OGDEN — Weber State’s Scott Bamforth cantered out for pregame warm-ups against Northern Colorado with a contagious spring and swagger. The attitude, the confidence, the pep-to-the-step was noticeably contrastive for the senior guard, who, discounting an 18-point performance against the University of the Southwest last week, had been shooting 23 percent from the field this season.
But Bamforth still had confidence in himself.
That much was evident Thursday night.
He was the unquestioned catalyst in an early 21-8 surge and the architect in sustaining his team's momentum during a dry spell in the opening stages of the second half as the Wildcats (8-3) improved to 3-0 in Big Sky play with a 79-54 thumping over Northern Colorado at the Dee Events Center.
“I feel like early in the season I was trying to play perfect,” Bamforth, who scored 22 points and added three steals and two assists without any turnovers, said. “I tried to make every single shot I took, make every right pass and never turnover the ball and I can’t play that way — I got to play free.
“I don’t know if it goes with that I’m a senior,” Bamforth continued. “I was just trying to be perfect and I’m far from perfect. Now I’m just going to play and if it’s not good enough, so be it. I’m just going to do what I do and see what happens.”
The 6-foot-2 guard put WSU up 5-0 on his first shot attempt, a contested wingside 3-pointer, and shortly thereafter, knocked down three straight from distance to give the ‘Cats a 21-8 advantage with 13:11 left in the first half. The third 3-ball gave Bamforth sole possession of fourth place for most 3-pointers in WSU history. He finished 5 of 7 from deep, pushing his total to 179.
“It’s just basketball. It’s not like I had 50 points or something,” Bamforth quipped. “I hit a few shots."
The ‘Cats never trailed and led by as many as 32 points late — a primary correlation of shooting 47 percent from beyond the arc — and improved to 7-0 against the Bears (3-8, 1-2) in Ogden. When things began to simmer down in the second half, Bamforth drilled his fifth and final 3-pointer after WSU had gone nearly five minutes without a field goal.
“Scott looked really comfortable tonight. He was getting some really good open looks," Weber State coach Randy Rahe said.
Kyle Tresnak chipped in 10 points and seven boards, boosting WSU’s record to 6-0 when he surpasses double figures. Gelaun Wheelwright scored 13 points off the bench and Jordan Richardson added 10 points with three assists.
“We were passing up good shots for great shots,” Tresnak said. “We were really moving the ball.”
Once again Weber State whipped the rock around the world gracefully to create better scoring opportunities. With 5:17 in the first half, Gelaun Wheelwright passed an open corner 3 to Davion Berry, who proceeded to swing then ball to Jordan Richardson, who then knocked down a straightaway free throw-extended jumper for a 36-18 lead. The unselfish rhythm persisted throughout as WSU finished with 17 assists, adding to its Big Sky-best 15.6 per game average.
“We talk to the team about shot selection. Our whole deal is we’re going to park that ball as close to the basket as we can,” Rahe said. “When you go to the mall you try and park to the front door as close as you can so you don’t have to walk as far — same thing in basketball.”
Weber State returns to action Saturday at home against North Dakota at 7 p.m.
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