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Weber State basketball learns matchups in first year of challenge with Summit League

By Brett Hein - Standard-Examiner | May 5, 2023

BENJAMIN HAGER, Standard-Examiner file photo

Weber State's Ryan Richardson (22) drives past South Dakota State's Keaton Moffitt (12) on Dec. 22, 2015 at the Dee Events Center in Ogden.

Matchups are now set for the first year of the basketball challenge series between the Big Sky Conference and the Summit League, both leagues announced Friday morning.

As determined by order of finish and NET rankings last season, the Weber State men ended up drawing the Nos. 1 and 2 teams from the Summit League last season. The Wildcats will host South Dakota State on Jan. 3, 2024, then travel to play Oral Roberts on Jan. 6.

Both are somewhat familiar opponents in recent years. Weber State played South Dakota State twice in the 2015-16 season, losing on the road before winning a 99-95 thriller in Ogden one month later. WSU is 2-1 all-time against the Jackrabbits, also picking up a home win in 1978.

South Dakota State finished 19-13 last season, including a second-place, 13-5 mark in the Summit League. They’ll be led by Zeke Mayo, a guard who averaged 18.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists as a sophomore last season.

Oral Roberts is another school WSU has played in a recent short burst of games. WSU won in Tulsa in February 2013, hosted and defeated ORU in that year’s run to the CIT title game one month later, then beat ORU again in Ogden in December 2014. WSU is 5-2 all-time against ORU.

Oral Roberts was one of the nation’s best mid-major teams last season, going 30-5 in a campaign that included a 21-0 mark against teams from its conference. But its two best players (Max Abmas, Connor Vanover) have transferred to new teams and its head coach (Paul Mills) left for a new job as well.

With the schedule still in the works, WSU men’s team currently has Cal Poly and South Dakota State on the slate for nonconference home games.

The Weber State women’s team will travel to Western Illinois on Jan. 3 and host Kansas City on Jan. 6.

Western Illinois went 10-20 last season, including a ninth-place, 5-13 league record. WSU has played WIU once, a win in 1985.

Kansas City (fully known as the University of Missouri-Kansas City) was 9-23 and finished last at 3-15 in the Summit League. WSU and UMKC have never met; the Kangaroos became a Division I program in 1989.


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