OGDEN – Weber State set a new school and Big Sky Conference record with its 28th win of the season as the Wildcats beat Air Force 78-57 Saturday night at the Dee Events Center in the second round of the Collegeinsider.com Tournament.
The Wildcats will be back home in the quarterfinals of the CIT Wednesday night when they host the winner of the UC Irvine/Oral Roberts game.
“I was really proud of how we executed our game plan against a really tough Air Force team,” said WSU head coach Randy Rahe. “We came to play again and played tough and together. It’s a really good win for us. We played with really good confidence and didn’t panic.”
The win breaks the WSU school record of 27 wins set by Phil Johnson’s squad in 1968-69 and is also a new Big Sky Conference record for wins in a season.
“Reaching that record is terrific for our program and I’m really happy for our players,” Rahe added. “I think it really speaks volumes for our players and how tough they have worked. It’s a great accomplishment and it’s something they will never forget.”
WSU also had another school record broken Saturday night. WSU senior Scott Bamforth knocked down five three-pointers and became the Weber State career leader with 247 three-pointers, breaking Damian Lillard’s previous record of 246. Bamforth is now tied for fifth in Big Sky history in career three-pointers.
He finished the game with 21 points on 6-14 shooting and grabbed three rebounds on the night. Junior Kyle Tresnak also added 21 points on 9-10 shooting and grabbed five rebounds. Gelaun Wheelwright had 10 points and Royce Williams added eight off the bench.
The Wildcats never trailed in the game, the first meeting with the Falcons in 37 years. With the score tied 13-13 the Wildcats went on a 12-2 run over the next three minutes and took a 25-15 lead with under 9:00 to play. Air Force cut the lead to six points at 38-32 at halftime.
Weber State started the second half on an 11-2 run and jumped out to a 15-point lead early in the second half. The lead was never less than seven points. WSU outscored Air Force 18-4 in the final 7:23 of the game.
The Wildcats shot 54 percent from the field and held the Falcons to 38 percent shooting, including just 25 percent in the second half. WSU also knocked down 10 three-pointers, compared to just four for Air Force. The Falcons did outrebound the Wildcats 32-28, marking just the second time this season Weber State has won the game when being outrebounded.
Weber State has faced both UC Irvine and Oral Roberts this season and defeated both teams. WSU beat UC Irvine 65-51 on Dec. 8 in Ogden and won 70-66 Feb. 23 in Tulsa, Okla. WSU has now won 13 straight home games and is 16-1 at home this season. A total of 6,113 fans attended Saturday’s game.