Strong second half propels Weber State to first road win

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SACRAMENTO, CALIF. -- The Weber State Wildcats said they felt comfortable playing on the road in the Big Sky, and Saturday night they proved it. The Wildcats defeated the Sacramento State Hornets 80-65 in their conference opener.

The Wildcats (3-4, 1-0 Big Sky) used a strong second half and 27 points from sophomore point guard Damian Lillard to get their first road win of the season.

Lillard was 8-16 from the field, including three three-pointers and was 8-9 from the free throw line.

The Wildcats shot just 29 percent from the field and scored just 30 points in the first half, but found themselves down only two points at halftime to the Hornets (4-5, 0-1).

"The atmosphere for some reason I don't know what it is, it slows our mind down, slows our bodies down," Weber State Head Coach Randy Rahe said trying to explain the slow start. "We responded well to being down early and bounced back in the second half, we had a lot of energy and I was pleased with our effort in the second half."

Rahe credits junior college transfer Franklin Session fro the second half surge.

"He was flying all over the place; Franklin is a high energy player."

Session had a break out game setting a career high in five different categories. Session scored 14 points on 5-11 shooting from the field, and 3-4 at the free throw line. He also added six assists and four steals to help the Wildcat effort.

Of his 18 rebounds, seven were on the offensive side.

"Pretty outstanding for a 6 foot 2 guard to get 18 rebounds," said a proud Rahe. "It's just goes to show you that when you play with energy you just keep competing and things just happen."

Weber State shot over 50 percent and outscored the Hornets 50-33 in the second half.

It was a back and forth affair early in the second period until the Wildcats, down 45-42 with 14 minutes to go, went on a 10-0 run. By the six minute mark they were on a 17-5 run, extending their lead 59-48.

The Wildcats never looked back, leading by as many as 17 points in the game.

Weber State was able to take care of the ball for a second straight game only turning the ball over seven times. Against Utah, the Wildcats turned the ball over just five times.

The road victory is exactly what Rahe was looking for.

"It's what you try to do, you try to hold down home court and steal what you can. It was a team win and good to get that first conference road victory."

Weber State guard Nick Hansen contributed 17 points.

The Hornets were led by Sultan Toles-Bey's 14 points and Michael Selling who chipped in with 13 points and 6 rebounds.

The Wildcats will be traveling back home to Ogden to host Montana Tech in a non-conference game.

Tip off is set for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the Dee Events Center.

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