Roommates Jones, Koehler key Weber State to 67-44 rock fight win over Northern Arizona
OGDEN — Northern Arizona did its best to muck up Thursday’s game at the Dee Events Center.
Freshman roommates Dillon Jones and Dyson Koehler boosted Weber State men’s basketball in the first half, led the team in scoring, and Koehler posted his career scoring high as the Wildcats pulled away to beat the Lumberjacks 67-44.
“I tell Dyson all the time, you’re not coming home if you don’t play hard,” Jones joked.
Jones scored nine of Weber’s first 11 points in the contest. To cap a half of turnovers (NAU had 17 in the first half, WSU had 10), Koehler came off the bench and lifted the lid from the 3-point line, knocking down a pair of 3s to score 11 of Weber’s last 14 points of the half.
Weber State (7-0, 1-0 Big Sky) went into the locker room up 28-18.
“It definitely feels good to show what I can actually do on the stat sheet,” Koehler said. “But also, I don’t really care because if we’re winning, it’s fine by me.”
Jones finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds and five steals. Koehler added 15 points, six rebounds, two steals and made two of WSU’s four 3-pointers.
Jones praised Koehler’s work ethic to take advantage of player development in the summer after his transfer from Cal Poly, which he said leads to games like this during the season.
Northern Arizona (3-5, 0-1) began the second half with a turnover and it portended of things to come. Weber State’s combination of film scouting and defensive energy led to 16 steals — fourth-most in a game in program history — a slew of forced travels and bad passes.
Despite shooting 4 of 26 from deep and 20 of 56 overall — well-below averages that combined to rank top-10 nationally entering the night — Weber State continued to guard. NAU turned it over 11 more times in the second half for 28 total, while WSU did not commit a turnover after halftime.
“Sometimes you have to play the long game and we understand that as a team. As the struggles come, we just have to keep going,” Jones said. “We don’t let offense dictate what we do … our shots will fall, we know that.”
“I was really pleased with our defense,” WSU head coach Randy Rahe said. “We’ve got some toughness. It takes toughness to guard when shots aren’t going or guys get frustrated offensively … I think it says a lot about our team and I was hoping that’s who we were.”
After Weber State got up 16 with 14 minutes left, the Lumberjacks went on a 7-0 spurt sparked by a Mason Stark 3 to cut the deficit to single digits.
After a timeout, the Wildcats went on a 24-6 run over the next 10 minutes to bury the Lumberjacks, who shot just 16 of 48 on the night.
Koby McEwen, who finished with 13 points, hit a 3-pointer, threw down a one-handed hammer in transition after a Zahir Porter steal, and cleaned up a missed alley-oop dunk by JJ Overton that Porter threw from three-quarters court during the sequence.
Nik Mains led NAU with seven points. Star guard Jalen Cone came off the bench for the first time this season, shot 1 of 9 for four points, grabbed 10 rebounds and committed six turnovers.
Weber State next plays at home again, tipping off at 6 p.m. Saturday against Portland State. The Vikings picked up their first Division I win Thursday by beating Idaho State 63-55 in Pocatello.
NAU 83, WSU 79
Weber State women’s basketball led for 35 minutes, and as late as with 3:30 left, before giving up the lead and losing at Northern Arizona.
Daryn Hickok led WSU (2-4, 0-1 Big Sky) with 22 points and six rebounds. Jadyn Matthews totaled 21 points and nine rebounds.