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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 28, 10:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Hornets Nest (1,200) -- Sacramento, California. Television: None. Home Record: WSU 12-1, Sacramento 9-3. Away Record: WSU 8-4, Sacramento 4-9. Neutral Record: WSU 0-0, Sacramento 0-0. Conference Record: WSU 14-2, Sacramento 7-9. Series Record: Weber State leads, 34-4.
GAME NOTES: Winners of 11 straight over Sacramento State, the Weber State Wildcats get back to Big Sky Conference play on Thursday night as they drop in on the Hornets.
Weber State, which has now won at least 20 games for the fifth time in the last seven campaigns, is currently second in the Big Sky standings trailing only Montana with still several games remaining on the regular-season slate to possibly change that arrangement. Last weekend, the Wildcats took a break from conference play to challenge Oral Roberts and managed to squeeze out a 70-66 win on the road for their seventh consecutive victory.
As for the Hornets, they too went out of conference last Saturday in order to slip by UC Santa Barbara on the road in a 51-50 final. The victory snapped a two-game slide for a squad that is currently 7-9 in Big Sky play and still in the hunt to possibly finish as high as third in the standings.
The Wildcats won the first meeting of the season back in January by a score of 65-56 at home, which means the all-time series now numbers 34-4 in favor of Weber State.
The Wildcats trailed by as many as seven points in the first half against Oral Roberts in Tulsa last weekend, but after the break the visitors erupted for a staggering 68.2 percent shooting from the floor, including 7-of-11 beyond the arc, in order to steal the win. Kyle Tresnak scored a game-high 20 points, leading four starters in double figures, with Scott Bamforth following with 16, Jordan Richardson 12 points and Frank Otis 11, as the team finished at 54.2 percent accuracy from the floor.
Outscoring the competition by 15.0 ppg this season has been made all the more easier by the fact that Weber State leads the nation in both field goal percentage (.514) and accuracy from 3-point range (.428). Davion Berry paces the group with his 14.6 ppg and he is also tops with 90 assists and 32 steals, while shooting 43.5 percent out on the perimeter. Bamforth (12.8 ppg) is another one who is deadly accurate from the outside (.431), while Tresnak (12.2 ppg) is well aware of his strengths as he clears 5.7 rpg and has not even attempted a 3-pointer this season.
There were just three lead changes in the game between Sacramento State and UCSB last weekend, thankfully for the Hornets they were the ones on the positive side of the final change thanks to a game-winning layup by Konner Veteto in the final seconds. Veteto finished with 11 points and eight rebounds for the visitors, while Dylan Garrity and John Dickson both accounted for 12 points and Mikh McKinney another 11 for a team that somehow came out victorious despite shooting only 32.7 percent from the field.
The epitome of balanced scoring, the Hornets have four players averaging in double figures at the moment, but none putting up more than 13.2 ppg (Dickson) as the squad comes up with 66.4 ppg. McKinney checks in with 12.9 ppg as he shoots an impressive 43.1 percent beyond the arc, followed by Garrity (11.7 ppg) who is not only a clutch shooter from distance (.427), he is also by far the top passer for the group with 124 assists, almost twice as many as any one of his teammates at this stage.
With so much riding on these last few games of the regular season, neither one of these teams can take anything for granted. Weber State has to be sure that it takes advantage against weaker programs such as the Hornets, so this is no time to get soft.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Weber State 81, Sacramento State 65
02/28 10:34:00 ET