raig Ehlo scored 18 points tonight and Washington State dominated the rebounding, 41-23, in defeating Weber State, 62-52, in the opening round of the NCAA West Regional.
In the second game, reserves Scott Hill and George Furgis each made two free throws in the last 44 seconds as Utah upset Illinois, 52-49. In second-round games Saturday, Washington State plays Virginia, ranked fourth nationally and the top seed in the regional, and Utah (17-13) plays No. 7 UCLA.
Ehlo scored 12 points in the second half to keep the Cougars ahead after reserve Aaron Haskins scored 10 of his 13 points in the opening period.
Washington State held a 32-24 halftime lead and Weber State never got closer than five points in the final period.
Bryan Pollard scored 13 points for Pacific-10 runner-up Washington State (23-6) and Steve Harriel had 12 rebounds. Royal Edwards' 19 points led Big Sky Conference champion Weber State (23-8), with Tom Haywood scoring 10.
Two three-point plays by Haskins gave the Cougars a 32-22 lead with a minute to go in the first half. They were leading by a basket when two turnovers led to back-to-back layups by Haskins. He was fouled each time and made both free throws as the Cougars pulled away in the closing minutes of the half.
Freshman Manuel Hendrix and senior Peter Williams scored 14 points each to lead Utah. Hendrix made two free throws and scored on a layup that put Utah ahead, 48-44, with 1:15 remaining.
Illinois finished at 21-11.