homepage logo

Spirited 2nd half not enough as Weber State falls 64-52 at Cal Baptist

By Brett Hein - Standard-Examiner | Dec 7, 2022
1 / 2
Weber State forward Dillon Jones (2) drives against a Cal Baptist defender Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022, in Riverside, Calif.
2 / 2
Weber State player Dyson Koehler looks to pass against Cal Baptist on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022, in Riverside, Calif.

Weber State men’s basketball went to Riverside, California, with five games and 22 days left in nonconference play, a focus first-year head coach Eric Duft said he’s now giving the team as they prep for Big Sky basketball.

After a flat, uninspiring blowout home loss to Utah Tech, the Wildcats looked entirely lost offensively in the first half Wednesday in a road game against an emerging Cal Baptist team.

But WSU turned in a spirited, focused effort in the second half to reignite some hope for the development of their youth and inexperience as conference play approaches. Dillon Jones caught fire for Weber State early in the second half, but CBU reserve guard Scotty Washington answered with some flames of his own to lead the home Lancers to a 64-52 victory in Riverside, California.

“Overall, I think we grew a lot defensively these last two days. We have really hammered the defensive part of it, changed our ball-screen coverage a little bit and I thought that really helped us tonight,” WSU head coach Eric Duft said. “I’m proud of our guys’ effort, we just have to keep grinding and playing with some confidence.”

Weber State (2-7) trailed 31-15 at halftime, struggling with the interior size of the Lancers led by 7-foot Georgetown transfer Timothy Ighoefe. WSU played good defense in the first half, the best of the season by Duft’s estimation, but it was undone by giving up 11 offensive rebounds and committing nine turnovers.

But Steven Verplancken Jr. and Jones hit consecutive 3s out of halftime, setting up Jones to score a quick 10 points after the break. Big man Alex Tew threw down a putback dunk, Jones followed his own miss for a bucket, then picked the pocket of CBU (6-4) guard Taran Armstrong and was fouled in transition going the other way.

When Jones converted his free throws, Weber had cut it to 46-38 with 10:36 left, scoring 23 points in the first 8 1/2 minutes of the frame after managing only 15 in the entire first half.

Jones scored a season-high 22 points with 17 coming after halftime, shooting 7 of 13 from the field and 3 of 5 from the 3-point line while adding five rebounds and four steals.

For all the struggles of the game, Weber was keeping CBU off the glass and only turned it over three times after halftime, and it seemed the Wildcats might make a game of it.

That’s when the wing player Washington, who was barely on the scouting report, changed the game. With Armstrong and Utah transfer Riley Battin in check, and post player Hunter Goodrick managed after an effective first half, it was Washington hitting four straight shots, including two 3s, to help the Lancers push the lead back toward 15 points.

Washington scored 17 of his 18 points after halftime, shooting 7 of 7 overall and 3 of 3 from deep in the second half.

“That’s what you’ve got to have though in college basketball. This was a physical, physical game and you’ve got to have guys who can jump up and make shots. We’re struggling with that right now,” Duft said.

WSU ultimately outscored CBU 37-33 in the second half. Verplancken had seven points and Zahir Porter added six on a 6-of-6 mark from the foul line late in the game. Tew added eight rebounds and four assists.

Dyson Koehler started in place of Junior Ballard, totaling four points, one assist and one steal in 23 minutes. Ballard scored five points in 10 minutes off the bench.

Ighoefe totaled seven points, 12 rebounds and four blocks for CBU.

Weber State returns home to host Division II squad Saint Martin’s (8-1) on Saturday.


Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter.

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)