Rahe gets win 300, Weber State off to best start in 36 years with 68-58 victory over Green Bay
History converged on Weber State men’s basketball Sunday morning as the Wildcats concluded three games at the Jersey Mike’s Classic in St. Petersburg, Florida.
In his 16th season at the helm, having long past school and conference records for head coach wins, Randy Rahe picked up career win No. 300 as Weber State defeated Green Bay 68-58 behind the early, hot shooting of Seikou Sisoho Jawara.
And, with a 5-0 record, it’s the best start to a season at Weber State since the 1985-86 team started 10-0.
WSU went 3-0 at the event held at Eckerd College. Though it wasn’t a tournament with a bracket, it’s the first time the Wildcats have won three games at an in-season, multi-team event since winning the Gulf Coast Showcase in 2015.
“Somebody said last night, one of our guys said something about getting 300, and I was like, ‘no, we’re only on game No. 4, what the hell are you talking about?’ I didn’t really add it up,” Rahe said after Sunday’s game. “But I appreciate it. All that means is I’ve had great players, a great staff, great administration that allowed me to kind of do our thing, and great community of Ogden that really supports us. It takes a village to have success and we definitely have a village at Weber State.”
Emmanuel Ansong, Green Bay’s bouncy guard, gave Weber State problems early on the offensive glass and the Wildcats turned the ball over five times in the first seven or so minutes. Ansong led the Phoenix with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Sisoho Jawara was the lift the Wildcats needed. He entered the night 5 of 17 from 3 but canned his first five 3-point attempts Sunday, all in the first half.
He hit consecutive 3s to reach his fifth make of the half and was fouled on the final take. He made his free throw and JJ Overton scored on a drive to cap an 11-0 run and put Weber State up 33-23 with 5:06 left in the first half.
Sisoho Jawara led Weber State with 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting, adding three rebounds, three assists and two steals, and marked WSU’s third-different leading scoring for the three games in St. Petersburg.
Rahe also credited Sisoho Jawara for hassling Donovan Ivory, leading scorer for the Phoenix, on the defensive end. Ivory scored seven points while shooting 2 of 9 after scoring 27 and 19 in his team’s previous games in St. Petersburg.
Overton added 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting, giving him a 15.6 points-per-game average on a shooting clip of 69.4% through five games.
Green Bay used a 7-0 run early in the second half to cut the deficit to six, but WSU immediately answered. Dillon Jones scored a pair of buckets during a 12-3 run that pushed the margin back to 55-40 with 10:47 left. It never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
Jones finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds, his fourth double-double of the season, and is averaging 13.8 points and 11 rebounds through five games. He also chipped in three steals.
Koby McEwen struggled from the floor to six points but pitched in six rebounds. Zahir Porter added five points and three steals.
Weber State won four games away from home over the last week, starting with a road win Monday at Duquesne.
“I was really proud of our guys because they locked in, focused, and didn’t take anything for granted. They came every day to shoot around and to film work and wanted to know exactly what they had to do to have a chance to win,” Rahe said. “They really embraced the whole tournament thing, and it was really fun for them to do that and then have success. So it was a good week.”
Weber State now trips home to Utah but will play one more road game Saturday at Dixie State. The Wildcats return to the Dee Events Center for two conference games Dec. 2 and 4 to begin a string where they play six home contests over seven games.
WSU 59, OMAHA 45
The Weber State women’s team used a 21-5 third quarter to blitz Omaha and win at home Sunday afternoon.
WSU held Omaha to 18 points in the second half, and five of those came in the final two minutes, living up to the win-by-defense approach coach Velaida Harris is preaching. Omaha shot 30%, helping Weber overcome 24 turnovers.
Emma Torbert led the Wildcats (2-2) with 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks, including scoring WSU’s first eight points of the game. Daryn Hickok scored 11 points, and Laura Taylor and Kori Pentzer each scored nine points. Jadyn Matthews led all rebounders with 13.
Weber State next plays Friday at UC Davis.