Weber State basketball runs away from Dixie State 87-70, improves to 6-0
Saturday night’s trip to St. George had many markings of a trap game for Weber State: coming off a 4-0 swing to the East Coast, a handful of guys hampered with the flu, against a one-win Dixie State team after a quick break for Thanksgiving.
But Koby McEwen, Seikou Sisoho Jawara and a hassling defense turned away that notion. Weber State outscored DSU 54-35 over the final 24 minutes to win 87-70 and improve to 6-0 on the young season, winning the first-ever Division I matchup between the programs.
“I’ll just be honest, we didn’t play our best,” WSU head coach Randy Rahe said. “We never really had a lot of practice time like you normally would, so it felt a little off … but we found a way to put together enough to pull away.”
Freshman Noa Gonsalves keyed a short spurt that put the Trailblazers up 19-16 midway through the first half. That was the home team’s largest lead of the frame and, ultimately, the game.
Dancell Leter, who led Dixie State with 17 points on the night, scored seven straight in a stretch that put his team up 35-33 with 4:06 left in the first half. That was the last time DSU would lead.
After JJ Overton scored six straight, including draining his only 3-point attempt of the night, McEwen hit a kick-out 3 and, with three seconds left in the half, drove to the bucket for a scoop shot to put Weber up 41-35 at the break.
“We weren’t guarding as well as we normally guard … it was kind of one of those back and forth, but we put three stops in a row and made that little push, and went into halftime with a little bit of a cushion,” Rahe said.
Sisoho Jawara opened things in the second half with a steal and transition layup. His jumper put Weber up 51-41 to start a six-minute sequence in which Weber State scored 23 points and put the game away.
During that stretch, McEwen got an old-fashioned three-point play, dished to Overton for a layup on a drive, and Sisoho Jawara hit a pair of 3-pointers.
Overton finished the rally with a steal and transition dish to Zahir Porter for a layup, making it 72-56 with 8:07 left. The Wildcats made 10 of 11 field-goal attempts in the rally and cruised to victory from there.
Sisoho Jawara led WSU with 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting, adding three assists and three steals. McEwen scored 17 points, and Overton and Porter each added 14. Cody Carlson rounded out a group of five double-digit scorers with 10 points and five rebounds, and Dillon Jones led all players in the game with nine rebounds and four assists.
Dixie State got a quiet 11 points from big man Hunter Schofield, who scored his team’s first seven points. Syracuse High alum Brock Gilbert, usually a high-assist man, totaled two points, two rebounds, two assists and five turnovers in 21 minutes. DSU committed 13 of its 18 turnovers in the second half.
“We wanted to pressure them. This is a team, if you let them pass the ball from A to B to C, they can dice you up a little bit. So we needed to get after them,” Rahe said. “And I thought we did that, at times, pretty good, especially when we kind of needed to step up. We stepped up and make some plays.”
Weber State shot 34 of 60 (56.7%) from the field and 9 of 20 (45%) from the 3-point line. The Wildcats are sixth nationally in effective field-goal percentage in five games against Division I opponents.
After nearly a month away from home, Weber State returns to the Dee Events Center to host a pair of Big Sky Conference games: Thursday, Dec. 2, against Northern Arizona and Saturday, Dec. 4, against Portland State.
“We’ll get home and get ready to go. Hopefully we’ll get a whole bunch of fans to come out on Thursday and help us christen the conference season,” Rahe said.