The Weber State Wildcats came to life midway through the second half to notch a 69-61 win over California State University at Northridge, Saturday night.
The Wildcats jumped to a quick 6-0 lead but couldn't sustain a consistent attack the first half."We were hesitant, unsure of ourselves the first half," said Weber coach Denny Huston. "In the second half we attacked the basket - we got the rewards for being aggressive."
Five treys by the Matadors kept them within striking distance as Weber could never string more than six points together in any single run. Northridge grabbed its first lead at the 11:04 mark, 17-16 but fell behind by six, 26-20, as the Weber took advantage of Matador turnovers.
But the Wildcats could manage only a single bucket the last six minutes of the half as the Matadors clawed back to take a 31-28 halftime edge.
Northridge added two quick buckets to open the second half and go up by seven at 35-28 before Weber began to fight back. A 9-0 run early in the half put the Wildcats back in front, 43-39 as Aaron Bell and Tony Nicholas began penetrating the middle. An 8-0 run around the 4:00 mark put Weber in firm control 59-50 entering crunch time. Jason Joe knocked in 5 of 6 free throws in the last 1:12 to go with 1 of 2 from Nicholas and a pair of charity tosses for Jimmy DeGraffenried.
"Our play during crunch time was the most satisfying part of the game," said Huston. "We capitalized on a couple of turnovers. That had to give our guys some confidence that they can take advantage of other teams' mistakes."
The win snaps a six game Weber losing streak. The win up's the Wildcat record to 3-6 with a home game against Western Washington University on Jan. 3 before Weber travels to Northridge for a rematch on Jan. 5.
"We were surprised by their halfcourt game and I expect we will see this same kind of game when we meet them down there," Huston said.
Nicholas led the Wildcat attack with 17 points, including a pair of treys. Joe added 15 and DeGraffenried 10. Forwards Bell and David Baldwin racked up 8 and 9 rebounds respectively.
For Northridge, Todd Bowser and Andre Chevalier scored 13 each to go with 10 from reserve David Swanson. The Matadors knocked in six treys on the night but that was not enough to offset Weber's 16 point advantage from the free throw line.