Weber State (20-4) at Montana State (11-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 15th, 9:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Worthington Arena (7,250) -- Bozeman, Montana. Television: None. Home Record: WSU 14-0, MSU 6-5. Away Record: WSU 5-4, MSU 5-8. Neutral Record: WSU 1-0, MSU 0-0. Conference Record: WSU 12-1, MSU 6-7. Series Record: Weber State leads 73-35
GAME NOTES: The nation's top scorer is in the spotlight again tonight as Damian Lillard and the Weber State Wildcats hit the road for the first of three away dates remaining on the schedule, as they clash with Big Sky Conference foe Montana State at Worthington Arena in Bozeman.
Lillard, who now needs just 112 points to become WSU's single-season scoring leader, led the Wildcats in scoring for the 19th time in 24 games over the weekend as he helped guide the program to an 84-75 home win against Eastern Washington. The victory, the fourth in a row and the 14th in the last 15 outings overall, moved WSU to 20-4 overall and 12-1 in Big Sky play, which has the group tied with Montana for first place in the standings.
As for the Bobcats, stuck in the middle of the Big Sky standings at 6-7, they suffered their fifth consecutive defeat on Saturday afternoon as they bowed to Northern Colorado in overtime, 77-64. Accepting the loss was difficult for Montana State seeing as how the team led by double figures in the second half and then went ice cold.
Weber State won the first meeting of the season last month by a score of 63-49 even as Lillard was held to just 4-of-14 shooting from the floor and 17 points. The Bobcats shot a mere 33.9 percent from the floor and turned the ball over 14 times in the road test. As a result of that victory, the Wildcats now lead the all-time series, 73-35.
Lillard, now averaging 25.1 ppg and is up for several national awards, shot just 4-of-13 from the floor against the Eagles on Saturday, but still ended up with 22 points as he converted all 12 of his free-throw attempts. Because of his efforts the Wildcats connected on a staggering 32-of-35 at the stripe, compared to only 14-of-19 for the visitors. Byron Fulton contributed 16 points and nine rebounds off the bench, Scott Bamforth 13 points, Kyle Tresnak 12 and Kyle Bullinger 10 points and eight boards in the triumph as well. Most of the attention has gone to Lillard this season, and for good reason, since he is shooting a fantastic 45.3 percent behind the three-point line and has made good on 172-of-194 (.887) at the line which means he has converted almost twice as many shots as anyone on the team has even attempted. But Lillard hasn't done it all alone because Bamforth has also proven himself to be a huge presence on offense (15.3 ppg) and Tresnak (10.0 ppg) has also been productive for a team that is scoring 79.1 ppg.
Montana State led the Bears by 14 points in the second half, went cold for the remainder of the period and then allowed Northern Colorado to run off with the 13-point win in overtime. The Bobcats shot just 37.9 percent from the floor in the meeting, including 4-of-24 behind the three-point line as they fumbled away a perfect opportunity to get back into the win column. Shawn Reid scored a team-best 18 points off the bench, followed by Jeff Budinich and Mohamed Fall with 12 and 10 points, respectively. In the last four games the Bobcats have had a different leading scorer each time out so clearly they've not been a model of consistency by any means. Xavier Blount is still the top scorer overall with his 11.7 ppg, but his mere 37.8 percent shooting from the floor is less than impressive. The squad is scoring a solid 71.5 ppg, but at the same time giving up 72.4 ppg, a number that will more than likely be exceeded by Weber State tonight.
Lillard is virtually unstoppable, even when he has a poor shooting game from the floor, but more than that it the fact that Weber State has Bamforth and Tresnak to pick up the slack as well.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Weber State 82, Montana State 69
02/15 10:37:51 ET