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WSU knocks off NAU, improves to 7-0 in conference

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WSU’s Kyle Tresnak shoots during WSU’s 81-67 win over Nothern Arizona. Tresnak had a career high 22 points.

On Thursday night, the Weber State University men’s basketball team improved to 7-0 with an 81-67 win over Northern Arizona University.

For the Wildcats, Damian Lillard was held in check by NAU for much of the game. WSU was able to pound the ball inside for much of the game, taking advantage of being a much bigger team.

The Wildcats finished the game with 40 points in the paint.

Kyle Tresnak dominated inside early on in the game, easily scoring six points in the first four minutes of the game. He scored eight of the first 12 points for WSU.

Throughout the game, Tresnak challenged the NAU defense. He said that WSU took advantage of a height advantage in the first half, scoring most of its points in the paint early on.

Lillard got off to a slow start and didn’t score till 12 minutes into the first half. Lillard hit a 3-pointer with eight minutes left in the half to give the Wildcats a 26-20 lead. He said it’s nice to be able to rely on teammates and know they’ll be there to help score points.

“I trust my teammates,” Lillard said. “These guys can play. . . . Tonight, they showed me so much attention, all I could do was help them rebound balls and find open guys because so much attention was on me.”

Halfway through the first half, Lillard received one of the loudest cheers of the half. He got a steal at midcourt, raced down the floor and dunked the ball, drawing loud cheers from the crowd.

While he didn’t score much in the first half, he made key plays to keep WSU in the lead.

NAU kept the game close for much of the half, but in the last five minutes, the Wildcats started to pull away. Jordan Richardson hit a shot with two minutes to go, which helped WSU extend its lead to 46-37 at halftime.

At the break, the two teams were evenly matched. WSU shot 63.3 percent from the field, while NAU shot 63 percent. Both teams also had 24 points in the paint. One statistic that WSU controlled was points scored off of turnovers, outscoring NAU off turnovers 11-4 in the half.

In the second half, WSU quickly extended its lead and were up 53-40 four minutes into the half.

With eight minutes left in the game, Tresnak scored his 20th point of the game, which was his career high. He finished the night with 22 points, one steal and one block.

Tresnak was the leading scorer for WSU. Lillard had 18 points on the night and pulled to within 12 points of the No. 3 place on the WSU career points list.

Otis finished the night with 12 points in the 81-67 win. Otis had a good night shooting the ball, going 5-5 from the field. He also pulled down three rebounds for WSU.

Tresnak said that he has been playing a lot better this season thanks to work he put in during the offseason.

“It all goes to the offseason when I dropped a lot of weight,” Tresnak said, “and was able to work on my foot speed and all that.”

Lillard also said that Tresnak has put in a lot of extra work.

“I see him in the gym a lot working on his mid-range jumper,” Lillard said.

The Wildcats will now have a week off before they return to action against Sacramento State University, in Sacramento, Calif.

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