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OGDEN, Utah --- Weber State picked up a postseason victory with a 72-69 win over Utah Valley Tuesday night at the Dee Events Center in the first round of the Collegeinsider.com Tournament.
The Wildcats will advance to the second round this weekend. The date, site, and opponent will be announced Wednesday, following the other first rounds games.
Utah Valley jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead but Weber State responded with a 9-2 run to tie the game at 9-9. The 'Cats took a 20-13 lead with 6:50 to play but the Wolverines finished the half on a 16-9 run to tie the game at 29 at halftime.
Weber State never trailed in the second half and led by as many as 13 points with 12:25 to play. But Utah Valley would not give up and came back to tie the game at 66 with 1:41 to play. After a Damian Lillard three-pointer gave Weber State a lead, UVU's Isiah Williams hit a three for the Wolverines to tie the game at 69 with 1:14 to play. Weber State made three free throws down the stretch and UVU missed a three at the buzzer that would have tied the game.
"We knew Utah Valley would be a tough test and that was the case but I was proud of our team for how they came out and responded," said WSU head coach Randy Rahe. "We got things going a little bit in the second half and were able to do what we needed to. We are excited to keep playing."
Both teams shot 48 percent from the field. Utah Valley outrebounded Weber State 33-26 but the Wolverines had 17 turnovers compared to just nine for the Wildcats. Weber State also had 19 assists and had nine steals.
Damian Lillard led the Wildcats for the 25th time in 31 games this season, finishing with 21 points on 8-16 shooting. He also had five assists and two steals. He also became the second Wildcat to ever score 1,900 career points.
Scott Bamforth added 16 points, all coming in the second half. He also had five assists and four rebounds. Kyle Bullinger added nine points and Kyle Tresnak added eight.
Weber State improves to 25-6 on the season. It marks the sixth time the Wildcats have won 25 or more games. The 'Cats also improve to 16-0 at home this season, tied for the most home wins in school history. WSU has won 17 straight and 24 of the last 25 at home.
(Courtesy Weber State Athletics)