Idaho St. 78, Weber St. 73
POCATELLO — A couple of guys who now play for Idaho State but used to call Utah their home — at least for basketball purposes — gave Weber State fits Thursday night.
Former University of Utah guard Jordie McTavish scored 22 points and Tim Erickson, who prepped at Granger High and played at SLCC, added 15 to lift the Bengals over the Wildcats 78-73 at Holt Arena.
The win was the first for Idaho State against Weber State in 11 tries overall and five games in Pocatello, dating back to the 1995-96 season. The victory also clinched at least the No. 4 spot in the upcoming Big Sky tournament for ISU (13-13, 9-6), which has qualified for postseason play for the first time in four years.
Weber State fell to 14-12, 8-7 and is now in danger of falling to the sixth seed in the tournament, which would likely give them a rematch with ISU in the first round next week. The tourney will be held (March 8-10) at Cal State Northridge by virtue of the Matadors' Big Sky-clinching 86-84 victory at Eastern Washington Thursday night.
Jermaine Boyette, who led all scorers with 26 points despite nursing an injured thumb, scored 13 straight Weber points, culminating with a 3-pointer with 26 seconds left, to bring the Wildcats within 75-71. But the Bengals hit three free throws in the final seconds to secure a season split with WSU.
ISU jumped out to a 21-5 lead on a 17-point run while holding the Wildcats scoreless for 9:35. The teams traded baskets until a six-point Bengal run pushed the lead to 37-19.
Weber scored the last five points of the half and, despite shooting 32 percent in the half, trailed only 37-24 at halftime. The Wildcats carried that momentum into the second half, going on an 8-2 run. The Bengals countered with a 9-2 spurt, with five points from McTavish.
Doug Silva added 12 and Rashad Kirkland had 11. Boyette was the only Wildcat in double figures.
Weber travels to Bozeman to face Montana State Saturday in the regular-season finale. The game will decide final seeding for the Wildcats and Bobcats.