Ready for a rematch?
Weber State's next basketball game will be a sequel. The Wildcats will meet either UC Irvine or Oral Roberts Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the Dee Events Center in the quarterfinals of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
You may remember the UC Irvine Anteaters, who Weber State defeated 65-51 on Dec. 8 at the Purple Palace. Or the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles, who the Wildcats beat 70-66 in a BracketBusters matchup on Feb. 23.
UC Irvine (21-15) and Oral Roberts (19-14) will meet tonight in Tulsa, Okla., with the winner advancing to Ogden as the 32-team field narrows down to eight.
Weber State entered the tournament with the best record of any CIT team.
The Wildcats have found the motivation to keep their season going, winning two postseason games so far after being denied a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament by their loss to Montana in the championship game of the Big Sky tourney.
"It's fantastic. It's a great reward for our kids," coach Randy Rahe said of Weber State's CIT run so far. "It's a great reward for our seniors to keep playing, because, you've heard me say it forever, but I'm going to keep saying it. Mook (Frank Otis) and Scott (Bamforth) have totally given up themselves for the team. Neither one of those kids has had a bad day this year -- not a bad practice, not a bad game where they haven't worked their tails off.
"It's a great reward for them, but it's also a great reward for our younger kids, to experience postseason play and also have some success. It helps them to understand this is what we do here, we're trying to be a winning program. Plus we're getting more games. The more games you get, the better you play."
In record time
Some records last for 40-plus years, like the one that the 2012-13 Weber State team broke on Saturday night for most wins in a single season in school history. The original mark of 27 wins was set by the 1968-69 squad, not many years after Weber State became a Division I school.
Other records only last a season.
Like the one Scott Bamforth broke the same night, set just a year earlier by his former teammate Damian Lillard. They could have been teammates again this season, if Lillard hadn't decided to jump to the NBA despite having a year of eligibility left. As you may have heard, the Portland Trail Blazers point guard is the frontrunner for the league's rookie of the year award.
Meanwhile, back in Ogden, Bamforth just kept knocking down shots.
"It's humbling (to break the record), it really is," Bamforth said Saturday. "Dame's obviously a great player, a great friend, and I'm sure I probably got a text from him tonight telling me congratulations or good job. I didn't ever really try to do it, it just happened and it feels good to beat someone like Dame. That's probably the only thing I've ever beaten him at, in all our workouts. We would work out together and I would just try to beat him in everything and maybe that's the one thing I can always tell him I beat him at."
Fight for 3-dom
Air Force defends its home court advantage well, having beaten ranked teams New Mexico, UNLV and San Diego State at home, but the Falcons don't play as well away outside of Colorado Springs. Their win over Hawaii in the first round of the CIT was just their fifth win away from home this season.
Air Force hit 15 treys in its victory in Honolulu but managed just 4 of 18 from 3-point range against WSU's stingy perimeter defense.
"That was a huge part of the game," Rahe said. "I can't remember the exact stats, but when they win, they make 10 or more (3-pointers). They made 15 at Hawaii the other night and that was a big part of it, but it's easier said than done with how they play. We were switching a lot of stuff tonight, more than we've ever switched. We had to because if you don't, they'll get open 3s. I thought our guys' alertness to switching and understanding who you've switched off on to is important. If you've switched off on (Michael Fitzgerald), you better know it and not let him shoot a 3."
Rahe said he'd much rather see Air Force drive to the basket within its Princeton-style offense than shoot 3s. Stopping the 3 has been WSU's modus operandi all season, but it didn't make preparation for Air Force's offense any easier.
"I had a headache for three days watching them (on game film)," Rahe said Saturday night. "I've got a headache now just from watching them live."
Roy Burton covers Weber State sports for the Standard-Examiner. Follow @RoyBurton on Twitter, read more about the Wildcats at blogs.standard.net/wsu-sports-blog or reach him at email@example.com.