Wildcats beat buzzer, Bears
Ogden • With his team down by two points and only 2.4 seconds to play, Scott Bamforth took the inbound pass and dribbled once across half-court before lifting and, sore shoulder and all, letting the basketball fly.
How could 7,505 people be so quiet?
The silence lasted as long as it took for the basketball to clear the rim. The Dee Events Center exploded in a caldron of noise as Weber State stole a 72-71 Big Sky Conference victory Saturday night from Northern Colorado.
Bamforth? He was already at the other end of the court, buried under a pile of Wildcat teammates.
"It was a hell of a shot by Scotty B.," said Weber State freshman guard Jordan Richardson, who also enjoyed quite a night with a career-high 17 points.
"A lot of fortunate things had to happen for that to happen," Weber State coach Randy Rahe said.
One of the fortunate things that did happen was Northern Colorado's Devon Beitel hitting both free throws in the final seconds. Had he missed the second, Bamforth would never have had the opportunity for glory in the scramble for the loose ball.
Beitel had torched the Wildcats for 29 points, including six 3-pointers.
"I should have had Devon miss the free throw," said UNC coach B.J. Hill said. "If I had to do it over again, he'd miss."
It was a heck of a way to avenge a 20-point whooping. A week earlier, the Bears (11-8, 7-1 BSC) rolled over Weber State (10-9, 4-4).
This time, the Wildcats came out in a flurry of energy to grab a 12-4 advantage. But the Bears, previously unbeaten in conference, showed patience and eventually took the lead before halftime.
Then, in the second half, Beitel began dropping 3-pointers. Only Richardson, who was 5-of-6 from beyond the 3-point line, kept the Wildcats close. With three minutes to play, WSU finally tied the game at 69-69 on a free throw by Darin Mahoney.
Both teams had chances down the stretch, but no one scored until Beitel's free throws after a controversial blocking call under the basket. As Beitel was making his shots, Bamforth, who finished with 12 points, was thinking about his next attempt.
"I was telling my teammates, 'I'm about to make this shot.'"
R Weber State and Northern Colorado combine for 20 3-point baskets and 22 assists.
• WSU freshman Jordan Richardson scores a career-high 17 points, including five 3-pointers.