Wildcats top Eagles 79-70 in Big Sky quarterfinals
March 5, 2011
The first half was eerily reminiscent of last Wednesday’s game when the Eagles jumped out to a 40-22 half time lead. EWU led 45-33 at the break, getting 22 first half points from guard Cliff Colimon. Colimon was 6-9 from the field, including 5-6 from beyond the arc, and was 5-6 from the line. EWU shot 52 percent from the field (13-25) and 7-9 from long range, while the Wildcats managed just 9-24 (.375). Only a 13-19 performance at the line kept the Eagles from flying away.
EWU’s Jeffrey Forbes opened the second half with a three ball, making it 48-33, giving the Eagles their largest lead of the game. The Wildcats regrouped and put together an impressive 18-4 scoring run, six of them coming on two three’s from Lindsey Hughey. The ‘Cats rallied back to within one at 52-51 with 13:39 left.
Cliff Colimon answered with an old fashion three-point play at the 13:27 mark pushing the lead back up to four. Two minutes later, the Wildcats tied the game on two free throws from Bullinger at 11:46. From that point onward, it became a see-saw battle. The game was tied six different times, the last one coming at 5:56 (67-67) on a free throw from Tremayne Johnson. His second one gave EWU its last lead, 68-67.
The Wildcats took the lead for good on Scott Bamforth’s first three-pointer of the game with 5:04 remaining. His second one, with 2:36, capped an 8-0 scoring run giving the ‘Cats a 75-68 lead. Bullinger made four straight free throws in the final 48 seconds keeping the Eagles at bay.
Colimon ended the game with 27 points, but just five in the second half. Tremayne Johnson came off the bench to score 17 and Cliff Ederaine added 10. Eastern Washington ends the season with a record of 10-20.
Weber State improves its record to 18-11. The Wildcats are now 15-3 all-time in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky tournament. Helping Bullinger out were Trevor Morris and Scott Bamforth who each scored 13. Lindsey Hughey added 10. After suffering 23 turnovers in last Wednesday’s loss to the Eagles, the Wildcats committed just 11 on Saturday and out rebounded the Eagles, 36-30.
The Wildcats now advance to the semifinals next Tuesday, March 8 at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley to face the #2 seed University of Montana Grizzlies. Northern Arizona, the #4 seed, plays Northern Colorado the 2011 Big Sky regular season champion and #1 seed. The WSU/Montana game tips off at 5:30 p.m. (MST) and will be carried LIVE on Altitude TV.