Junior point guard Damian Lillard isn’t just the Division I scoring leader (25.1 pointer per game). He’s Weber States’s unquestioned on-court general.
When sophomore forward Byron Fulton went down hard Saturday after being fouled by Eastern Washington’s Jordan Hickert, Lillard stepped in to make sure the ’Cats didn’t lose their cool.
Fulton had a season-high 16 points Saturday in WSU’s win over Eastern Washington and added nine rebounds, just missing his second straight double-double, but the foul riled him up a little, he said.
“He wasn’t trying to hurt me, he was trying to go for the ball, but I got a little mad,”Fulton said. “It was just a quick reaction.”
Lillard stepped in and calmed him.
“I just told him we didn’t need it,” Lillard said. “We had the lead and everything was going our way. They kind of got frustrated. I don’t think he meant to hurt him or anything like that, but it was a hard foul, either way you put it. The bottom line is they got frustrated and I was just trying to get my team to not buy into it — I think that would have been the dumbest thing for us to do and that probably would have changed the momentum of the game. I just wanted us to stay focused and not buy into their frustration.”
WSU freshman Gelaun Wheelwright jumped in and got a technical, matching the one given to Hickert, but it didn’t go any farther.
Rahe said he couldn’t see what happened but trusted his court leader Lillard to keep control.
“That’s what veterans are going to do. If something’s going on down there, he’s going to step in and make sure everybody’s OK, take care of our guys,” Rahe said. “Gelaun was in the middle of it; he’s a young guy, he’s going to bow up and try to do something, but Damian’s got a level head on his shoulders and he understands nothing needs to get blown out of proportion there.”