Brian Nicholson, Deseret News
OGDEN — A high-flying Weber State University men's basketball team, off to its best start in 32 years, takes on a struggling Northern Arizona squad Thursday night at the Dee Events Center.
The Big Sky Conference-leading Wildcats (14-3), who have won eight straight games, are off to the school's best start since their 1979-80 team won 16 of its first 17 games on its way to a 26-3 finish.
Weber State, which is 10-0 at home thus far this season, is led by a pair of hot-shooting junior guards, Damian Lillard and Scott Bamforth.
Lillard, who is in contention for the prestigious John Wooden and Bob Cousy awards this season, leads the nation in scoring with an average of 25.5 points per game. He is also among the national leaders in 3-pointers per game (3.5), 3-point shooting percentage (45.7) and free-throw percentage (90.8), a category in which the Wildcats lead the nation by shooting 80.8 percent from the line as a team. Lillard is 31 points away from passing Jermaine Boyette for third place on WSU's career scoring list.
Bamforth is averaging 15.8 points per game for the season, fourth-best in the Big Sky, and an even-better 19.2 ppg in Weber State's six Big Sky victories. He is second in the league behind Lillard in free-throw shooting and has scored in double figures in nine consecutive games.
NAU, meanwhile, has lost five straight games and the Lumberjacks have lost their last six meetings with the Wildcats, who own a decisive 40-7 advantage over the 'Jacks in games played in Ogden.
Freshman James Douglas leads the Lumberjacks in scoring and is 10th in the Big Sky at 12.8 points per game, while Durrell Norman is fifth in the league in rebounding at 6.5 per game.?Junior Stallon Saldivar, a Salt Lake City native, is third in the conference in assists at 5.3 per game and leads the Big Sky in assist-turnover ratio.?
The Lumberjacks are guided by Dave Brown, who took over the team's reins in early December when longtime NAU head coach Mike Adras abruptly resigned. At age 70, Brown is the second-oldest active head coach in Division I basketball. Only Tevester Anderson, 74, of Jackson State is older than Brown.
Wildcats on the air
Northern Arizona (5-13, 1-5)
at Weber State (14-3, 6-0)
Today, 7 p.m.
Dee Events Center, Ogden
TV: none Radio: 1280 AM
T-Birds on the air
Oakland (10-10, 4-4)
at Southern Utah (9-9, 4-4)
Today, 7 p.m.
Centrum, Cedar City
TV: none Radio: 91.1 FM
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