Weber State basketball: Foul trouble keeps Bobcats close to WSU

Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 15 2012 10:47 p.m. MST

BOZEMAN, Mont. — Weber State never trailed en route to winning at Montana State Wednesday night but that doesn't mean it was easy for the Wildcats. WSU withstood a second half MSU rally to hold on and beat the Bobcats 79-70 and win their fifth straight game.

Weber State had a great first half and led 42-24 at the break. The 'Cats shot 58 percent from the field in the half and held the Bobcats to 33 percent shooting.

But Montana State started the second half on a 22-6 run to cut the Weber State lead to two points at 48-46 with 13:16 to play. Jordan Richardson responded with a 3-pointer to spark a 10-0 Wildcat run. Montana State was never closer than six points the rest of the way.

The Wildcats had foul trouble early in the second half as both Damian Lillard and Scott Bamforth picked up their fourth fouls in the early moments of the second half. WSU bench players contributed with 12 points in the second half.

Montana State shot 51 percent from the field in the second half but Weber State was 19-of-22 from the free-throw line in the second half to seal the win.

"We played well in every area in the first half but the wheels kind of came off in the second half," said WSU head coach Randy Rahe. "The foul trouble was really tough for us and it gave Montana State some momentum. I was really proud how our bench players fought through it and played with confidence and that was the difference in the game. We were able to find a way to get it done."

Sophomore Byron Fulton led the Wildcats with 17 points, tying his career-high. Fulton was 7-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-6 from the 3-point line.

Damian Lillard also had 17 points but played just 27 minutes due to foul trouble. He finished the night 6-of-9 from the field and was 4-of-4 from the free-throw line. He also tied his career-high with four steals and had two assists.

Lillard is now tied with Oakland's Reggie Hamilton as the top scorer in the nation at 24.8 points per game. Hamilton scored 30 points Wednesday night in an overtime win over Southern Utah.

Two other Wildcats scored in double figures with Bamforth posting 15 points and Kyle Tresnak adding 14 points and five rebounds.

Weber State shot 54 percent from the field, with the Bobcats shooting 43 percent. MSU outrebounded the Wildcats 30-29.

Montana State dropped its sixth straight game and fell to 11-14 overall and 6-8 in Big Sky play. Shawn Reid led the Bobcats with 31 points.

The Wildcats have now won five straight and 14 of their last 15 games. They improve to 21-4 overall and 13-1 in Big Sky Conference games with two conference games remaining.

WSU returns home for their final home game of the regular season this Saturday when they step out of conference play to host UT Arlington in the Sears Bracketbusters game. The Mavericks are 20-5 overall and have won 16 straight games. Saturday's game will begin at 6 p.m. and will be televised live nationally on ESPN3.

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