TULSA, Okla. — The top shooting team in the nation shot its way back into the game.
Weber State shot 68 percent in the second half to overcome a seven-point halftime deficit and defeat Oral Roberts 70-66 in a BracketBusters non-conference contest on Saturday at the Mabee Center in Tulsa, Okla.
Junior center Kyle Tresnak scored 20 points to pace Weber State to its seventh-straight victory.
Senior shooting guard Scott Bamforth added 16, junior point guard Jordan Richardson had 12 and senior forward Frank “Mook” Otis contributed 11 points as the Wildcats reached the 20-win mark for the fifth time in coach Randy Rahe’s seven seasons at the helm of Weber State.
WSU held two of the top three scorers in the Southland Conference below their averages on their senior night and the last BracketBusters event.
Oral Roberts wing man Warren Niles, averaging 19.1 points per game, and center Damen Bell-Holter (16.3 ppg), were limited to just 13 points each, while Utah transfer Shawn Glover led the Golden Eagles with 16.
Bell-Holter, also one of the top rebounders in the nation, finished with just two rebounds, but he did hit a quick 3-pointer, just his fourth trey of the season, to make the final seconds more interesting.
WSU’s leading scorer, junior forward Davion Berry, was also held below his average, finishing with seven points.
Berry sank a pair of free throws with 13.8 seconds remaining, but with 7.6 seconds to go, he missed two from the line and WSU’s advantage stayed at four points. Oral Roberts’ final shot was off the mark and Bamforth grabbed the rebound before the Golden Eagles could get a putback and hope to steal an inbounds pass to try for the win.
Tresnak reached 20 points for the fourth time this season on 10 for 18 shooting from the field. Weber State shot 54.2 percent overall for the game, improving on its 42.3 percent performance in the first half.
The Wildcats also improved in ball handling, finishing with 14 turnovers after giving away possession nine times before the break.
“We had to fight them really hard in the second half,” Rahe told Weber State radio announcer Carl Arky. “Things didn’t look good toward the end of the first half and our kids really fought in the second half. We looked like our old team in the second half.
“When we get those turnovers down, we’re pretty hard to guard.”
WSU was tough to guard during two big charges, with Bamforth and Richardson hitting three 3s in a row in an 11-0 run for a 48-42 lead.
“Jordan got hot there,” Rahe said. “He got his mojo going there a little bit it was funny because you hear our guys on the bench, find Jordan, there he is, get it to Jordan. He had the hot hand and guys got him the ball in good position. Those 3s were huge because it got us a little bit of a cushion and we needed every bit of that cushion against this team, which I think is really talented.”
Oral Roberts took a timeout to regroup and attacked right back with a 9-0 run, with Niles, their leading scorer, throwing in a long 3.
A 13-4 WSU charge made the difference at the end.
Bamforth was 4 of 6 from 3-point range and Richardson was nearly as deadly from distance, hitting 4 of 7 as Weber State hit 9 of 17 from beyond the arc (52.9 percent).
The Wildcats return to Big Sky play next week with a road trip to Sacramento State and Northern Arizona before closing out the conference race with two games at home.