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OGDEN -- The Weber State University basketball team saw valuable contributions from its young players Tuesday night, as the Wildcats defeated the Colorado Christian University Cougars 97-73.
WSU guard Damian Lillard led all scorers with 25 points, and sophomore guard Scott Bamforth added 20 points in the Wildcat victory. Bamforth, who also grabbed four rebounds, went 4-of-7 from behind the arc.
Bamforth missed both of the team's exhibition games and saw his first playing time of the season Saturday night against Utah State University.
"He looked like he was coming back tonight," said WSU Head Coach Randy Rahe. "We've known Scott is a really good player and a guy that we're really going to be counting on. It was good to see him get those balls to drop and get some threes to go down. He knows how to play and he understands the game. He does a lot of other things for us than shooting threes, so it was really nice to see him start to get comfortable."
Bamforth credited his teammates and his coaches for his success Tuesday. Aside from recovering from a shoulder injury, the sophomore said it has been difficult readjusting to his team and finding his rhythm on the court.
"Every basketball player gets to where they have a feel for the game," Bamforth said. "My teammates did a great job of finding me and I just knocked down the shots that I could."
The game's first half was pretty even on both ends of the floor. CCU shot 40 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes, while WSU shot for 44 percent. CCU also pulled down 16 rebounds, compared to WUS's 18. At halftime, the Wildcats held a 31-30 lead over the Cougars.
WSU entered the second half playing a different game plan and focusing on aggression. After two minutes, the Wildcats had built their lead to 10 points.
"Usually at home, we come out in the second half and the first five minutes are really flat for us," Lillard said. "That's just something that we really put an emphasis on, and it's all mental. We told each other, ‘let's go out, get after them, have a good first five minutes and finish it off right.' We came out and did it and got the win."
The adjustments paid off for the Wildcats as WSU outscored CCU 66-43 in the second half.
WSU will travel to Salt Lake City to face the University of Utah Saturday at 4 p.m.
"We beat them last year," Lillard said of the Utes, "so I know they want to get back at us. It's on their court, so we've got to get ready for them to come out and play their hardest."