Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Weber State Escapes With 69-63 Win

Portland State controlled the game for 35 minutes. Damian Lillard controlled the game for the last five.

It wasn't easy and it wasn't pretty, but Weber State will be going to the Big Sky championship game after beating Portland State 69-63 Tuesday night in Missoula. Some takeaways from the game:

- Weber State continued to have major troubles with the zone, far too often settling for jumpshots instead of taking the ball inside. When they did get more aggressive at the end of the game, Gelaun Wheelwright and Damian Lillard were able to get into the lane and to the free throw line, which may have been the difference in the game. Lillard was fantastic down the stretch, and was doing all he could to will them to victory.

- Gelaun Wheelwright was absolutely huge tonight. He had 15 points on 6/10 shooting, and had some really big buckets for them tonight. He clearly was not overwhelmed by the moment, which is big for a freshman. Weber State fans have a right to be excited about him. Jordan Richardson also gave them big minutes down the stretch. He hit a key three with Weber State down by eight, and played great defense.

- Charles Odum and Chehales Tapscott showed why they are Big Sky first-teamers. Odum had 24 points on 10/19 shooting. It did seem like he was letting the refs get in his head a bit at the end of the game. He reacted strongly to every close call against him. Have to let that stuff go. Tapscott had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and also played excellent defense. He can do it all on the court, and will be missed. Not many players I like watching play more than him.

- It was interesting to see Wheelwright and Richardson getting late playing time over Scott Bamforth and Kyle Bullinger. Good call by Randy Rahe to go with what was working, rather than simply what was more conventional.

- Portland State shot 8/14 from downtown which is excellent, but WSU still did what they could to take away from the Vikings getting in the lane. They did a nice job on Odum late in the game. PSU also hit the offensive glass very well. They played a good game, but they just didn't have enough in this one.

Weber State is not looking for style points obviously, so they will take this game every day of the week. At the end of the week, all that matters is that they are going to the Big Sky championship game. The Damian Lillard Show continues for at least one more night.

Follow me on Twitter @bigskybball

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