The "haze" was definitely not purple Wednesday night in Pauley Pavilion. Miami (Ohio) guard KENNY HAYES converted a four-point play with just two seconds left on the clock, lifting the RedHawks to a 70-66 win over Weber State in the 2K Sports Classic, benefitting Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament.
Hayes, a 6-2 slick shooting senior guard hit 8-12 shots from the field including an eye-popping SEVEN FOR SEVEN from the new extended three-point arc. The game was tied at 61-61 with 2:04 left when Hayes hit his sixth trey of the evening putting the RedHawks up by three. After a three-point miss by freshman guard DAMIAN LILLARD of Weber State, Miami's ANTONIO BALLARD made one of two free throws upping the margin to four with 1:34 left.
Wildcat guard KELLEN McCOY missed a jumper at the 1:09 mark and Miami got the rebound, but MICHAEL RAMOS missed a three-pointer with 41 seconds and McCOY rebounded, threw an outlet to NICK HANSEN who buried a three-pointer with 30 seconds left bringing the 'Cats to within one at 65-54.
LILLARD fouled BRAMOS sending him to the line for two shots with 26 seconds remaining. BRAMOS missed the first and made the second. McCOY, playing the point with a mild ankle sprain, took the ball and raced down the lane for the tying basket with 16 seconds left setting up the storybook ending for Hayes.
"I hate to lose, but I was really pleased with the way we played and how hard we played," said WSU head coach Randy Rahe. "The turnovers came back to haunt us in the middle of the second half after we had built a nice lead. We started off a bit nervous but I thought we did a nice job of settling down and playing after the first five minutes. Miami is a good team. We took our best swing, landed a good punch but it just wasn't quite hard enough to make them fall."
The RedHawks jumped out to a quick 8-0 on two three pointers and a two pointer by HAYES, but McCOY answered with five unanswered points of his own to get the Wildcats rolling. The Wildcats closed to within one (34-33) at half time on two free throws by red-shirt freshman forward KYLE BULLINGER with two seconds left.
The Wildcats came out with fire in their eyes with a 15-4 scoring run, taking a 49-39 lead with 13:51 left in the game. BULLINGER hit back to back three pointers to end WSU's run. The RedHawks then put together a 21-9 scoring run over the next eight minutes, finally taking the lead for good at 5:13 on a lay up by KRAMER SODERBERG.
McCOY led the Wildcats with 16 points, five rebounds and four assists in 30 minutes. BULLINGER, playing in his first official game as a collegiate player, started and played 29 minutes scoring 13 points. TREVOR MORRIS came off the bench to lead the 'Cats in rebounding with eight in 17 minutes.
The Wildcats (0-1) now face the loser of the Prairie View A&M / UCLA game tomorrow (Thursday, Nov. 13) at 6:15 p.m. (MST) in Pauley Pavilion. Weber State doesn't play again until Saturday, November 22 when they travel back to Southern California to face Long Beach State in a 4:05 (PST) tip off.