Weber State closed out the regular season with its 11th straight win, beating Eastern Washington 65-57 Saturday night at the Dee Events Center. The Wildcats will now enter the Big Sky Tournament as the number two seed and will face seventh seeded Northern Arizona Thursday at 3:00 p.m. in Missoula, Mont.
The Wildcats got off to a great start against the Eagles and held an 11-4 lead early on. They led by 11 points at 23-12 with 9:30 to play in the first half when Eastern Washington rattled a 14-4 run and cut the lead to one point with four minutes remaining in the half. WSU held a 35-30 lead at halftime.
The 'Cats never trailed in the second half but the game was close all the way. The 'Cats held an eight point lead at 13:24 to play but the Eagles posted a run once again and cut the lead to one point at 51-50 with 6:00 to play. That's when senior Scott Bamforth responded with seven straight Weber State points and the 'Cats were able to hold on for their 18th straight Big Sky home victory.
The Wildcats outrebounded Eastern Washington 42-34 but shot just 40 percent from the field and 40 percent from the three-point line. The 'Cats came into the game leading the nation in both categories. WSU also committed 12 turnovers on the night but held the Eagles to 34 percent shooting.
On a night they were honored as the two seniors on this year's squad Bamforth and Frank Otis really came through for Weber State. Bamforth finished with a game-high 18 points on 7-10 shooting, including 3-6 shooting from three-point range. Bamforth passed Rico Washington and moved into 12th place on the WSU career scoring list. He also is 19 three-pointers away from becoming the school's all-time leader.
For the second-straight season Weber State finishes with just two conference losses, but for the second-straight year the 'Cats are second in the league standings to Montana. The Grizzlies repeated as league champions with a 19-1 conference record and will host next week's tournament and receive a bye into the semifinals. The Wildcats will be the two seed against Northern Arizona. North Dakota is the three seed and will play Southern Utah and Montana State is the fourth seed and will play Northern Colorado.
If Weber State wins Thursday the 'Cats would play the highest remaining seed at 5:30 Friday night. The championship game will be Saturday at 7:00 p.m. with the winner advancing to the NCAA Tournament.