ANCHORAGE, AK - Senior Blake Hamilton scored five of his game-high 23 points in the last 15 seconds on Saturday night as the Bulls overcame an eight-point second half deficit to defeat Weber State, 74-72, in the third place game of the Great Alaska Shootout.
The Bulls got out to a quick start on Saturday night as they raced out to an early 15-3 lead after back-to-back three pointers from Nick Perkins and Willie Conner. A strong UB defensive effort helped Weber State missed 11 of its first 12 shots, but turnovers and foul trouble impeded the Bulls from pulling away in the affair.
Buffalo continued to lead by double figures with 3:15 left in the first half after a layup by David Kadiri, but Weber State scored eight straight to pull within three. Jeremy Senglin hit a three pointer with four seconds left to make it a two-point game, but freshman Davonta Jordan was able to find Ikenna Smart for the jam right before the halftime buzzer, giving UB a 30-26 lead into the break.
Weber State came out of the break though on a 14-3 run as the Wildcats went ahead 40-33 with 15:18 left. UB cut it back to one at 42-41, but then the Wildcats went on to take their largest lead of the game 56-48 with 8:14 remaining. They continued to lead by that margin with 6:10 left when Hamilton scored four straight to cut the deficit in half. Weber State went back ahead 63-57 with 3:52 left, but Hamilton hit a jumper followed by a steal and fast-break layup from Dontay Caruthers to pull the Bulls back within 63-61.
Weber State went back ahead by four at 65-61 when the Bulls went on a game-changing 8-0 run, which began with three straight free throws from Conner and ended on a fast-break three-point play by the senior from Chicago, IL to put Buffalo ahead 69-65. The Wildcats cut it back to one with 43 seconds left, but then Hamilton beat the shot clock with a three pointer to put UB ahead by four. Weber State answered with a three from Senglin with eight seconds left and the Wildcats then fouled Hamilton, who hit a pair to give the Bulls a 74-71 lead with under five seconds. On the final possession, Weber State's Dusty Baker was fouled on a three-point attempt as time expired, but Baker missed the first and the Bulls held on for the win.
Hamilton led UB with 23 points, as he added eight rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal. Perkins finished the night with his first career double-double as he had 18 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
Conner added 15 points and a team-high four assists as he went 8-of-10 from the free throw line. Ikenna Smart added eight points and nine rebounds as he did most of his damage in the first half.
Weber State, who won the Big Sky Conference last season and made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament, dropped to 2-4 with the loss. The Wildcats were led by 21 points from Senglin as they had five players in double figures.
UB will remain on the road Tuesday night when they travel to Omaha, NE to face nationally-ranked Creighton. The game will tip at 8:30 pm EST and it will air nationally on Fox Sports 1.