GREELEY, Colo. — Weber State took away Northern Colorado’s best weapon and turned it against them.
Scott Bamforth led five WSU players in double figures as the Wildcats defeated the Bears 85-64 Saturday at Butler-Hancock Pavilion.
Bamforth poured in 20 points on 4 of 7 shooting from 3-point range while Weber State (15-5, 9-2 Big Sky) hit 47.1 percent from beyond the arc and 60.8 percent from the field in its best shooting performance against a Division I opponent this season.
Senior forward Frank “Mook Otis added 15 points, junior center Kyle Tresnak and junior forward Davion Berry added 12 apiece and sophomore guard Gelaun Wheelwright scored 10 points off the bench in WSU’s fifth straight win over Northern Colorado (6-14, 4-8).
UNC, which scored a total of 45 points on 15 3-pointers in Thursday’s 78-63 win over Idaho State and had made 54 percent of its tries from deep in its last six games, made just 5 of 16 from beyond the arc (31.3 percent) on Saturday.
“They were a lot tougher than us,” Northern Colorado coach BJ Hill said. “Their pressure took out of everything we wanted to do and we didn’t react well. We knew it was going to come, but it’s a lot different deal making shots against the zone and making shots against pressure like they bring.”
Junior guard Paul Garnica and junior forward Emmanuel Addo came off the bench to lead the Bears with 11 points apiece. Sophomore guard Tevin Svihovec added 10 but Northern Colorado’s top two scorers, Tate Unruh and Derrick Barden, were limited to two and four points, respectively.
Meanwhile, Weber State, which entered the game ranked fourth in the nation in 3-point percentage (.415), hit 8 of 17 from deep.
UNC, which was third in the Big Sky and 14th nationally in 3-point shooting, never got going. WSU opened the game with a 10-2 run and built the lead to 20 by the end of the first half.
Thirty minutes into the game, Weber State was shooting 70 percent from the floor.
“We were a little sharper,” Rahe said. “Guys really made the extra pass. We’ve been like that all season long, we were just a little crisper tonight and I thought it really paid off. We got some easy baskets because of it.
“It’s a really unselfish team. They’ll do whatever it takes to win and they don’t care who gets the credit. (Saturday) was a great example of that.”
Defense sparked the offense and gave the Wildcats confidence, Rahe said.
“We really fed off our defense and rebounding. That first half was a pretty high level,” he said. “When we focus on the defense and rebounding and you don’t worry about the offensive end, that’s what you see on the offensive end — guys just play the game and they don’t worry about it.”
Bamforth was 6 of 9 from the field and hit a pair of 3s in a short span in the second half as Weber State built a 30-point advantage. Northern Colorado shot better after halftime, but the game was already decided.
“We just tried to pressure them, tried to run them off the line, not let them get comfortable looks,” he said. “We did a good job of that. When we play good defense, our offense just flows. It wasn’t really too much what we were doing offensively, it was more of how we played defense.”
Freshman forward Joel Bolomboy led WSU with eight rebounds to go with seven points and Tresnak grabbed seven boards as the Wildcats won the battle of the glasss, 35-27.
Otis was a perfect 6 of 6 shooting from the field and made 3 of 4 from the line for his third highest scoring total of the year, all coming in his last three games.
“I’ve just been trying to be aggressive, just trying to help my team win, honestly,” Otis said. “Not trying to be selfish, just trying to help my team.”
The Wildcats came prepared to share the ball.
Weber State shot 62.1 percent from the field in the first half, giving up good shots to get better ones as Berry did at the end of the half, driving to the lane and dishing at the last second to Otis for an open layup and a 45-25 lead.
Weber State wrapped up its four-game road trip with the win and only has to play one game this week, facing in-state rival Southern Utah next Saturday at the Dee Events Center.