Friday , March 11, 2016 - 11:07 PM
RENO, Nev. — None of Jeremy Senglin’s 31 points were more important than the three he made with 11 seconds remaining in regulation Friday.
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“I practice a lot of those shots with my coaches and it just felt good,” Senglin said of his step-back 3-pointer. “A lot of my shots felt good today and that one happened to go in.”
Senglin also knocked down two 3-pointers in the overtime period, one of which was another step-back, and stole UND’s final inbounds pass to end the game.
“You gotta have guys who have some toughness and have some fight. And our guys have some toughness and they have some fight, and they never say die,” WSU head coach Randy Rahe said.
“That's what we did tonight ... real excited for these guys to get to play tomorrow night,” he said.
The Hawks had a chance to win the game with 11 seconds left and the ball, but Weber big man Kyndahl Hill came up with a big block on Carson Shanks at the buzzer to prevent the potential game-winning shot.
“They had some momentum going on there at the end of the game, and Jeremy's shot gave the momentum back to us,” Rahe said. “The shot was terrific, but our defense at the end of regulation was critical. Our guys did a great job defending them. They had 11 seconds to score, they don't usually need that much, and our defense there was critical.”
Junior guard Quinton Hooker led North Dakota with an impressive performance. Hooker dropped a game-high 38 points on 19 shots, shooting a perfect 14-of-14 from the free throw line.
“Hooker's been doing that for them for a long time. He's a really good player. But I like our guy pretty good too,” Rahe said, referring to the battle between Senglin and Hooker.
“I didn't see it as a battle, they're just playing. But now that you look at it, what both guys did was pretty amazing,” he said.
The game was neck and neck in its entirety, featuring 10 ties and eight lead changes. Neither team led by more than six points.
Joel Bolomboy recorded his 25th double-double of the season with 17 points and 19 rebounds, and McKay Cannon chipped in 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting from downtown.
“I'm just trying to show up every game and play my best, and whatever happens, happens,” Bolomboy said. “I don't really focus too much on getting points and rebounds, I just go out there and compete and everything else takes care of itself.”
Weber State fired at will from beyond the arc, going 14-of-36 from 3 while North Dakota shot only 3-of-8 from downtown.
The Wildcats struggled once again from the free-throw line, finishing 13-of-22 while the Hawks shot 21-of-30 from the stripe, preventing Weber from putting the game away sooner.
Weber State will face second-seed Montana Grizzlies at 6:45 p.m. in Saturday’s championship game. Montana defeated Idaho 81-72 in its semifinal game led by Martin Breunig’s 22 points.
The title game will air on ESPNU and stream on the WatchESPN app.
Both of MacCool’s Restaurant locations at 2510 Washington Blvd., Ogden, and 855 West Heritage Park Blvd., Layton, will host a watch party for Weber State fans.
Contact sports reporter Brandon Garside at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @BrandonGarside and on Facebook.com/BrandonGarsideSE.
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