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.