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Cardiac ‘Cats: Dillon Jones’ career game leads Weber State to improbable OT win over Northern Colorado

By BRETT HEIN - Standard-Examiner | Feb 29, 2024
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Weber State's Dillon Jones (2) and Blaise Threatt (0) high-five late in a win over Northern Colorado on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Ogden.
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Weber State's Dyson Koehler, center, dives for a loose ball against Northern Colorado on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Ogden.
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Weber State's Dillon Jones, right, shoots a jumper over Northern Colorado's Dejour Reaves on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Ogden.
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Weber State's Steven Verplancken Jr. (11), and Northern Colorado's Theo Hughes, to his right, and Langston Reynolds (3) fight for the ball on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Ogden.
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Weber State's Dillon Jones (2) drives against a Northern Colorado player on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Ogden.
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Weber State's Steven Verplancken Jr. (11) shoots over Northern Colorado's Dejour Reaves on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Ogden.
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Weber State's Dillon Jones (2) rises to shoot over Northern Colorado's Saint Thomas on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Ogden.

OGDEN — Weber State men’s basketball has played four games on leap day in its 61-year Division I basketball history.

An uncommon night called for an uncommon feat. Some countries consider leap day cursed, however, so despite having eight assists with 10 minutes left in regulation, WSU star Dillon Jones once again did not grab the program’s first triple-double in 24 years.

But some locales find luck and celebration on leap day, too. And Jones led Weber State to not one, but two improbable comebacks against the clock to lead the Wildcats to an 85-81 overtime victory over Northern Colorado, putting WSU into second place in the Big Sky with two games left.

“I think we just approached it the right way. I think our mentality was good the whole night,” Jones said. “From a bird’s eye view, there was no way we were supposed to win but us in that huddle, we never thought we were out, as crazy as it may seem.”

The raw stats: In front of 13 NBA scouts and one national-media draft analyst, Jones scored 30 points, grabbed 23 rebounds, dished nine assists and nabbed three steals.

One uncommon feat did come, as Jones tallied the first 30-point, 20-rebound game in Dee Events Center history. It was also WSU’s first 20-point, 20-rebound game in eight years. His 23 rebounds is the third-most in a single game in program history, and ties the most single-game rebounds by a WSU player in the Dee Events Center.

Steven Verplancken scored 16 points for Weber State (19-10, 10-6 Big Sky). Blaise Threatt added 15 points, and Dyson Koehler totaled 14 points, six rebounds and two steals.

WSU missed its final 10 3-point attempts of the game to go 7 of 30, which hampered Jones’ triple-double effort and the Wildcats’ chances of winning. But a long sequence of clutch, had-to-happen plays got Weber State over the hump twice.

A pair of Jaron Rillie free throws put Northern Colorado (17-12, 10-6) ahead 71-65 with 53 seconds left in regulation.

Weber State missed three straight 3s but Alex Tew and Koehler grabbed offensive rebounds, the final one leading to Threatt drawing a foul and making his free throws for a 71-67 score with 21.3 seconds remaining.

On the ensuing inbound, Weber trapped Bears star Saint Thomas under WSU’s basket. Koehler ripped the ball from him and simultaneously rose for a layup — 71-69, 0:15 left.

WSU fouled Rillie to stop the clock, he missed his free throw, and Jones raced down the floor for a contested bucket in the paint — 71-71 with 5.8 left.

And going the other way, Jones saw Rillie telegraph a drive to the rim, waited in the key and took a charge to send the game to overtime.

In overtime, Rillie knocked down a 3, Thomas hit a smooth jumper and, with four WSU missed 3s sandwiched in the sequence, Rillie swished a paint jumper to put the Bears up 79-73 with 2:50 left.

Somehow, Weber had answers.

Threatt scored on a drive and, on the next possession, recovered a ball Jones lost and fired back to Jones in the paint for a three-point play, making it 79-78 with two minutes left in overtime.

Jones had another and-one play taken away with a quick whistle but made two free throws for a WSU 80-79 lead with 1:23 left.

After a stop, Jones sauced Riley Abercrombie with a crossover to the rim for an 82-79 lead and 33 seconds left.

With an 83-81 WSU lead, Rillie drove the paint and Jones stripped him. The ball went out of bounds with 10 seconds left and it appeared Jones committed a foul. The play went under replay review, which can only consider which player touched the ball last, and that was clear: Rillie.

Referees overturned the call to give Weber possession, and Threatt knocked down two free throws for the final 85-81 margin with 8.6 seconds left.

“The fact that we shot like this and still won is encouraging to me,” Jones said. “No one in this locker room determines their good or bad game based on missed or made shots … you’ve got to jump up there with confidence and if they don’t go in, then you just got to get back in it, don’t let it dictate your whole game.”

Rillie led Northern Colorado with 23 points. Thomas totaled 17 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Brock Wisne added 15 points.

The win pulls WSU into a standings tie with Northern Colorado and Montana, all 10-6 after Montana lost at Eastern Washington in decisions that also give EWU the outright regular-season championship. Weber State holds tiebreakers over Northern Colorado and Montana due to being 3-1 against them combined and also having one win against Eastern Washington (EWU swept Montana and NoCo).

Weber State next hosts Northern Arizona at 2 p.m. Saturday; the Lumberjacks defeated Idaho State 92-88 in double overtime Thursday night.

WSU then goes to Montana State on Monday night. Two wins secure WSU the No. 2 seed and its associated bracket advantages in the Big Sky tournament.

“This is all about perspective … and I think we’re playing our best basketball right now,” Jones said as WSU has won seven of its last eight games. “I think people get caught up in, preseason No. 1, you should be doing this and that. And it didn’t go our way. But you have to have that perspective … we had a hiccup at Idaho State but we responded tonight.”


Jones’ 23-rebound night moved him past Larry Krystkowiak (Montana) and into fourth place for career rebounds in the Big Sky Conference. At 1,113 career rebounds, Jones is 31 from passing Willie Sojourner for second all-time at WSU and 35 from passing Steve Hayes (Idaho State) for second all-time in the Big Sky.

WSU’s Joel Bolomboy is No. 1 in both with 1,312 rebounds.

As for the triple-double hunt, or curse, Jones couldn’t help but laugh.

“It’s obviously not meant to happen while I’m here,” he chuckled. “This game right here is the one, right? … But it is what it is. It just goes like that.”


Northern Colorado used a 26-17 second quarter to start to put away Weber State women’s basketball in Greeley, Colorado.

Delaynie Byrne (19 points) and Gabi Fields (15) each hit three 3-pointers to lead the Bears (14-13, 9-7 Big Sky) as the team shot 25 of 51 from the floor.

Jadyn Matthews shot 6 of 11 to score 14 points, adding five rebounds and three steals, for Weber State (7-22, 4-12). Daryn Hickok scored 11 points.


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