Harding's record-breaking 46 lift Weber State past Montana State in overtime

Saturday , March 03, 2018 - 6:40 PM

Jerrick Harding made history Saturday afternoon in Bozeman, Montana.

The sophomore guard poured in 46 points in Weber State’s 95-92 overtime win at Montana State, putting his name on a school record and giving Weber State (20-10, 13-5 Big Sky) a win to close the regular season.

Harding’s 46 are the most points scored in a single game in Weber State history, topping Stan Mayhew’s 45 points against Utah State in 1977.

Harding is also the youngest player to reach 40 points at Weber State and the fourth total. Damian Lillard and Harold Arceneaux each reached the mark twice.

“What are you going to say? He had 46. That’s not bad,” WSU head coach Randy Rahe said after the game. “Not just 46, but 46 when they knew he had to go get points and they were giving him a lot of attention. That was a tough-minded effort today ... I’m glad he’s only a sophomore.”

The Kansas native shot 13 of 26 from the floor and 17 of 20 from the free-throw line. He also grabbed seven rebounds, the second most for WSU on the day.

He broke the record by knocking in two free throws with seven seconds left in overtime to put the Wildcats up 95-89.

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Weber State played from behind for most of the game, but never fell out of striking distance despite the Bobcats (13-18, 6-12) leading by as many as seven and for more than 29 minutes.

With Brekkott Chapman and Michal Kozak fouled out, Harding carried his team on his back to keep the game close. He scored 16 of the team’s 18 points in the final seven minutes of regulation and nine more in overtime.

MSU senior Konner Frey scored a putback with 15 seconds left, was fouled by Dusty Baker, and made his free throw to tie the game 76-76. Frey finished with 24 points.

Harding answered with a good look at a 3-pointer that went in and out. Ricky Nelson grabbed the rebound and made a 15-footer for a potential game-winner, but his shot came after the buzzer.

In a key overtime sequence, Harding hit a 3, then Nelson drove the baseline on the next possession for a reverse layup to put WSU up 87-81 with 1:07 left.

Harding and Baker each when 4 of 4 from the foul line in the final 40 seconds to seal the win.

Ryan Richardson added 16 points, and Zach Braxton totaled 11 points and 12 rebounds.

WSU struggled to connect on 3-pointers for its second straight game, shooting 7 of 24 from beyond the arc Saturday after shooting 2 of 11 Thursday. The Wildcats also allowed 18 offensive rebounds that led to 18 second-chance points.

The turnover battle went Weber’s way, forcing the Bobcats into 12 turnovers for 15 points while only giving up nine turnovers for five points.

“They beat us up in a few ways, but not on toughness,” Rahe said. “Our guys just fought like crazy. I was so proud of them. We’re running on fumes. Montana State came out and played probably their best effort game in last three weeks. They came out and they were on it.”

Weber State enters next week’s Big Sky Tournament as the No. 4 seed, facing the winner of No. 5 Northern Colorado and No. 12 Northern Arizona.

That first-round game tips at 3:35 p.m. MST Tuesday, March 6, in Reno, Nevada. The winner then plays Weber State at 3:35 p.m. Thursday inside the Reno Events Center.

“I want these kids to feel good about themselves,” Rahe added. “We lost a few there in a row, but it wasn’t for lack of effort or lack of togetherness or anything in our culture. They need to, and they will.

“It’s a little momentum going into Reno. You always want to have a little bit of that.”

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

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