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'Cats look for 20th win Saturday against Eagles
Courtesy: Weber State  
Release: Wednesday 02/10/2012
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Courtesy: Weber State
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Kyle Bullinger had a season-high 16 points in Thursday's win at NAU.

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Weber State (19-4, 11-1) will host Eastern Washington (11-3, 5-6) Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Dee Events Center.
 
QUICK HITS
•  The Weber State men’s basketball team returns home Saturday night to take on Eastern Washington in their final conference home game of the season.  
•  The ‘Cats are coming off a 67-49 win at Northern Arizona Thursday night.
•  WSU is looking for its 25th 20+win season in 50 years of Division I basketball.
•  Eastern Washington enters the game with an 11-13 overall record and a 5-6 mark in league play entering their only game of the week.    
•  Weber State has clinched at least second place in the Big Sky standings.
 
MORE ON SATURDAY’S GAME
   The Wildcats and Eagles will tipoff at 7:35 p.m. Saturday from the Dee Events Center.  The game will be broadcast live on KZNS-1280 AM “The Zone” with the voice of the Wildcats and the 2011 Utah Sportscaster of the Year Carl Arky calling the action.  Dutch Belnap will provide commentary.     The game can also be seen for free on the internet at bigskytv.org.  In addition, live stats will be available at WeberstateSports.com.
 Saturday’s game will be the second half of a doubleheader with the WSU women’s team hosting Northern Arizona at 5:00 p.m. 
 
LILLARD LEADS WILDCATS IN SCORING AGAIN
 Weber State junior Damian Lillard led the Wildcats in scoring for the 17th time in 23 games this season as he finished with 18 points in Thursday’s win at NAU.  Lillard was 5-12 from the field and was 8-9 from the free throw line.  He also added five assists, three rebounds and two steals in the win.  However, he was 0-2 from three-point land, marking the first time he has not made a three-pointer in a game this season.
 Lillard continues to lead the nation in scoring, now at 25.2 points per game.  He has 580 points on the season, which is now the 12th most in WSU single-season history after just 23 games. 
      
LILLARD A NATIONAL FINALIST FOR THREE AWARDS
 This week 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.
 
SEASON-HIGH FOR KYLE BULLINGER
 WSU senior Kyle Bullinger had a season-high 16 points in Thursday’s win, the fifth time he has scored in double figures this season.  Bullinger was 5-9 from the field, including 3-5 from three-point land.   With the three threes he moved passed Nick Hansen into fifth place on the WSU career three-pointer list with 143 career three-pointers. Bullinger now is 18 points away from becoming the 26th player in Weber State history to reach 1,000 career points.  He currently ranks 15th in WSU history in career rebounds with 542. 
 
DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR BYRON FULTON
 Sophomore forward Byron Fulton posted his second career double-double in Thursday’s win, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds.  Fulton was 5-7 from the field, including 3-4 from three-point land and also added two assists.  On the season Fulton is averaging 6.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game for the Wildcats. 

WILDCATS HAVE CLINCHED AT LEAST SECOND IN TOURNAMENT
 With Thursday’s win over NAU Weber State improved to 11-1 in Big Sky play with four conference games remaining.  With that victory and losses by Montana State and Idaho State, Weber State has now clinched no worse than second in the conference standings.  The ‘Cats have also clinched a bye into the semifinals of the Big Sky Tournament.  Montana, also 11-1 in league play, has also clinched no worse than second place, meaning the Big Sky Tournament will be held March 6-7 in either Ogden or Missoula.  Weber State finishes the regular season Feb. 28 at Montana. 
 
HOME COURT SUCCESS
 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.
 
‘CATS LOOKING FOR 20 WINS
 Saturday night the Wildcats will look for their 20th win of the season.  With one more win the Wildcats will reach 20 or more wins in a season for the 25th time in 50 seasons of Division I basketball.  With one more victory Coach Randy Rahe will reach 20 or more wins in four of six seasons with the Wildcats.  The other three seasons Rahe has led the ‘Cats to 20 or more wins they won the Big Sky Championship. 
 
MORE REBOUNDS MEANS WINS
 The Wildcats pulled down 40 rebounds in Thursday’s victory the most rebounds they have recorded in their last seven games.  WSU improved to 13-0 this season when outrebounding their opponents.  They are 6-3 on the year when being outrebounded. 
 
WILDCATS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
  Weber State continues to lead the nation in free throw percentage, now at 80.3 percent.  The ‘Cats are the only team in the nation shooting better than 79 percent from the line.  They are also third in the country in three-point field goals per game (9.3), fifth in turnovers (10.5), and sixth three-point field goal percentage (.413).  They are also 14th in scoring offense
 Individually Damian Lillard is first in scoring (25.2), sixth in three-pointers made per game (3.3), ninth in three-point percentage (45.8) and 22nd in free throw percentage (87.9).  Scott Bamforth is fourth in free throw percentage (90.4).
 
About eastern washington
  While Weber State played at Northern Arizona Thursday and then traveled back home for Saturday’s game, Eastern Washington had the entire week off before taking on the Wildcats Saturday.  The Eagles enter the game with an 11-13 overall record and a 5-6 mark in Big Sky games.  They were 6-7 in the preseason the opened conference play 3-2 before losing four straight.  They then won two straight before losing at home to Sacramento State last Saturday.  The Eagles are 5-9 on the road this season.  
 The game will feature two of the top three-point teams in the country.  Weber State ranks third in the country in three-point field goals per game at 9.3 while the Eagles are seventh at 9.1 per game.  Eastern Washington leads the Big Sky in steals at 7.2 points per game and is also first in offensive rebounds and turnover margin.  They rank last in field goal percentage, shooting just 40.7 percent.  They are also last in rebounding defense and eighth in rebounding margin.   
 The Eagles are led by Colin Chiverton who is third in the league in scoring at 16.2 per game.  Cliff Ederaine is second in the league in rebounding at 8.2. 
 
HEAD COACH JIM HAYFORD
  The Eagles are coached by Jim Hayford who is in his first season as head coach at Eastern Washington.  Hayford was hired as the 17th coach in EWU history in March 2011, replacing former WSU assistant coach Kirk Earlywine.  Hayford spent the previous ten seasons as head coach at Division III Whitworth in Spokane where he compiled a 217-57 career record.  He also spent two years as head coach at Sioux Falls.  Former NBA player Craig Ehlo is in his first season as one of the assistant coaches for the Eagles.
 
SERIES HISTORY
  This will be the 61st all-time meeting between Weber State and Eastern Washington with the Wildcats holding a 40-20 all-time series lead and the ‘Cats have won seven of the last eight games played against the Eagles, including earlier this season in Cheney. 
 In games played in Ogden Weber State holds a 26-4 all-time lead and have won five of the last six in Ogden.  Eastern Washington was the last team to defeat the Wildcats in Ogden, winning 75-59 last March 2.  WSU head coach Randy Rahe is 9-3 in his career against Eastern Washington.
 
EARLIER THIS SEASON IN CHENEY - 01/05/12 - WSU 76, EWU 69
  The Wildcats beat the Eagles 76-69 on Jan. 5 in Cheney behind 30 points from Damian Lillard.  Scott Bamforth added 19 and Kyle Tresnak had 13.  The Wildcats shot 43 percent from the field and held the Eagles to 35 percent shooting.  The ‘Cats outrebounded the Eagles 44-31.  Weber State did commit a season-high 22 turnovers in the game. 
 
AROUND THE BIG SKY
  Weber State and Montana both improved to 11-1 in league play and clinched no worse than second in the league standings.  Montana State, Idaho State and Portland State are all 6-6 with Eastern Washington 5-6.  Northern Colorado and Sacramento State are tied at 4-8.  Montana visits Sacramento State Saturday night. 

INJURY WOES ADDING UP
 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 31 player games due to injury. 
 
QUOTING WSU HEAD COACH RANDY RAHE
  “It will be difficult to come home for a quick turnaround after a road game so we have to be ready to play.  Eastern Washington is one of the most athletic teams in the league.   They are as talented as any team in the league and will be a tough test for us.”
 
LOOKING AHEAD
  After Saturday’s game the Wildcats will have their final three Big Sky Conference games on the road.  WSU will next play at Montana State next Wednesday.  The final home game of the season will be next Saturday when they host UT Arlington in a Sears Bracketbusters game that will be televised on ESPN3.
 

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