Weber State basketball: Wildcats benefitting from CIT run
Ogden • Weber State has enjoyed its run to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament title game.
First, Tuesday's 6 p.m. championship between Weber State (30-6) and Conference USA's East Carolina (22-12) is a reward for the players, including seniors Scott Bamforth and Frank Otis.
"No matter what tournament you're in, you try to win," WSU coach Randy Rahe said. "And to be home for the last game of the year is special."
Yet, there may be a larger impact for whichever team wins in terms of recruiting. The tournament has kept Weber State's name in the sports pages in March. In addition, the game will be nationally broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.
The Dee Events Center is expected to loud.
"Anytime you're on national television it helps," Rahe said. "Your recruits watch, they see all of the support inside our great arena. It helps you."
East Carolina is on the same kind of run. The Pirates hadn't won in four postseason chances prior to going 4-0 in the 2013 CIT, including an 81-58 pounding of Evansville on Saturday in a semifinal.
Tuesday's game will be ECU's first CIT road game. WSU earned its title berth by winning at Northern Iowa, 59-56.
"We wanted to make a name for East Carolina basketball," said ECU's leading scorer, senior forward Maurice Kemp, after Saturday's win. "That's been our main goal. We all focused and spent this whole season grinding it out and we're able to make history this year. It's something to be very proud of."
The extended season has allowed Weber State to make some history of its own, including wins in a season. Bamforth set season and career marks for 3-point baskets, breaking the records set just last season by Damian Lillard.
The Wildcats, also the first Big Sky Conference team in any kind of postseason championship game, want just one more victory, but it won't come easily against the athletic Pirates.
"Of all the teams we've faced in the tournament, [East Carolina] is easily the most talented," Rahe said. "And that's how it should be. It's the finals."
Weber State vs. East Carolina
P At the Dee Events Center, Ogden
Tipoff • Tuesday, 6 p.m.
TV • CBS Sports Network
Radio • 1280 AM
Records • ECU 22-12; WSU 30-6
Series record • First meeting
About the Pirates • ECU advanced to the CIT final by routing Evansville 81-58. â¦ Maurice Kemp leads ECU in scoring (18.8) and rebounding (8.1). â¦ Miguel Paul's 230 assists broke the school's single-season record.
About the Wildcats • WSU defeated Northern Iowa 59-56 in its CIT semifinal. â¦ Scott Bamforth is 19 of 36 from the 3-point line during the tournament. â¦ WSU leading rebounder Joel Bolomboy is 50-50 to play because of an injured shoulder.