Coach brought me into the office and got after me a little bit. He told me the team needed me to be aggressive and start playing the way I did before I got injured. —Weber State junior forward Brekkott Chapman
When Weber State junior forward Brekkott Chapman injured his foot against Utah Valley on Nov. 10, the former Roy prep had to wait until Big Sky play started before he was cleared to play. In the five games since his return, Weber State coach Randy Rahe waited patiently for Chapman to find his game.
Following a split of games at Northern Colorado and North Dakota last weekend, Rahe and Chapman had a Monday morning sit down to, as Rahe said, clear the air and administer some tough love.
Whatever was said, seemed to work as Chapman delivered 17 points, 13 rebounds and some much-needed energy as Weber State pulled away for an 80-64 win over Sacramento State to improve to (11-7, 4-2).
“Coach brought me into the office and got after me a little bit,” Chapman said. “He told me the team needed me to be aggressive and start playing the way I did before I got injured.”
While Chapman had five turnovers and just three points at the half, he did grab nine, first-half rebounds as Rahe started to see the fire coming back.
“Brekkott had two really good practices this week and while he didn’t have great production in the first half I really liked the look on his face and the aggression he was playing with,” Randy Rahe, Weber State coach said.
Early on it was the Weber State 3-point shooting that carried the load. Sophomore, Jerrick Harding, who finished with 29 points, hit a triple to open the game and finished the half, 4 of 6 from behind the arc. Wildcat senior Ryan Richardson knocked down three, first-half long-balls with Michal Kozak, Chapman, and Ricky Nelson each hitting three-point shots.
At halftime, Weber State was shooting a sizzling 10-of-16 (62.5 percent) from behind the arc, but Sacramento State trailed just 37-36.
Rahe said he talked to the guys all week about not having any kind of letdown at home.
“Most home losses occur the first home game after a road trip,” Rahe said. “You go on the road and you have an edge. You come home, you exhale a little bit and that’s when you get beat.”
After Sacramento State took a 45-43 lead, Chapman reversed his pivot, drop-stepped and delivered a two-hand dunk. After drawing a foul, Chapman converted both free-throws and then blocked a Sacramento State shot and hit an 18-footer that helped Weber State open a 50-45 advantage.
Sacramento State was led in scoring by Izayah Mauriohooho-Le’Afa, who finished with 19. Hornets leading scorer, Justin Strings finished just 5 of 22 for 13 points, thanks in large part to the defense of freshman, Michal Kozak.
“Michal a good defender and he likes guarding good players,” Rahe said. “We just told him to stay between Strings and the basket and Michal was tough as nails tonight.”
Strings hit consecutive baskets though, and at the 4:45 mark, the Hornets closed the gap to 65-62.
Chapman answered, converting a 3-point play, hitting his second 3-pointer of the night and after Richardson knocked down his fourth deep ball, the Wildcats finally had some room to breathe with a double-digit lead.
“The second half we loosened up and we played with a team spirit,” Rahe said. “We are at our best when we play with spirit and an edge and the second half I was very pleased with our guys.”
On Saturday, the Wildcats host a tough Portland State team which knocked off Idaho State Thursday in Pocatello 87-83.
“This will be a good test for us,” Harding said. “We already had a couple of tough losses and we have no room for error so we’re going to have to come out and compete.”