Weber State basketball: Wildcats can’t handle hot-shooting Hawks in North Dakota

Saturday , January 13, 2018 - 4:42 PM

BRANDON GARSIDE, Standard-Examiner Staff

After a tough road win at Northern Colorado on Thursday, Weber State couldn’t handle the surprisingly hot shooting of North Dakota on Saturday afternoon and fell 89-79 at the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center in Grand Forks.

The Fighting Hawks (6-11, 2-4 Big Sky) came into the game with a league-worst 3-point shooting average of 29.2 percent, but shot 11 of 21 (52.4 percent) against the Wildcats (10-7, 3-2).

UND junior guard Cortez Seales was 0-for-9 shooting from 3 on the season but made both his attempts against WSU. Kienan Walter went 3 of 4 from deep despite entering the game 5 of 21.

North Dakota maintained a lead that hovered around eight to 10 after halftime. The Wildcats trimmed the deficit to as little as three with about six minutes remaining but couldn’t get over the hump.

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“Those things we didn’t expect,” WSU head coach Randy Rahe said of UND’s shooting. “They really hurt us with those guys who hadn’t been doing much in those situations.

“Overall, it wasn’t for a lack of effort today. Our guys came in, they competed really hard. (UND’s) coach just told me this is the best game they’ve played all year. I’m kind of tired of hearing that when we come over here. They were excited to play.”

Geno Crandall led all scorers with 25 points, pacing the Hawks to their second win this week.

Weber State was again led by sophomore guard Jerrick Harding, who scored 22 points. Freshman Michal Kozak scored a career-high 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, including three 3-pointers.

Ryan Richardson added 13 points in the loss. Brekkott Chapman shot 3 of 8 but totaled eight points, five rebounds and four blocks.

“We’ve got a couple of guys that aren’t playing really well right now, and we’re on a limited bench and we have limited depth, “Rahe said. “We’ve got to get more guys playing better. If we do, we’re going to be a pretty good basketball team. If not, we’re really limited.”

Despite 16 turnovers, the Wildcats hung around by shooting 21 of 23 from the free-throw line while the Hawks shot only 16 of 30.

Poor shooting caught up to Weber State late in the first half, along with nine turnovers in that first frame. The Hawks closed the half on an 11-0 run to take a 36-27 advantage at halftime. The Wildcats went scoreless for last four minutes.

“We didn’t finish the half very well at all,” Rahe said. “I thought we had some good looks and they just didn’t go in.”

Weber State next returns home to face Sacramento State and Portland State.

Contact sports reporter Brandon Garside at bgarside@standard.net, on Twitter @BrandonGarside and on Facebook.com/BrandonGarsideSE.

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