College basketball • Wildcats guard puts on show vs. Northern Colorado.
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Ogden • The most expensive ticket to a Weber State basketball game is 50 bucks. It's a bargain to experience Damian Lillard.
The Wildcats guard, who blew up for 40 points Thursday night, capped a 75-point weekend by driving Weber State past Northern Colorado, 93-81, on Saturday night in the Dee Events Center.
Lillard, who finished with 35 points and five assists, provided just another evening of style and the ability to still surprise his teammates and coaches as well as entertain the 6,966 spectators.
"We've seen it so many times," Weber State center Darin Mahoney said. "I remember one game last year … we were shooting free throws and their big guy leaned over and asked, 'Does he ever miss?' "
This weekend, Lillard rarely missed, finishing 25 of 36 from the floor with 10 assists.
"One thing I never want to do is take him for granted," WSU coach Randy Rahe said. "He works too hard for that to happen. But he does a great job finishing around the basket and some of those finishes are where I step back and say, 'Wow, how did that go in?'"
Weber State (18-4, 10-1 Big Sky) also did not need a repeat of last season's game-ending dramatics by Scott Bamforth, whose 40-footer at the buzzer saved a one-point victory.
This was Weber State's game from the opening tip. The final score was not indicative of the Wildcats' dominance. They led by 26 midway through the second half.
Bamforth finished with 18 points and five assists, while Gelaun Wheelwright and Byron Fulton came off the bench to score a combined 21.
Northern Colorado (7-15, 4-7) needed a clinical performance from behind the 3-point line and it began that way early on, thanks in large part on Tate Unruh's shooting ability.
Once the Wildcats adjusted their defense, UNC had few answers. Weber State overplayed the Bears' 3-point shooters, forcing them to the drive the middle for awkward mid-range jumpers.
"We sped them up," Lillard said. "We wanted to come out and get after them."
Often, Weber State's quick hands stripped the ball. That, combined with long rebounds from Northern Colorado's missed jump shots, ignited a quick transition that resulted in open shots or several marvelous twisting, spinning, looping kisses off the glass.
"He's the real deal," Unruh said of Lillard.
R Weber State scores 25 points off of 16 Northern Colorado turnovers.
• Northern Colorado outrebounds Weber State by 14.
• Damian Lillard improves his scoring average to a Division I-leading 25.5 points.