'Cats hit the road at NAU Thursday
Courtesy: Weber State  
Release: Thursday 02/07/2012
Courtesy: Weber State
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Gelaun Wheelwright scored a career-high 11 points in Saturday's win over Northern Colorado.

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Weber State (18-4, 10-1) will play at Northern Arizona (5-19, 1-11) Thursday, Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m. 
•  After two home wins last week the Weber State Wildcats hit the road for a game at Northern Arizona Thursday. 
•  WSU junior Damian Lillard averaged 37.5 points per game in two home wins last week.
•  The Wildcats are now 18-4 overall and 10-1 in Big Sky play and have clinched a spot in the Big Sky Tournament. 
•  The ‘Cats finish with four of five conference games on the road.  
•  Northern Arizona is 5-19 overall and 1-11 in Big Sky play and has lost 11 straight games heading into Thursday’s game. 
   The Wildcats and Lumberjacks will tipoff at 6:30 p.m. Thursday from the Rolle Activity Center in Flagstaff, Arizona.  The game will be broadcast live on KZNS-1280 AM “The Zone” with the Steve Klauke, calling all the action, filling in for Carl Arky.
  The game can also be seen for free on the internet at bigskytv.org.  In addition, live stats will be available at nauathletics.com
 The game will also be televised live on Fox College Sports Pacific, which is available on DirecTV channel 617 or 623.
 Junior Damian Lillard, the nation’s leading scorer, had an incredible week for the Wildcats, in leading Weber State to two victories.  He scored 40 points in Thursday’s win over Portland State and followed that up with 35 points in Saturday’s victory over Northern Colorado. 
 For his performance he was honored as the Big Sky Player of the Week for the fifth time this season.  In the two games he averaged 37.5 points, five assists, two rebounds and one steal per game.  He shot 69.7 percent from the field, 64.7 percent from 3-point range, and 70 percent from the free-throw line.
 Lillard continues to lead the nation in scoring, which he has since late November, now at 25.5 points per game. 
 In Saturday’s game he scored his 1,700th career point and currently ranks second in WSU school history in career scoring with 1,722 points and is 12th in Big Sky history.  He is 307 points behind Bruce Collins, WSU’s career leader in scoring.  He is also second in WSU history and eighth in Big Sky history in career three-pointers with 228, just 13 behind John Hamilton for the school record. 
 This season Lillard’s 562 points ranks as the 13th most in WSU single-season history after just 22 games.  His scoring average is more than two points ahead of the next best single-season average.  His 76 three-pointers rank as the fourth most in WSU single-season history.   
 Monday Lillard was added to the Oscar Robertson Trophy Midseason Watch list.  He has also been named as one of 11 finalists for the 2012 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the Year Award, recognizing the top point guard in college basketball.
 Beginning Feb. 6th fans will be able to vote for the top point guard. The player that receives the most fan votes will receive one vote toward the final committee vote. Fan voting will run one month – beginning February 6th and will conclude March 6th.  The current listing of 11 finalists for the 2012 Bob Cousy Award will be narrowed down to five players on March 8th. The winner of the 2012 Bob Cousy Award will be awarded at the Hall of Fame’s Class Announcement on Monday April 2nd in New Orleans as part of NCAA Final Four weekend.
 Lillard is also a finalist for the John Wooden Award.

 While it may not garner the headlines due to Lillard’s incredible week, WSU junior Scott Bamforth had a great weekend for the Wildcats as well last week.  Bamforth averaged 17 points, seven rebounds, and six assists per game and shot 50 percent from the field in helping the Wildcats to two victories.  He had 16 points and posted a career-high eight rebounds and tied his career-high with seven assists in Thursday’s game against the Vikings.  He had 18 points, six rebounds and six assists in Saturday’s win over Northern Colorado.  He was also 5-12 from three-point land for the week and shot a perfect 7-7 from the free throw line. 
 On the season the Albuquerque, New Mexico native ranks fourth in the Big Sky in scoring at 15.7 points per game and is averaging 17.5 per game in the Big Sky games.  He currently leads the Big Sky and is fourth in the nation in free throw percentage at 90.3 percent. 
 Weber State senior Darin Mahoney, who last week was named to the Capital One Academic All-District VIII team, became the 25th player in Weber State history to record 500 career rebounds, when he pulled down five rebounds in Saturday’s win. 
 Mahoney, who has played in 113 career games in his four years with the Wildcats, is averaging 4.2 points and 6.0 rebounds per game for the Wildcats this season.  
 With a 10-1 conference record the Wildcats have now clinched a spot in the 2012 Big Sky Tournament.  It marks the 35th time the Wildcats will participate in the tournament, having missed the tournament just twice since it began in 1976.  The Wildcats have won eight Big Sky postseason tournaments.
 With two wins this week, or with one win and one Montana State and Idaho State loss, Weber State will clinch no worse than second in the league standings and receive a bye into the tournament semifinals.  Montana is currently tied with the Wildcats for first place at 10-1.   
 The Wildcats improved to 13-0 at home this season, which is their best home start since the 2002-03 season when they finished 13-0 at home.  WSU’s best ever home record is 14-0 which has happened three times (1965-66 , 1968-69, and 1998-99).  
 Dating back to last season the Wildcats have won 14 straight and 21 of their last 22 games at the Dee Events Center.  WSU head coach Randy Rahe is 43-4 at home in Big Sky regular season games in his six seasons at Weber State.
 Weber State will finish with four of its final five conference games on the road and the final three conference games (Montana State, Northern Colorado and Montana) will all be on the road.   So far this season the Wildcats are 4-4 on the road but are 3-1 in Big Sky road games. 
 The Wildcats are averaging 71.8 points per game in road games but are giving up 75.5 a game on the road.  In contrast they average 84.9 points in home games and allow 64.8 per game.
 The Wildcats had just 25 rebounds in Saturday’s win over Northern Colorado, their second fewest rebounds in a game this season.  They were outrebounded 39-25 in the game, their worst rebounding margin of the season.  WSU was outrebounded in both games last week and averaged just 26 rebounds per game.   
 For the season the Wildcats are averaging 35.0 rebounds per game, ranking third in the Big Sky.  They are fourth in rebounding margin at +2.1.  In Big Sky games WSU is sixth in rebounding at 32.1 per game and is fifth in rebounding margin at -0.2.
  Weber State ranks in the top four in the nation in four categories.  The Wildcats continue to lead the nation in free throw percentage, shooting 80.0 percent from the line.  They are also third in the country in three-point field goals per game (9.5), third in turnovers (10.2), and fourth three-point field goal percentage (.414).  They are also 13th in scoring offense
 Individually Damian Lillard is first in scoring (25.5), fourth in three-pointers made per game (3.5), sixth in three-point percentage (46.3) and 25th in free throw percentage (87.9).  Scott Bamforth is fourth in free throw percentage (90.3).
  Northern Arizona enters Thursday’s game with a 5-19 overall record and a 1-11 mark in Big Sky Conference play.  They have lost 11 straight games heading into Thursday’s game.  NAU picked up a preseason win at Arizona State and then began Big Sky play with a win over Sacramento State on Dec. 29.  However they have lost 11 straight games since then. NAU is 4-6 at home, including 1-5 at home in conference games. 
 The Lumberjacks are last in the Big Sky in scoring offense at 62.4 points per game, with Weber State ranking first at 79.4 per game.  They are also last in scoring margin (WSU is first) and last in field goal percentage defense and blocks and rank eighth in free throw percentage, field goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage.
 Individually James Douglas leads the Lumberjacks at 13 points per game, which is 10th in the Big Sky.  Durrell Norman is 10th in rebounding at 5.7 per game.  Stallon Saldivar, a Salt Lake City native, is second in the conference in assists at 5.2 per game and is also second in assist/turnover ratio. 
  The Lumberjacks are coached by Dave Brown who took over as head coach on Dec. 9 after longtime head coach Mike Adras resigned.  Brown has 26 years of coaching experience at the Division I, junior college and high school levels.  At the age of 70, Brown is the second oldest active head coach in Division I basketball.  Only Tevester Anderson, 74, of Jackson State is older than Brown.  He has been director of the Walkup Skydome for 22 years and is in his 30th year at NAU.  He has served as the color commentator for NAU men’s basketball games since the 2008-09 season.  He also spent seven seasons as the head coach of the NAU women’s basketball team from 1984-90.
  This will be the 95th meeting ever between Weber State and Northern Arizona with the Wildcats holding a 68-26 all-time series edge and the Wildcats have won seven straight games in the series.  WSU has swept the series in each of the last three seasons.  The last NAU victory over the Wildcats came in the semifinals of the 2008 Big Sky Tournament in Portland.  In games played in Flagstaff NAU holds a 25-19 all-time advantage but Weber State has won three straight and four of the last five in Flagstaff.  WSU head coach Randy Rahe is 10-3 in his career against Northern Arizona. 
 Weber State defeated NAU 81-67 on Jan. 19 in Ogden.  The Wildcats shot 57 percent from the field, with NAU shooting 52 percent.  Kyle Tresnak led the Wildcats with a career-high 22 points.  Damian Lillard added 18 for the ‘Cats. 

 WSU junior Frank Otis and freshman James Hajek are both likely out for the season.  Otis suffered an MCL injury in his knee.  He started the first seven games of the season for the Wildcats before dislocating his knee at BYU and missing the next nine games and returned against Montana on Jan. 14 and played in the next two games before the injury in his other knee. 
 Hajek dislocated his knee in the Jan. 7 game at Portland State, then reinjured his knee in practice.  He played in 15 games.
 So far this season Weber State has missed 29 player games due to injury. 
  “It is always tough to play in Flagstaff and NAU has been playing a lot of close games lately.  They are always a difficult team to guard and they have some talented players.  We always have to be ready to play every night in this league.”
  After Thursday’s game the Wildcats return home for their final Big Sky home game when they host Eastern Washington Saturday.  That game will begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be the second half of a doubleheader with the Weber State women’s team hosting Northern Arizona at 5:00 p.m. 

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