Thursday, January 5, 2012
Damian Lillard The Star As Weber State Beats Eastern Washington
Eastern Washington has come close to beating some really good teams so far this year, but they haven't been able to get that signature win yet. They thought tonight was going to be the night, but Weber State was able to hold them off for one reason.
He showed once again why he is the best player in the Big Sky Conference, and why he should get some consideration as an All-American. Simply put, he was fantastic, and EWU had no answer for him, as the Wildcats won 76-69.
He started out the game on a roll, making his first five shots. In the second half, when Eastern Washington crawled back in it and made it a back-and-forth game, it was Lillard who was able to get good shots, get to the line, and get his teammates open looks time and time again, staving off any plans Eastern Washington had for a signature win.
Lillard finished with 30 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists, including shooting 4/7 from downtown and 12/13 from the stripe. He also surpassed 1,500 points for his career. One underrated aspect of his game is that he is great at getting to the line, and shoots 90% when he does get there. When he is on, he simply plays at a higher level than anyone else in the Big Sky.
He didn't quite do it alone, as Scott Bamforth continued his recent run of strong play, finishing with 19 points, including 4/5 from downtown.
For Eastern Washington, they got solid offensive performances from Cliff Colimon and Cliff Ederaine, but not a lot of other guys. Colimon had an inefficient 18 points, while Ederaine had 20 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals. He played very well.
However, to win these games, EWU needs strong performances from Collin Chiverton. He scored 3 points on 1/10 shooting, and Parker Kelly was in the game quite a bit late instead of him. EWU is not going to be able to beat the top teams in the Big Sky if that is happening.
For Weber State, they played an arguable top 3 Big Sky team on the road, still missing their two starting forwards, in a game where they turned the ball over 22 times -- and still win! That is a great sign for them, solidifying themselves as the team to beat in the Big Sky. With Damian Lillard running the show, it is going to be hard for any team to top them.
Follow me on Twitter @bigskybball