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Cats win close one in Washington

[media-credit name=”Bryan Butterfield” align=”alignright” width=”200″][/media-credit]

Weber State University’s Kyle Tresnak dunks the ball during a recent home game. The Wildcats knocked off Eastern Washington University 76-69 on Thursday night.

The Weber State University men’s basketball team was able to weather the storm during their first road game of Big Sky Conference play. The Wildcats knocked off Eastern Washington University 76-69 on Thursday night.

Damian Lillard said that the team played well and was able to overcome a few challenges in the game.

“The whole team played well tonight, and we stayed through their storm as they came back and found a way to win,” Lillard said.  “We stayed together and kept our composure and picked up a good road win for us.”

The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead, but the Eagles kept the game close. With 14:00 minutes to go in the half, WSU had a 12-9 lead.

Lillard was able to extend the WSU lead, scoring 11 early points and helping WSU to a 17-9 lead. In the first 10 minutes of the game, Lillard went 6-6, including hitting three 3-pointers.

As the first half progressed, WSU was able to assert its dominance and take control of the game. Cliff Colimon tried to keep the Eagles in the game and hit two 3-pointers, which cut the WSU lead to 10 points four minutes before halftime.

Colimon kept EWU in the game through the first half, and by halftime, he had cut the WSU lead to three points.

WSU Head Coach Randy Rahe said that he was pleased with the way his team responded when faced with a challenge.

“I was really proud of how hard we played, and we were able to find a way to get the win,” Rahe said.  “Eastern Washington really pressured us on defense, but we fought really hard.  We were able to knock down our shots and did what we needed to do.  It was a great effort by the entire team tonight.” 

The Eagles came out strong in the second half and tied up the game up on a Colimon 3-pointer. Halfway through the second half, EWU took the lead. Much of the second half was tight, with the Wildcats and Eagles trading baskets for much of the half.

Scott Bamforth stepped up in the second half for WSU, scoring five quick points, which helped the Wildcats build a slight four-point lead, but once again, the Eagles fought back and kept the score close.

Byron Fulton wrapped up the game for the Wildcats with under three minutes to go. Lillard took the ball down inside and kicked it out to Fulton who hit a 3-pointer to extend the WSU lead to nine points. The Eagles were never able to recover, and WSU went on to win 76-69.

Lillard came up big down the stretch for the Wildcats, scoring 30 points in the game. He also had seven rebounds and a game-high five assists. With his 30 points, Lillard moved into sixth place on the all-time WSU scoring list.

WSU struggled in the game and didn’t have its best offensive performance.The ‘Cats committed a season-high 22 turnovers but shot 43 percent from the field and out-rebounded the Eagles 44-31 to secure the victory. 

Now the Wildcats will continue their road trip when they head to Portland State University on Saturday. WSU will look to win its sixth straight game and remain undefeated in conference play.

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