OGDEN -- Weber State's last in-state contest did not end well.
The Wildcats' 94-66 loss to the BYU Cougars was over by halftime Wednesday in Provo and Weber State coaches and players tried to erase all memories of the game before they left the Marriott Center.
That said, after losing another starting perimeter player to injury, the Wildcats (5-2) have to make some adjustments tonight when they tip off at 7 p.m. in the Dee Events Center against future Big Sky rival Southern Utah (4-4).
Frank "Mook" Otis limped off the court with loose cartilage in his knee in the first half of the BYU contest, just days after Weber State lost 6-foot-6 senior forward Kyle Bullinger for up to six weeks with a dislocated elbow. Otis, a 6-6 junior forward from Oakland, Calif., is out indefinitely as doctors try to rehab his knee without having to scope it out as they did last spring.
The Wildcats will compensate by going with a smaller three-guard lineup, with junior Damian Lillard taking the point, sophomore Jordan Richardson coming into the starting rotation as the two-guard and junior shooting guard Scott Bamforth sliding over to the three.
It's not an easy adjustment to make so soon after senior forward Darin Mahoney came into the starting lineup and Otis had to move from the power forward position to small forward.
Despite an off night against BYU, Lillard continues to lead the nation in scoring at 26.3 points per game.
With Bullinger and Otis sidelined, the Wildcats' situation is similar to last season, when Lillard, the 2009-10 Big Sky MVP, was lost for the season with a broken foot and shooting guard Scott Bamforth played through a shoulder injury.
"You plan for a certain season and you plan to have certain guys and then all of a sudden you have two starters that won't be with you for awhile," Rahe said. "You lose two starters, you lose 16 points and 15 rebounds per game -- every guy has got to step up and it's got to be a team effort. One guy is not going to get 15 rebounds, we've got to fill that void as a team and I'm confident we will."
It's a tough pill to swallow, but the Wildcats will try to use their pain for gain.
"We're not going to sit around here and feel sorry for ourselves. We're going to go out there and get these guys some experience and get better," Rahe said. "That's all we can do. It's what happened and now you either deal with it positively or you can get down and worry about it. We choose to deal with it positively."
Freshman Gelaun Wheelwright, a 6-1 guard from Corona, Calif., had his redshirt removed Wednesday and will come off the bench tonight against SUU along with freshman guard Mike Brown.
In its final season in the Summit League and entering its final non-conference contest with Weber State, Southern Utah is nothing if not balanced.
The Thunderbirds' record is even at 4-4 and four T-Birds' starters average 11 points per game, including former Davis High standout Jackson Stevenett, a junior forward.
Southern Utah is coached by former BYU head coach Roger Reid, a 1968 graduate of Weber State.
"The (Thunderbirds) are very well coached by Roger Reid," Rahe said. "They're a very physical, tough-minded team. You can't just key on one guy. They play very hard."
Weber State's series record against Southern Utah is less balanced. The Wildcats lead the all-time series 22-6, including a 15-2 record at home versus the T-Birds.