Northern Arizona (5-11) at Weber State (11-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 17, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dee Events Center (11,500) -- Ogden, Utah. Television: None. Home Record: NAU 3-3, WSU 6-1. Away Record: NAU 1-7, WSU 5-2. Neutral Record: NAU 1-1, WSU 0-0. Conference Record: NAU 2-4, WSU 6-0. Series Record: Weber State leads, 69-26.
GAME NOTES: Tied for the top spot in the Big Sky Conference standings, Weber State aims to remain perfect in league action as it entertains the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks on Thursday night at the Dee Events Center.
The Wildcats, who have the best overall record in the conference at 11-3, are locked up with Montana for first place with a 6-0 mark versus the rest of the Big Sky. The team last took the floor on Monday night against Idaho State and secured a 70-54 win, the seventh in a row and the 10th in the last 11 outings overall for WSU.
As for the Lumberjacks, they are one of four teams tied at 2-4 in Big Sky play, just ahead of Northern Colorado which is in the basement with a record of 1-5. The team has been tripped up in three straight games and six of the last seven, bowing to Portland State on the road last Saturday in a 79-74 final.
With respect to the all-time series, Weber State owns a 69-26 advantage over the 'Jacks, posting a 41-7 mark in Ogden thanks in part to a current run of eight straight wins against NAU overall.
Northern Arizona shot an impressive 56.4 percent from the floor against the Vikings last Saturday at the Stott Center, yet the Lumberjacks still found a way to suffer the five-point loss. Gabe Rogers scored 17 points, leading four starters in double figures, followed by Gaellan Bewernick and Max Jacobsen with 14 points apiece and DeWayne Russell had 10 for the visitors. NAU ran out to a seven-point lead less than two minutes into the meeting, but in the end the team's 18 turnovers were too much to overcome. Through 16 games, Russell paces the program in scoring with 16.2 ppg, and he is also tied for the team lead with 58 assists in an effort to get his teammates involved in the action. Rogers checks in with another 14.4 ppg, but shooting only 31.6 percent from the floor, including 27.7 percent behind the 3-point line, has not helped matters.
Idaho State, a team that had won just three games heading into this week, didn't stand much of a chance against one of the top programs in the Big Sky as Weber State took control and rolled to a 16-point road win in Pocatello. Scott Bamforth accounted for a game-high 17 points and Davion Berry added 16 of his own, as both shot 3-of-6 behind the 3-point line, the team finishing at 10-of-20 out on the perimeter. In their six conference bouts, the Wildcats have outscored the competition by more than 16 ppg, shooting 51.4 percent from the floor, which includes an impressive 45.7 percent on the outside. Doing a good bit of the damage is Bamforth (16.0 ppg) who has connected on half of his 36 attempts beyond the arc, and is also a near-perfect 22-of-23 at the free- throw line. Berry and Kyle Tresnak add plenty of scoring support with 12.8 ppg each.
These two teams are moving in different directions right now and unless NAU is able to catch lightning in a bottle, expect the 'Jacks to land in the loss column yet again.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Weber State 76, Northern Arizona 61
01/17 10:33:14 ET