An offensive interference call with :05 remaining thwarted a Weber State comeback, preserving a 75-74 road win for Idaho State University, Saturday night.
Weber's Jason Joe had a chance to put the Wildcats on top with :08 remaining but missed both free throws. Weber's Aaron Bell slapped the second miss back up and while the ball teetered on the rim, center David Baldwin touched the ball and was called for basket interference."It wasn't the two missed free throws at the end that cost us the game," said Weber coach Denny Huston. "Don't blame Jason. It was our 31 percent shooting in the first half that cost us the game."
For the third straight game, Weber dug itself a first half hole before battling back in the second half only to come up short at the final buzzer.
"It was not a call we expected to get, but it was the right call," said Idaho State coach Herb Williams. "They did the right thing, they called it the way they saw it."
The Bengals jumped out of the blocks early jumping out to a 12-3 lead in the first four minutes. Turnovers and cold shooting hindered the 'Cat attack which had trouble handling Idaho State's zone press. On the other end of the court, ISU simply out-quicked Weber as center Alex Kreps took apart the Wildcats inside.
ISU went up by as many as 16 points in the first half as Weber managed only one offensive run, a 7-0 burst near the 4:00 mark. Weber managed to cut the deficit to seven, 41-34, at the half when freshman Jimmy DeGraffenried buried a trey at the buzzer.
It looked like the Bengals were going to put the game away early in the second half as they scored on the opening possession then stole the in-bounds pass and Rodney Jackson buried a trey from the left angle for a 46-34 lead.
Weber roared back on a 10-0 burst behind Bell and Baldwin to get within two a 46-44. ISU answered back with a trey from Scott Roberts and an inside hoop from Kreps to go back up by seven. Moments later Kreps scored seven straight points to run the Bengals' lead back out to 14 points at 62-48.
The Wildcats chipped away at the lead but never seemed to be able to get back within single digits. When Kareem Carpenter hit two free throws to make it 72-62 with 3:59 remaining, it looked like ISU was ready to close the door.
DeGraffenried sandwiched two treys (one a 27-footer from the right angle) around a free throw and suddenly, Weber was back in the game, trailing 72-69 with 2:51 remaining.