Weber State basketball: Wildcats outlast NAU
Ogden • Everyone but Northern Arizona fans and Weber State coach Randy Rahe expected a blowout win Thursday.
"I think they're all going to be close," Rahe said.
And maybe, in their hearts, even the few cheering the Lumberjacks and Salt Lake City native Stallon Saldivar in the Dee Events Center, were holding their breath, too, about what might happen.
A career night by center Kyle Tresnak helped the Wildcats remain perfect in Big Sky Conference play with an 83-70 victory. But it was not the expected walkover.
"You got to be excited, have some urgency and some edge," Rahe said. "That's when we play our best. â¦ If we don't have that, we're pretty average."
NAU (5-12, 2-5 BSC), not interested in playing the patsy, pulled to within eight of WSU (12-3, 7-0) with four minutes to play. At the very least, the 'Jacks, who were shooting 64 percent late in the opening half, made life uncomfortable.
WSU took the lead for good with an 8-0 run to close out the opening 20 minutes, but the Lumberjacks, despite a number of lopsided losses and a defense that ranked last in the league, remained aggressive.
As for Weber State, "We didn't come out ready to go with the right intensity," said Tresnak, who scored 23 points. "It showed."
The wake-up call should have been the weak-side lob to DeWayne Russell, listed somewhat optimistically at 5-foot-11, the shortest player on the court.
Russell's layup gave the Lumberjacks a four-point lead midway through the first half.
"NAU came in well-prepared," Rahe said.
Tresnak struggled early, with his points coming on 19 shots. But he wasn't alone, as shorter and less athletic NAU scored 18 points in the paint in the first half and 32 overall.
A chat with WSU assistant Phil Becker got Tresnak in the right frame of mind.
"It helped get me going," said Tresnak, an Arizona native who has now set career scoring records twice in two years against NAU.
WSU forward Davion Berry scored 17, but he also had four turnovers.
Weber State freshman Joel Bolomboy helped grab the momentum back with 13 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. Overall, the Wildcats swatted nine NAU shots.
"They were ready to go and we were just a little bit off in our urgency," Rahe said. "We weren't quite as emotionally invested as we have been."
Expect that to change Saturday vs. Sacramento State.
Storylines 'Cats just get by
R Weber State, a winner of eight straight, also remains perfect in the Big Sky Conference at 7-0.
• WSU center Kyle Tresnak scores a career-high 23 points.