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Weber State makes emphatic statement in win over Montana

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Montana’s 24-game Big Sky regular season win streak came to a crashing halt on Thursday night as they fell at Weber State by the final score of 87-63.

And the only aspect of this game that should surprise anyone is the margin of victory.

Randy Rahe’s Wildcats controlled proceedings from the start, shooting 58.2% and never trailing in a game they led by as many as 28 points. Kyle Tresnak led the way with 19 points and Weber State thoroughly frustrated Montana’s perimeter tandem of Will Cherry and Kareem Jamar, with the latter scoring just five points and turning the ball over four times before fouling out.

Weber State’s win pulls them to within a game of the Grizzlies in the race for the Big Sky, with the regular season champion receiving the honor of hosting the conference tournament. But unlike last season the Wildcats look more than capable of beating Montana in Missoula if it comes to that, even though last year’s group was led by eventual NBA lottery pick Damian Lillard.

Four players reached double figures tonight and on the season Weber State has three players averaging double figures, with four other players averaging between seven and nine points per contest.

Starters Tresnak, Davion Berry (16 points) and Frank Otis (14) reached double figures with sophomore guard Gelaun Wheelwright adding 14 off the bench. And with Scott Bamforth and Jordan Richardson also capable of putting points on the board, the question of who to take away becomes a tough one to answer for the opposition.

By comparison Montana has three players in Cherry, Jamar and Mathias Ward capable of carrying the load but their supporting cast doesn’t have the depth that Weber State enjoys.

Weber State leads the Big Sky in many of the major statistical categories both offensively and defensively, but that 0-2 weekend in Montana (losing at Montana State two days before dropping a 76-74 decision at Montana on January 26) is the reason why the Wildcats find themselves in the role of chaser with five games remaining.

Having home court in the Big Sky tournament is certainly something Weber State will shoot for in these last five games. But Thursday’s result is a clear indication that the venue for a possible third meeting won’t mean as much as it did last season.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

SMU won’t appeal tournament ban, Brown suspension

Associated Press
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Last month the NCAA announced that due to rules violations found in their investigation of the SMU men’s basketball program, the team would be banned from postseason play in 2015-16 and head coach Larry Brown would be suspended for the first nine games of the 2015-16 season. With a team led by seniors Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy and just one player (Keith Frazier) being the subject of the investigation, it was assumed that SMU would at the very least appeal the postseason ban.

Friday, the school announced that while it will appeal some of the penalties handed down by the NCAA to the men’s basketball and men’s golf programs they will not appeal the postseason ban or Brown’s suspension.

“After careful consideration, however, we will not appeal the NCAA post-season ban on men’s basketball or partial season suspension of Head Men’s Basketball Coach Larry Brown,” SMU president R. Gerald Turner stated in the release. “Although we regret the severe impact on our student-athletes, the simple fact is that the NCAA penalty structure mandates at minimum a one-year post-season ban for the level of misconduct that occurred, in our case, when a former staff member completed an online high school course for a prospective student-athlete, committing academic misconduct.

“In addition, should we appeal this matter, the lengthy process and uncertainty during this period could harm many aspects of the program. Coach Brown and his staff also agree that it is in the best interests of the program to accept these sanctions and move forward.”

Among the penalties the school will appeal (with regards to the basketball program) are the “duration of scholarship losses” and how long the recruiting restrictions placed on the program will last, and the vacating of games Frazier played in during the 2013-14 season.

This a tough turn of events for players who had nothing to do with the violations, as they see their opportunity to return to the NCAA tournament taken away. As a result of the school’s decision, SMU’s season will end March 9 following their regular season finale against Cincinnati.

Kevin Marfo commits to George Washington

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Kevin Marfo committed to George Washington on Friday evening, announcing his decision on Twitter.

“I am grateful and appreciative to all the schools that recruited me. But I will be spending the next four years at George Washington University,” he tweeted.

This caps a successful week for Mike Lonergan on the recruiting trail. On Tuesday, GW landed a commitment from Darnell Rogers, a 5-foot-3 point guard. He is the son of former GW guard Shawnta Rogers, the 1999 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. GW ends the week by adding a tenacious rebounder to a front court that graduates top rebounder Kevin Larsen after this season. Rogers and Marfo join power forward Collin Smith in the Class of 2016. Seton Hall transfer Jaren Sina will also be eligible in 2016-17.

He cut his list to 10 in August with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Boston College, UMass, Saint Joseph’s, DePaul, Rhode Island and Providence all making the cut along wit the Colonials. He later trimmed the list to five finalists: BC, Providence, DePaul, GW and Rhode Island.

The Worcester Academy (Mass.) forward played for BABC this summer in the Nike EYBL, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.  The 6-foot-8 Marfo is listed as the No. 148 overall player in the Class of 2016 by Rivals.