The road to the Big Sky Conference men's tournament just got bumpier for Sacramento State after Weber State came into town Thursday and beat the Hornets 70-55.
The Wildcats have a 35-4 all-time advantage over Sac State and have won 12 consecutive games in the series.
Entering Thursday's game, the Hornets (13-13, 7-10) were in a three-way tie for fifth place in the Big Sky with Montana State and Northern Arizona. The top seven teams of the 11 in the conference qualify for the postseason tournament.
With three regular-season games left, including the final two on the road, each loss is magnified.
"It's fourth and 1," Hornets coach Brian Katz said. "If we win one (more game), we're rolling the dice. If we win two, we're in for sure."
The Hornets' last regular-season home game is Saturday against last-place Idaho State. The last two regular-season conference games are on the road against conference leader Montana on Thursday and Montana State two days later.
Montana State, Northern Arizona and Northern Colorado all won Thursday night. Each has eight conference victories.
Sac State hasn't made the Big Sky tournament since the 2005-06 season.
The Hornets climbed within 44-38 against Weber State, but a three-pointer by Davion Berry and a Joel Bolomboy layup after a press break got the Wildcats' lead back to double digits. Their lead grew to as many as 19 points late in the second half.
Weber State (21-5, 15-2) answered many of Sac State's runs with a three-pointer. Almost half of the Wildcats' points came from beyond the three-point line, where they finished 11 for 20. Weber State leads the nation in three-point field-goal percentage (.424), and Wildcats senior point guard Scott Bamforth said while he and his teammates have the green light to shoot threes, it's not as if they work extra on long-range shooting.
"We move the ball around really well and a three to us is like a midrange jumper," said Bamforth, who was 4 of 6 from beyond the arc and finished with 14 points.
Sac State's Konner Veteto was active early. He scored six points and had two big blocks in the first five minutes. He finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.
Veteto received little support from his frontcourt mates in John Dickson and Joe Eberhard, who were physically outmatched. The Hornets' starting forwards combined for just 12 points and 12 rebounds and were ineffectual against Berry, who had a game-high 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 4 of 7 from beyond the three-point line.
Veteto is confident Sac State will make the Big Sky tournament.
"I'm not worried about it (the playoffs)," he said. "We'll bounce back. It starts against Idaho State, and we can beat both Montana teams."