Weber State basketball wants one back against North Dakota, also host UNCo

Wednesday , February 07, 2018 - 4:01 PM

OGDEN — After an unblemished three-game road stint, Weber State men’s basketball returns home to the Dee Events Center to host North Dakota and Northern Colorado this week.

The current five-game winning streak has put the Wildcats (15-7, 8-2 Big Sky) in second place in the Big Sky Conference, with a one-game lead over Idaho and four teams within three games or less.

Thursday night, the Wildcats will try to kick a four-game losing streak dating back two years against the North Dakota (8-15, 3-8), who, while near the bottom of the Big Sky standings, have been competitive against the top teams in the conference.

“This game is top priority,” senior guard Dusty Baker said. “We’re not thinking about any other big games. This one for sure, we really want to get, especially after the championship game last year. I always think about that game. It’s a game we have to have. We really want this one.”

The Fighting Hawks had undefeated Montana on the ropes at home last week before Kienan Walter missed a go-ahead 3-pointer and the Griz closed out for a 72-67 win.

The Hawks also beat North Dakota State on the road after beating Weber State, but have also lost three road games by 24 points or more and have yet to win on the road in conference play.

“They’ve got all the talent in the world,” WSU head coach Randy Rahe said. “They’re one of the more athletic teams. They’ve got some newer guys, and I think they’re just trying to become more consistent with their newer guys. That’s what it looks like to me. They’ve got all the pieces, they’ve proved that they can play with everybody.”

Junior guard Geno Crandall continues to lead UND with 15.6 points per game, including a 30-point performance against Northern Colorado in an overtime loss on the road.

Northern Colorado (15-9, 6-5) will look to get revenge after the Wildcats handed them their second home loss of the season in their last meeting in Greeley.

“We’re still going to come in hungry because they’re one of the better teams in the conference,” Baker said. “We know, especially with how Montana is playing, that we can’t drop any games. Every game we have to go 1-0.”

Since that loss to Weber, UNCo has won four of their last six games with senior Andre Spight lighting up the scoreboard. He’s averaged 27.3 points per game in those last six games.

Against Montana State, Spight set a school record and tied the Big Sky season record for points in a game with 41.

“You guard him hard and hope he misses,” Rahe said of containing the dynamic scorer. “That guy can hit more tough shots than probably anybody in our league. He doesn’t really care if he’s guarded. He can score at any level, it’s not just his shooting. He can get to the rim. He’s highly athletic and explosive.”

Weber State tips off against North Dakota at 7 p.m. Thursday and against Northern Colorado at 7 p.m. Saturday. Both games will be broadcast live on KJZZ TV and streamed via PlutoTV and WatchBigSky.com. Steve Klauke and Dave Patton will call the live radio broadcast on 1430 AM KLO.

Contact sports reporter Brandon Garside at bgarside@standard.net, on Twitter @BrandonGarside and on Facebook.com/BrandonGarsideSE.

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