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Weber to play extra regular-season game at St. Mary's

Published March 10, 2011 7:36 pm

Wildcats need game to ensure medical redshirt for Lillard.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Ogden • Usually after being bounced out of the Big Sky Conference Tournament semifinals, Weber State either calls it a season or waits for a possible invitation to one of a couple new tournaments.

That chance does remain. The College Basketball Invitational and CollegeInsider.com tournaments have both expressed interest in the Wildcats. Regardless of how that turns out, however, Weber still has one last regular-season game to play.

The Wildcats travel to Moraga, Calif., to play St. Mary's Friday at 8 p.m.

Unusual? Yes. But the game benefits both teams. Weber State needs the extra game to ensure a medical redshirt for its injured star, Damian Lillard. Meanwhile, the Gaels, sitting on the NCAA bubble after losing to Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference championship game, were looking for another game to avoid getting rusty should an NCAA invite come.

"We wanted one more game anyway," WSU athletic director Jerry Bovee said. "We have a tough time getting games at the [Dee Events Center]. Also, having more games in a post-season type of [environment] is better for the kids."

The Gaels (24-8), who have added an extra game in past seasons, last played on Monday. They wanted an opponent to remain sharp prior to the NCAA or NIT (or the CBI and CIT).

As for Lillard's status, he needs to have played in 30 percent or less of Weber State's games to qualify for a medical redshirt. The junior guard broke his foot at Tulsa in the ninth game of the season.

In the end, Weber State (18-12) really didn't need the safety net. While this type of scheduling might be unusual for college basketball, it is a regular occurrence in, for example, women's volleyball, in which there is a gap of time between conference and the NCAA tournaments.

"We had a good year," said St. Mary's coach Randy Bennett. "We have another game to play, a game that probably matters. I'm proud of our guys, we've done a good job, but we just lost some down the stretch here."

martyr@sltrib.com

Weber State at St. Mary's

P At the McKeon Center, Moraga, Calif.

Tipoff • Friday, 8:05 p.m.

TV • None

Radio • 1430 AM

Records • WSU 18-12, SMU 24-8

All-time series • First meeting

About the Wildcats • Weber State lost to Montana in the Big Sky Conference semifinals. … Lindsey Hughey leads a trio of double-figure scorers at 12.6 points a game.

About the Gaels • St. Mary's lost to Gonzaga in the WCC championship. … Mickey McConnell scores 16.8 points with six assists a game.