Weber State Pulls Away Late In Battle Of Wildcats In Vegas

Nov 22, 2022, 7:29 PM | Updated: 7:30 pm
(Courtesy of Weber State Athletics)
(Courtesy of Weber State Athletics)

OGDEN, Utah – A late 14-1 run turned a nip and tuck battle into a runaway as Weber State knocked off Abilene Christian in Las Vegas.

Playing the second night of three straight games in the Vegas 4 Tournament, Weber State (3-2) took on the Abilene Christian Wildcats (2-3) on Tuesday, November 22.

Weber State was coming off of their second win of the year, a 72-65 victory over UC Riverside the night before.

First Half

It was a back and forth first half that included eight lead changes and three ties in the opening 20 minutes.

Weber State’s Junior Ballard started the scoring off when he drew a foul on the games first possession, sending him to the line for a pair of free throws.

The teams battled with neither gaining an advantage greater than three points until Abilene Christian’s Cameron Steele knocked down a three-pointer to give the ACU a 14-11 lead with 13:45 left in the half.

After two free throws from Zahir Porter, another three followed by a Weber State turnover and transition basket for ACU increased their lead to 19-13 with 11:32 left.

Later in the period with Weber State down five, Steven Verplancken dropped his defender before hitting a corner three, cutting the deficit to 22-20.

Abilene Christian was pushed over the next few minutes but refused to give up the lead until late in the half when, trailing 36-31, Weber State used a 6-0 run led by Keith Dinwiddie and KJ Cunningham to grab the lead back, 37-36.

The two Wildcat programs would go into the half tied up at 40.

Second Half

Weber State scored the first two buckets of the second half to open up their largest lead of the game, 44-40

ACU answered with two baskets of their own, resuming the back and forth contest as there would be eight more lead changes in the first seven minutes of the second half.

With just under ten minutes left in the game, Ballard knotted the score at 58 with a layup. It was the sixth tie of the night.

Then Weber State began to take control.

A 6-0 WSU run gave Weber a 64-60 lead. Abilene Christian added a free throw to make it 64-61.

Back-to-back Verplancken triples and a lay-in from Porter made it a 14-1 Weber State run to take a 72-61 lead.

Weber State would take a 72-63 lead into the final media timeout.

A quick 5-0 run from Abilene Christian cut the deficit to 73-66 but they would get no closer.

Weber State improved to 3-2 with the 77-67 win while Abilene Christian fell to 2-3.

Verplancken’s 19 points led all scorer’s. Ballard (13) and Daniel Rouzan joined Verplancken in double-figure scoring. Daniel also finished with a team-high 10 rebounds.

Cameron Steele scored 16 points to lead Abilene Christian

Up Next

The Wildcats remain in Henderson, NV where they will face Wright State on Wednesday, November 23. Tip-off for this game is scheduled for 2 p.m. (MDT).

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