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Weber State basketball: Wildcats stifle Idaho State in 2nd half for 78-61 win

By Brett Hein - | Jan 17, 2022
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Weber State's Dyson Koehler, right, blocks a dunk attempt from Idaho State's Malik Porter on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, at Reed Gym in Pocatello, Idaho.
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Weber State center Dontay Bassett, right, shoots over Idaho State center Brayden Parker (25) on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, in Pocatello, Idaho.
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Weber State guard JJ Overton (24) slices to the hoop past Idaho State's Malike Porter (3) in a game Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, in Pocatello, Idaho.
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Weber State guard Zahir Porter dribbles the ball against the defense of Idaho State's Tarik Cool (2) on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, at Reed Gym in Pocatello, Idaho.
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Weber State forward Dillon Jones (2) battles for a rebound with Idaho State's Jared Rodriguez on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, in Pocatello, Idaho.
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Weber State guard Koby McEwen (15) drives the ball against Idaho State's Austin Smellie (5) on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, in Pocatello, Idaho.

After a choppy first half where Idaho State seemed to win every 50-50 ball, caused problems on the offensive glass and the basketball often caromed all over Reed Gym due to steals or sloppy play, Weber State men’s basketball took firm control after halftime.

The Wildcats held the Bengals without a field goal for a stretch of more than 8 minutes in the second half, Seikou Sisoho Jawara caught fire and Weber State buried Idaho State 78-61 on Monday night in Pocatello, Idaho.

Idaho State (3-12, 1-5 Big Sky) worked a 30-30 halftime deadlock by grabbing eight offensive rebounds for 10 second-chance points. But Weber State (12-5, 5-1) came out of the locker room with renewed energy.

“We had two major things at halftime: rebounding and turnovers. We turned it over eight times in the first half and, when we didn’t turn it over, we got really good shots,” WSU head coach Randy Rahe said. “Our guys really took care of it in the second half.

“We were really excited to play, it’s a bit of a rivalry game, and I thought we played a little frantic. Not as smart as we’ve been playing. We had stupid over-the-back fouls, loose with the ball, just silly things I thought were out of character. But we squared it up in the second half and played with a lot more composure.”

The Wildcats forced three turnovers in the first two minutes took the lead. After ISU’s Jared Rodriguez scored in the post to make it 34-32 with 17:40 left, WSU stifled the Bengals at all fronts and held them without a field goal until there was 9:25 left. Idaho State scored 17 points in the first 15:15 of the half before increasing the number of possessions with fouls and full-court presses.

Sisoho Jawara co-led the Wildcats in scoring with fellow guard Koby McEwen, each scoring 23 points. They jumpstarted the decisive rally with a pair of 3-pointers each.

Dillon Jones drove for an old-fashioned three-point play, then drove and kicked to Sisoho Jawara in the corner for a 3-pointer. After a big block from Dyson Koehler, Sisoho Jawara pulled up in transition and swished another 3 on the next possession.

That capped a 17-2 run and WSU held a 53-39 lead. McEwen later hit a 3, then converted two free throws after being fouled on another deep attempt, leading to a 63-47 advantage with 4:47 left.

Sisoho Jawara and McEwen combined to shoot 9 of 16 from the 3-point line.

Dontay Bassett got his second consecutive start at center, netting 14 points that included three dunks, adding two rebounds and two blocks, and providing a scoring punch in the middle.

JJ Overton totaled 11 points and seven rebounds, including a half-opening hammer over ISU center Brayden Parker to open the second half, and Dillon Jones led both teams with 11 rebounds.

Tarik Cool totaled 18 points to lead Idaho State, shooting 7 of 14; all other Bengals shot 14 of 47. Liam Sorensen added 10 points.

After ISU had a 10-0 advantage on second-chance points in the first half, WSU claimed that margin in the second half at 7-2. The Wildcats held ISU to 34.4% shooting for the game.

Zahir Porter scored two points, WSU’s only bench points, but was a team-high plus-16 in the plus-minus ledger. Freshman center Alex Tew had four rebounds and three blocks in 12 minutes, battling foul trouble, and Koehler claimed four rebounds and a block in 16 minutes.

The same two teams hit the floor at the Dee Events Center at 7 p.m. Thursday for a rematch.

EWU 56, WSU 52

Momentum came to a halt Saturday for Weber State women’s basketball, dropping the second of two road games on a trip to play two struggling teams, losing at Eastern Washington to give the Eagles their first win over a Division I opponent this season.

WSU (7-9, 3-4 Big Sky) committed 21 turnovers through the first three quarters and struggled to score. Emma Torbert book-ended an extended 17-10 run with 3-pointers that made it 48-48 with 3:30 left, but the Wildcats couldn’t get enough clean looks down the stretch and EWU made its free throws to seal the win.

Daryn Hickok led WSU with 17 points.

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