CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – It seemed every shot was falling for Weber State. Then came a quiet second half.
The Wildcats hung on and beat Northern Iowa 59-56 to reach the finals of the CollegeInsider.com tournament Saturday night. Weber State (30-6) shot over 50 percent from the field in the first half, but hit just one shot from beyond the arc after halftime.
"We had to go a different route," Weber State coach Randy Rahe said. "We've seen teams take away our 3-point shot before, so our guys have a feeling for what they have to do next."
Davion Berry scored 15 points and Scott Bamforth added 14, including shooting 4 of 7 from the 3-point line, to lead the Wildcats (30-6), who will face East Carolina in the CIT title game Tuesday night.
The Wildcats started the game on a 14-2 run, capped by a 3-pointer by Bamforth. But Weber State could not maintain its double-digit lead.
Northern Iowa (21-15) went on its own 15-5 run to cut the Wildcats' lead to two points.
The Panthers stayed hot early in the second half with a 13-4 run over the first six minutes to give them their first lead of the game.
"Shots aren't going to go in every night," said UNI senior Marc Sonnen, who had 10 points. "I thought we picked it up after that slow start. I think that shows good leadership from my teammates and coaches."
Northern Iowa led by one with just under five minutes to go in the game, but Berry scored four straight points to give the Wildcats the lead. After a missed free throw from Berry, UNI got one final look to tie the game but came up short.
"(Berry) had open looks, but they just weren't going in," Rahe said. "That doesn't stop him from having an effect on the game. He never loses his aggressiveness."
Seth Tuttle had 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead Northern Iowa (22-14), which shot just 17.6 percent from beyond the arc. The teams shot a combined 1 for 20 from 3-point range in the second half, including 0 for 8 by Northern Iowa.
"We had enough looks and chances to get points," Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson said. "We just didn't get enough points tonight."