.9 ppg) and Senglin (11.1 ppg) use their perimeter prowess to make good on a combined 72 3-pointers over 17 games, just five fewer than all of the Big Sky foes combined at the moment.
Unless the 'Jacks are able to find the secret to beating Weber State in Ogden, something that happens very rarely these days, expect to see the Wildcats celebrating a crucial win tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Weber State 74, Northern Arizona 61
03/01 10:25:56 ET