Mayville State may be just what the Wildcats' doctor ordered while he's busy patching them up and while Weber State's still busy patching up its system to adjust for the loss of two starters.
The Comets, tonight's WSU opponents, are a far cry from the Pac-12 California Bears, who didn't have any sympathy for the Wildcats' plight on Friday night.
Mayville State, an NAIA school based in Mayville, North Dakota, is coming off a 92-50 loss at North Dakota State. The Comets (7-7) will count both that game and tonight's contest with the Wildcats at 7 p.m. at the Dee Events Center as an exhibition, though it will go in the official books for Weber State (6-3).
If WSU's 109-50 shellacking of its last NAIA opponent, Northern New Mexico, is any indication -- it was a school record for the largest margin of victory in 50 years of Weber State basketball history -- the Wildcats will have some time to work out some wrinkles against the Comets as they start a four-game homestand, still without the services of injured junior forwards Kyle Bullinger and Frank "Mook" Otis.
'Cats point guard Damian Lillard continues to lead the nation in scoring at 25.4 points per game, though he scored a season-low 14 points in the loss at California with dozens of fans from his nearby hometown of Oakland in attendance.
"I think I played how I always play," Lillard said. "I'm not going to let anybody alter how I play. I just think they played great team defense. They took us out of our offense a little bit and we missed some shots that we normally make."
Lillard said Cal senior guard Jorge Gutierrez, who scored a game-high 24 points, was the toughest defender he's faced all season.
Junior guard Scott Bamforth led the 'Cats against Cal with 19 points, while sophomore forward Byron Fulton, last season's Big Sky freshman of the year, had season-highs in points (13) and rebounds (eight). Bamforth now averages 13.9 ppg and sophomore center Kyle Tresnak is right at 10.0 ppg.
"We're just playing offensively so up and down. We have spurts of good offense and then we go back to missing shots and just taking bad ones," Bamforth said after Friday's loss. "I don't know if they're bad ones, we have to watch the film to see that, but we need to be able to play a whole game and we haven't done that. We'll take this game and get better from it and see what happens the next one."
Bamforth said WSU's struggles without Bullinger, an All-Big Sky first-teamer, and Otis, Weber State's other top rebounder,
"We'll never make excuses about nothing, but obviously losing Bull and Mook, we've had to change our game a little bit. It shows how much a part (of our game) Bull and Mook were to us. We can't do anything about it because we have to move on, but it shows how good of players they are."
With Bullinger and Otis' returns still undetermined, the 'next one' -- the Comets -- should provide Weber State a chance to tune-up for struggling in-state rival Utah at the Dee Events Center on Dec. 22 and the start of Big Sky play on Dec. 29 against Idaho State.
Junior forward Gus Kueber averages 17.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game to lead Mayville State, while junior guard Eric Shulstad contributes 14.5 points and 6.1 boards per game. Comets coach Justin Johnson is in his fifth season.
Weber State's Wildcat Club luncheon will be held today at noon at the Ogden Marriott Hotel on 24th Street. The luncheons are open to the public; cost is $10 per person. For more information, call the Wildcat Club at 801-626-6576 or visit weberstatesports.com.
Weber State's New Year's Eve home game against Sacramento State on Dec. 31 has been changed to a 2 p.m. start.
Roy Burton covers Weber State sports. Follow him on Twitter @RoyBurton and read his WSU posts at blogs.standard.net/wsu-sports-blog.