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Sisoho Jawara leads surge, Weber State tops Southern Utah 92-84

By Brett Hein - | Jan 24, 2022
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Weber State's Koby McEwen, center, rises for a shot as Southern Utah's Harrison Butler, right, defends on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, in Cedar City.
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Weber State guard Koby McEwen (15) sizes up the floor after a screen from Dontay Bassett, rear, as Southern Utah's Aanen Moody (2) and Jason Spurgin (14) defend on Monday, Jan. 24, 2022, in Cedar City.

Weber State men’s basketball tripped to Southern Utah with first place on the line Monday and the two teams locked in a close game for much of the first half.

Dontay Bassett scored eight early points for the Wildcats, and Dillon Jones scored eight straight to keep WSU in it after SUU briefly went up seven points.

Then Seikou Sisoho Jawara started his torrid shooting night to give Weber State the lead for good.

Sisoho Jawara scored eight straight to put WSU up 30-26, in what began a massive, extended run for the visitors, and Weber State went on to win 92-84 in its final Big Sky game in Cedar City.

“It was good for our guys to come in here and get a win like that. We had to fight hard,” WSU head coach Randy Rahe said. “They made that comeback at the end but our guys showed a lot of poise, a lot of composure, finished it off and made the plays they needed to.”

Sisoho Jawara finished with 25 points and five assists, tying his career-high in points, shooting 8 of 9 from the field and 5 of 6 from the 3-point line — his fourth game this season with five 3-pointers.

His fourth 3 put WSU up 72-55 with 9:52 left and it wasn’t much later when Southern Utah (11-6, 5-2 Big Sky) made its push. After just three turnovers in the first half, the Wildcats coughed it up 10 times in the second half. Several of those led to immediate SUU run-outs and layups or dunks, which is what finally got SUU wing Tevian Jones on the board with 6:58 left.

Southern Utah’s run snowballed to 18-6 when Tevian Jones was fouled on a shot and JJ Overton was issued a post-play technical foul for some odd contact as Tevian Jones fell to the floor; he made all four free throws and it was suddenly 78-73 with 5:34 left.

“We turned it over a little bit there, had a couple bonehead plays, had a foul and a technical,” Rahe said. “Whenever you come down here, crazy stuff happens … our guys could’ve folded, but they didn’t.”

Bassett scored inside to get a bandage on the bleeding. Then Dillon Jones secured two offensive rebounds on WSU’s next possession, leading to a Koby McEwen scoop shot.

Finally, Sisoho Jawara canned his final 3 of the game, a swish from the corner to give Weber an 85-75 lead with 3:07 left.

“That was a big shot in that corner. That was huge. He played really well,” Rahe said. “That kind of got (SUU) back on their heels and, ‘oh, we’re not all the way back yet.’ Sigu played terrific. He shot the ball really well and played a good floor game.”

From there, it was a free-throw contest which, outside of KJ Cunningham securing a rebound and making two freebies on one trip, was a struggle for the Wildcats (14-5, 7-1) who put together four straight 1-of-2 foul trips.

But Southern Utah couldn’t string together enough buckets to make it matter.

McEwen totaled 21 points, six assists and six rebounds for Weber State. Bassett scored a career-high 18 points in his fourth straight start, and Dillon Jones added 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Harrison Butler led SUU with 18 points, John Knight III and Maisen Fausett each scored 17 points, and Marin and Tevian Jones each had 14.

In the first half, Marin hit one of his four 3-pointers to put SUU up 26-22. That’s when Sisoho Jawara hit a 3-pointer, got an old-fashioned three-point play, and a 2-pointer to put WSU up 30-26.

That was the start of an extended 36-12 run across halftime, including 22-9 over the final 7:53 of the first half.

McEwen hadn’t scored until there were four minutes left in the first half. After a 3 and a few trips to the free-throw line, he had 10 points at halftime and his team led 44-35.

The onslaught continued after the break. McEwen hit a 3, then Bassett swished a 3. McEwen poked the ball away from Marin and was off to the races before Marin grabbed his arm from behind — by college rule, a flagrant foul.

McEwen made both free throws, then Bassett rattled in his third 3 of the game on the ensuing possession to put the Wildcats up 55-37.

“No question, Dontay is a good shooter … I knew when he gets his rhythm, I keep telling him ‘if you’re open, shoot it in.’ He does it all the time in practice. So it’s nice to see him make some in some games, it’s going to give him a lot of confidence.”

McEwen followed with another 3-pointer to make it 58-38 with 16:41 left. He scored 18 of his 21 points in a stretch that lasted just less than 8 minutes.

The Wildcats now trip to Greeley, Colorado, for another contest against a one-loss team, facing Northern Colorado on Thursday.

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