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The Weber State basketball team came out roaring and ready to play at 7 p.m. Pacific Time in their first-round Big Sky Conference tournament game against Montana State Thursday. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the game started at 6:35.

The slow start didn't matter. Despite falling behind by 10 points early, the Wildcats came on strong to win their sixth straight and their 20th game overall with ease, 91-72."We weren't ready to play and it took us about 10 minutes to get into it," Weber coach Ron Abegglen said. "They beat us soundly in the first 10 minutes of the game, but we responded well and pretty much dominated the last 30 minutes."

Weber will face Boise State in a semifinal game tonight at 7:35 (MST). The 'Cats and Broncos tied for second place in the league with 10-4 marks, but Boise won both head-to-head contests to get the No. 2 seed.

In tonight's other semi, league-champion Idaho will play Idaho State. The finals will be Saturday at 10 p.m. on ESPN.

The Wildcats certainly didn't look like the hottest team in the Big Sky Conference, which they are, early in Thursday's game. Weber was missing shots, turning the ball over and generally being outplayed by the 9-17 Bobcats. Montana State took a 21-11 lead on a Glen Allen rebound hoop with 11:11 remaining in the first half.

"Weber was playing so poor early and that gave us a little momentum." Bobcat coach Mick Durham said. "It might have been the worst thing to happen to us. We self-destructed after that. Our 14 turnovers in the first half tells the story."

Weber trailed 25-19, but a 15-2 run, aided by a Bobcat intentional foul and a technical on Durham, gave the Wildcats a 34-27 advantage with three minutes to play in the half. At intermission Weber led 38-32.

The second half started like the first ended - with the Wildcats dominating. Weber point guard Robbie Johnson hit three 3-point jumpers and scored 11 points in the first six minutes of the second half, as the Wildcats took a 60-42 lead.

"We felt good being down only six at the half," Durham said. "But they came out strong to open the second half. The game was pretty much over after the first four minutes of the second half."

Weber forwards Al Hamilton and Stan Rose showed once again why they are the most potent 1-2 punch in the Big Sky, combining for 43 points. Hamilton finished with 24 points, while Rose scored 19 and pulled down a team-high nine boards. Johnson scored 16 points and dished out a team-high six assists.

For the game, Montana State turned the ball over 27 times. R.J. Belton led the Bobcats with 20 points.

Despite losing both regular season games against Boise State, the Wildcats are looking forward to a third meeting. "I'm glad we have another shot at them," Johnson said. "It's going to be a war in sneakers."

Ironically, Boise State's top player is an Ogden native. Tanaka Beard, a 6-10 center who played for Bonneville High, averages 21 points and eight rebounds per game. The Broncos received a first-round bye, so tonight's game will be their tourney opener.

Idaho State 61, Montana 50.

It wasn't a good night for teams from the Big Sky State in the Big Sky Tournament, as both Montana and Montana State were sent packing Thursday. Idaho State, just 9-17 entering the game, upset the 19-7 defending-champion Grizzlies behind the 22 points by Jim Potter. The Bengals will meet league-champ Idaho tonight at 10:05 in the second semifinal game.