Ogden, UT (SportsNetwork.com) - Kyle Tresnak made sure Weber State wouldn't finish runner-up in the Big Sky Conference Tournament for a third straight year.
The senior center scored a career-high 27 points to lead the top-seeded Wildcats to an 88-67 triumph over North Dakota in the conference tourney title tilt on Saturday to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Weber State (19-11) had lost to Montana in the title game of the Big Sky tourney in each of the last two years and three of the past four overall, but got 19 points from Davion Berry to help claim its ninth Big Sky Tournament crown and first since 2007.
"It's about time we got back (to the NCAA Tournament)," Weber State head coach Randy Rahe said. "I'm really excited for these kids."
Troy Huff finished with 17 points and seven rebounds to pace North Dakota (17-16), which was looking to book its first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.
"I'm really proud of my team though," UND head coach Brian Jones said. "We continued to battle and we took another step forward as a program this season."
Berry helped Weber State jump out to a double-digit lead less than five minutes in, pouring in seven straight points during an 18-6 start from the Wildcats.
Tresnak tallied six straight Weber State points midway through the frame to keep North Dakota at bay, but Alonzo Traylor finished back-to-back buckets around a Huff layup late in the frame to get UND within 36-29.
However, Berry countered with a layup and then added a buzzer-beating 3- pointer from the right wing to send the Wildcats into the break with a 44-34 advantage.
Tresnak opened the second half with Weber State's first 10 points, culminating in a pair of three-point plays around an Aaron Anderson layup to give the Wildcats a 54-41 lead just under four minutes into the second half.
Two free throws from Quinton Hooker got UND within nine just over a minute later, but the Wildcats scored the next six points to build a double-digit lead for good.
A Berry 3-pointer pushed the margin to 73-53 with just under nine minutes left, and Weber State cruised to victory the rest of the way.