Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Weber State Stakes Claim As The Best Team In Utah
I said earlier that Weber State needed to beat Utah State if they wanted to be considered the best team in Utah, and they came through on Tuesday night thanks to a big first half and a huge day from Scott Bamforth.
The Wildcats came our firing in the first half, leading 42-27 at the intermission and leaving no doubt for everyone who was the best team in the state of Utah. They slowed down a bit in the second half and allowed Utah State to cut the lead down to as little as 6, but they held on for a pretty convincing victory over the Aggies.
The star of the game was Scott Bamforth, who had 28 points and 6 rebounds on the day, including 7 three-pointers. He made his first five attempts, which ran his streak up to 10 straight makes from three-point land before his first miss. He was especially huge in the first half, where it seemed like time and time again the Aggies left him alone, and he buried them. In the first half he had 17 points on 5/6 three-point shooting. Bamforth is also a good ball handler, which can help to take the pressure off Lillard.
Damian Lillard did not have his best game, but it is a testament to the depth of the Wildcats that they won solidly without their star playing his best. He did finish with 17 points, but shot just 4/16 from the field and 2/9 from downtown. However, he played solid defense, and held Brockeith Pane to 14 points. Even if he is not scoring, Lillard does other things to help his team win.
Kyle Bullinger also played very well for Weber, showing that he is the glue guy of the team. He rebounds the ball very well for his size (6'6'') as he had a game-high 13 rebounds, and always seems to have his nose around the basketball. He has a nice midrange game as well that can extend beyond the arc, and is just a nice all-around player. Jordan Richardson is the other guard that got some run, and I liked him. Offensively he takes care of the ball well, and defensively he is a nice on the ball defender. I don't think any coach would be displeased with those attributes from the back up PG.
Obviously the guards are the strength of the team, but the big guys are very solid as well. Kyle Tresnak had a nice first half (finished with 6 points), and showed some good skill around the basket. Frank Otis is very athletic for a big man, and made some nice plays even if the box score didn't show him having a big day. Byron Fulton is another offensive weapon for them (he had 10 points, including 2/3 from downtown), and he can score inside and out. Darin Mahoney is a solid rebounder and probably their best interior defender.
Weber State will not have a ton of chances to prove themselves this season out of conference, so this is a big win. (For the record, there other two big games are at BYU and at California). They think they are the best team in Utah, and it is hard to argue after this game. Less than a week ago, Utah State took down BYU 69-62, and now Weber State has beaten Utah State 73-63, and did it in convincing fashion.
Steps to being the best team in Utah:
Beat Utah State: Check
Beat BYU: Test comes December 7
Beat Utah: Test comes December 22
Beat Southern Utah: Test comes December 10
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