Jones drops season-high 22 points in Wildcats' 64-52 loss to Cal Baptist

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OGDEN — Cal Baptist's Scotty Washington didn't make all his team's baskets during the game against Weber State on Wednesday night, but it sure felt like he did.

In the Wildcats' 64-52 loss to the Lancers on the road, Washington not only led his team in scoring but the timing of his buckets were key in stopping any chance Weber had at getting back in the game.

Near the midway point of the second half, Weber State forward Dillon Jones scored 4 straight points for his team to cut Cal Baptist's lead to 8, one of the lowest it had been all game. On the other end, however, Washington knocked down a 3-pointer with ease to put his team back up by 11.

A play later, the Wildcats' Junior Ballard made his one and only 3-pointer of the night to get it back to just an 8-point lead. Washington responded with 5 straight points on a long 2-pointer and another easy 3-pointer.

The entire second half was when it seemed like the Wildcats might make a run to get back in the game, but Washington was there to shut them down every time.

While Washington's ability to hit key shots in critical moments played a large part in Weber State's seventh loss of the season, the Wildcats lost due to yet another slow first half that created an insurmountable deficit for the team to overcome.

Weber State tied a season-worst in total first-half points with 15; the other low coming against Colorado State in the third game of the season. Jones scored the first bucket of the night for either team with a 3-pointer in the first minute of the game. The Wildcats then proceeded to go scoreless for the next six minutes of game time before Steven Verplancken ended the drought with a put-back layup off a missed 3-point attempt by Zahir Porter.

The main positive for the Wildcats in the first half was that the Lancers struggled almost as much. Halfway through the first half and both teams' shooting percentages under 25%, Cal Baptist took a 31-15 lead into halftime thanks to better rebounding and a few capitalized opportunities on Weber State turnovers.

With the first half going slowly for both teams, each came out with a little more fire after halftime. Verplancken and Jones hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start the second half, and a 16-point lead quickly dropped to 10.

The Wildcats shot much better in the second half, at least compared to their first-half percentages — Weber State shot 42.3% from the field in the second frame as opposed to 29.2% in the first.

For a team that's relied on its excellent free-throw shooting, the Wildcats didn't attempt their first free throw until about four minutes into the second half and finished with only 12 attempts on the night.

Jones led all scorers in the game with 22 points and pitched in five rebounds and four steals. No other Wildcats player scored in double figures — the next closest being Verplancken with 7 points. The other four starters, aside from Jones, accounted for just 15 points in the game.

The offense continues to be this team's downfall as no amount of defense can earn a win if players can't make open looks or create better opportunities for themselves and their teammates. Add all that and an opposing player who goes off like Washington did and Weber State had a bad night.

The Wildcats return home to take on Division II Saint Martin's on Saturday.

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