Saturday , February 03, 2018 - 10:08 PM
The Wildcats (15-7, 8-2 Big Sky) held the Lumberjacks (4-20, 1-10) to 37 percent shooting from the field while shooting 60 percent themselves.
“Our guys came ready,” WSU head coach Randy Rahe said. “I thought we kept them out of transition right away and then we kept them out of the paint.”
Sophomore guard Jerrick Harding led all scorers with 29 points on 14 shots. A total of four Wildcats scored in double figures with senior guard Dusty Baker adding 17 points, six assists and five rebounds on 5 of 7 shooting from deep.
Senior guard Ryan Richardson also contributed all over the floor with 16 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Junior center Zach Braxton had limited touches but made all five of his shots for 10 points and five rebounds.
The 3-ball wasn’t falling for the Wildcats early, but they found success inside to build a first-half as high as 20 points.
The Lumberjacks chipped away with penetrating guards that made layups and occasionally drew fouls that resulted in a 13-5 run to cut the deficit to 39-27 at halftime.
Coach Rahe made sure his team wouldn’t let up the rest of the way.
“We talked about it pretty harshly in the locker room about how we were not going to let our foot off the accelerator,” Rahe said. “I thought in the first five to nine minutes of the second half, we really defended and rebounded well.”
The jets were on full blast in the second half for the Wildcats, who shot 50 percent from deep in the period to extend the lead to as high as 41 after a 16-0 run.
Richardson scored the first five points of the second period to get the ball rolling for WSU. Normally, the senior's attempts come from the 3-point line but only two of his seven makes were from outside the arc.
“(The Lumberjacks) were running at him because he’s been shooting the ball at such a high level,” Rahe said. “Ryan has added that to his game this year, where he can bounce it and make plays and get to a shot. I thought he gave us that jump start we needed.”
In two games against NAU this season, WSU never trailed and won by a combined 72 points.
The Wildcats maintained their second-place position in the Big Sky standings with the win. Idaho is one game behind WSU in third place.
Weber State returns home to the Dee Events Center for a pair of games next week against North Dakota and Northern Colorado.
Contact sports reporter Brandon Garside at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @BrandonGarside and on Facebook.com/BrandonGarsideSE.
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