Brian Nicholson, Deseret News
OGDEN — After a disappointing defeat in the championship game of the Big Sky Conference postseason tournament last week which shattered their NCAA Tournament hopes, the Weber State men's basketball team could certainly use some good news.
And the Wildcats got some Sunday night when they learned that their stellar 2011-12 season isn't over yet.
WSU has been selected to participate in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, with the Wildcats hosting an instate game against Utah Valley University on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Dee Events Center.
Tuesday's first-round matchup with UVU marks Weber State's first appearance in the CIT event, which made its debut in 2009.?The tournament includes 32 teams from across the country, with second-round matchups to be determined after the first-round games are complete.
Weber State, 24-6 overall after losing to Montana in the Big Sky finals, finished second in the Big Sky's regular-season race at 14-2 and won its postseason semifinal game against Portland State before falling to the Grizzlies. With its 24 wins, WSU is tied with Robert Morris for the most wins of any team in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Last week the Wildcats' outstanding junior guard, Damian Lillard, was named USWBA District VIII Player of the Year and Big Sky Conference Most Valuable Player, the second time he has won the league award. Lillard ranks second in the nation in scoring at 24.5 points per game and is now WSU's all-time leader in single-season scoring. He has been closely followed by NBA scouts all season long and is expected to enter his name in this year's NBA Draft. Utah Valley comes into Tuesday night's game with a 20-12 overall record and won 13 straight games during one stretch of the season. The Wolverines, who finished 9-1 in the Great West Conference but lost in the semifinals of their conference tournament, are led by senior guard Isiah Williams, who averages 16.1 points per game.
UVU went 1-1 against teams from the Big Sky this season, winning at home against Portland State and losing on the road at league champion Montana. Tuesday's game marks the first postseason tournament game for Utah Valley's program since becoming a Division I school.
The Wolverines' head coach is Dick Hunsaker, a former Weber State player who was also a longtime WSU assistant coach. Hunsaker is now in his 10th season as head coach at Utah Valley.
The Wildcats and Wolverines have met four previous times, with the season series tied at 2-2 and the home team winning all four times. UVU and WSU last met in December 2005.
Tickets for Tuesday's game will go on sale today at 10 a.m. at the Dee Events Center Ticket Office. Tickets are priced at $10 for adults, $5 for youths age 17 and under and $5 for Weber State students. For ticket information, contact the WSU ticket office at 801-626-8500 or visit WeberStateTickets.com.
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