Wildcats shoot down fiesty Mavericks in Bracketbusters

Feb 19 2012 - 2:01am

Images

NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner
Weber State University guard Scott Bamforth (4) tries to take the ball from University of Texas at Arlington forward LaMarcus Reed (31) at Dee Events Center in Ogden on Saturday.
University of Texas at Arlington forward Kevin Butler (24) runs into Weber State University forwards Byron Fulton (25) and Darin Mahoney (30) at Dee Events Center in Ogden on Saturday.
NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner
From left, Weber State University guard Scott Bamforth (4), guard Damian Lillard (1) and forward Kyle Bullinger (3) walk of the court during a time out during the game against University of Texas at Arlington at Dee Events Center in Ogden on Saturday.
NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner
Weber State University guard Scott Bamforth (4) tries to take the ball from University of Texas at Arlington forward LaMarcus Reed (31) at Dee Events Center in Ogden on Saturday.
University of Texas at Arlington forward Kevin Butler (24) runs into Weber State University forwards Byron Fulton (25) and Darin Mahoney (30) at Dee Events Center in Ogden on Saturday.
NICHOLAS DRANEY/Standard-Examiner
From left, Weber State University guard Scott Bamforth (4), guard Damian Lillard (1) and forward Kyle Bullinger (3) walk of the court during a time out during the game against University of Texas at Arlington at Dee Events Center in Ogden on Saturday.

OGDEN -- Weber State put dagger after 3-point dagger into UT Arlington's 16-game winning streak in the second half, but the Mavericks somehow managed to stagger to the final second with one last-gasp chance to win.

Too late.

Weber State held on to a 72-70 Bracketbusters win by the skin of its teeth Saturday in front of 8,952 at the Dee Events Center as Texas-Arlington forward LaMarcus Reed III stole the ball on the final play and put up an off-target 3-point shot that was waived off anyway by the officials with time expired.

Junior guard Scott Bamforth scored 16 of his game-high 19 points and was 4-of-6 from beyond the arc in the second half for Weber State (22-4), which extended its own home winning streak to 16 games, 15-0 this season.

"Our kids, in the back of their mind, they take a lot of pride in that," Weber State coach Randy Rahe said. "We've won all of our games at home and there's no question, they didn't want to give that up.

"We kind of talked about that before game, they've won 16 in a row, we've won all of our games at home, something has to give on the court -- let's make sure it's not us."

The Big Sky and Southland Conference teams brought some postseason intensity to the Bracketbusters contest despite the fact that they were stepping away from conference play at a crucial time.

"I loved the atmosphere. I loved the crowd. I loved how both teams attacked the game. Both teams were into it, they wanted it," Rahe said. "They wanted it a little bit more in the first half than we did. We weren't happy about that at halftime and we had to let our guys know, but that second half, it was just a good old fashioned fistfight, two teams trying to compete and do whatever it took to win. We just happened to hold on there at the end."

Bamforth hit one of two free throws with 20 seconds remaining to put Weber State up four points before 6-foot-10 center Jordan Reves, who had a team-high 18 points for UT Arlington (20-6), put back a 3-point miss by Bo Ingram to cut WSU's lead to two before the final sequence.

Reves and Reed each scored 16 points for Arlington, while Reves and Ingram each grabbed 10 rebounds to post double-doubles.

The Mavericks ran herd on the 'Cats late in the first half, holding them to one field goal over the final eight minutes while going on a 12-2 run to grab a 27-24 advantage at the break.

Weber State shot only 28.6 percent from beyond the arc in the first half, but Bamforth and sophomore forward Byron Fulton busted out of the gate in the second half, rifling in 3 after 3 as Weber State built a 16-point lead with over nine minutes remaining. The 'Cats hit 10-of-20 3-point tries in the second half and finished at 41.2 percent for the game.

Bamforth was 1-of-6 from 3-point range before the half, but he didn't change anything, he said.

"I kept telling (Damian Lillard), I'm going to knock them down eventually because I was so wide open. It was frustrating, but I just stayed confident, he just stayed confident, telling me, 'If you're open shoot it.'"

Lillard, Weber State's NBA prospect junior point guard, ran into foul trouble for the second straight game but finished with 17 points, seven assists and seven rebounds.

Lillard (24.5 points per game) fell behind Oakland (Mich.) player Reggie Hamilton (25.1 ppg) for the NCAA scoring lead for the first time since Nov. 28. The two were tied entering Saturday but Hamilton had 34 points in a loss to Illinois State.

Lillard, the Oakland, Calif., native, didn't mind taking a break from the Big Sky for a non-league opponent.

"That's what we come to college for: to get an education and play basketball games," he said. "We're all young men. That's what we want to do, play games."

Fulton caught fire in the second half, hitting 3-of-5 treys and scoring all 11 of his points to reach double figures off the bench for the fifth straight game for WSU. Freshman guard Gelaun Wheelwright hit a couple of 3s as well and had eight points and five assists.

Weber State's two seniors both reached milestones on Senior Night. Wasatch High product Darin Mahoney pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds and forward Kyle Bullinger, a Mountain View, Wyo., native, scored eight points to become the 26th player in school history to score 1,000 points.

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