Northern Arizona (11-20) vs. Weber State (24-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 14, 5 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dahlberg Arena (7,500) -- Missoula, Montana. Television: none. Home Record: NAU 6-6, WSU 14-1. Away Record: NAU 4-13, WSU 10-4. Neutral Record: NAU 1-1, WSU 0-0. Conference Record: NAU 8-12, WSU 18-2. Series Record: WSU lead 71-26.
GAME NOTES: To kick off the 2013 Big Sky Tournament, the seventh-seed Northern Arizona Lumberjacks will face the two-seed Weber State Wildcats in the quarterfinals at the Dahlberg Arena.
The Lumberjacks lost their final three bouts of the regular season after dropping a 63-50 loss at Montana in the season-finale. The losing streak began with a tough 80-78 overtime loss to the Wildcats, as NAU finished up the year at a mere 11-20 overall, including an 8-12 mark in conference play.
Weber State carries an 11-game win streak into the tournament after defeating Eastern Washington, 65-57, in the regular season finale. The Wildcats came up just short in the race for the regular-season title, finishing a stellar 18-2 in conference play, but one game behind Montana (19-1). The Wildcats have made the finals of the tournament two of the last three years but fell short to Montana each time. Weber State is in search of its ninth Big Sky Tournament crown, but first since 2007. The Wildcats are tied with Montana for the most titles with eight.
The Wildcats hold a 71-26 advantage in the all-time series between these squads and earned the season sweep this year. Weber State has won four of the five meetings against NAU at the Big Sky Tournament.
In the regular-season loss to the Grizzlies, NAU was led by Max Jacobsen who scored 17 points with seven rebounds. Gave Rogers added 12 points while Gaellan Bewernick pulled down 10 rebounds.
Despite shooting below 40.0 percent from the field, Rogers is the top scorer in the Big Sky with 18.1 ppg. DeWayne Russell adds 14.2 ppg, while shooting above 40.0 percent from 3-point range. The Lumberjacks are decent offensively but struggle on the defensive end of the ball where they allow opposing teams to score over 75.0 ppg.
Scott Bamforth led the Wildcats with 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field in the most recent win over Eastern Washington. Joel Bolomboy added 11 points with four blocks, while Frank Otis was the squad's top rebounder with 11 boards.
Bamforth is the second leading scorer on WSU, posting 13.3 ppg while shooting nearly 45.0 percent from 3-point range. Davion Berry leads the Wildcats with 15.1 ppg, shooting just under 50.0 percent from the field and 43.5 percent from beyond the arc. Bamforth and Berry are the only two Wildcats that play more than 30.0 mpg. Kyle Tresnak is the third and final player that averages in double-figure scoring for a team that puts up an impressive 75.8 ppg, while also playing lock-down defense, holding opponents to 61.0 ppg. The Wildcats are first in the nation in both field-goal percentage (50.8) and 3-point percentage (43.3).
WSU should not have much of a problem in this one as the Wildcats are the better team and come in hot while the Lumberjacks are cold.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Weber State 74, Northern Arizona 63
03/14 10:35:21 ET