OGDEN -- Two years ago, when Weber State faced BYU and the national player of the year, Jimmer Fredette, the Wildcats' own future NBA Top 10 draft pick could only watch from the bench with a broken foot.
Last season, WSU lost a first-team all-Big Sky player the game before and another starter in the first few minutes against BYU in Provo, while Damian Lillard and others battled flu-like symptoms in a 94-66 shellacking at the hands of the Cougars.
Weber State coach Randy Rahe knows it will take more than just a reversal of luck to turn the tide of unfavorable outcomes against BYU (6-3).
The Cougars' nine-game winning streak against Weber State (4-2) collides with the fourth-longest home winning streak in the country in an in-state battle tonight at 7 p.m. at the Dee Events Center.
Weber State has won 20 straight at the Purple Palace, but BYU coach Dave Rose is 7-0 in his career against the Wildcats. WSU's last win over the Cougars came nearly a decade ago when Jermaine Boyette dropped 37 points in Ogden.
Tonight is Weber State's final non-conference tune-up before it begins an expanded 20-game Big Sky Conference schedule with the additions of North Dakota and Southern Utah as all-sports members of the league.
WSU's five starters average between 8.7 and 12.5 points per game, led by junior transfer forward Davion Berry. Junior center Kyle Tresnak is the reigning Big Sky player of the week, scoring at least 16.0 ppg as the Wildcats have won three straight.
Super sophomore Tyler Haws averages 20.1 points per game for BYU while senior forward Brandon Davies is a force in the paint, averaging 17.9 points and 7.3 rebounds.
"They've got a lot of weapons," Rahe said. "It starts with Davies and Haws, but the problem is if you give them too much attention, (Matt) Carlino hurts you or (Brock) Zylstra hurts you, or anybody else."
The Utes held the Cougars to a dismal 31.1 percent shooting last Saturday, but BYU clawed back from a double-digit deficit and found a way to win nonetheless while Carlino contributed a season-high 19 points.
"That's the mark of a good team -- if a couple of your main guys aren't doing well or are being taken out of it, they have enough other guys to step in and still win the game for you. That's just being a really good basketball team, which BYU is."
The 'Cats can't allow the Cougs to run up and down in transition, Rahe said; defense is where they'll try to make their stand.
Weber State is holding opponents to 58.8 points per game and 23.2 percent from 3-point range, fourth-best in the nation. Shooting from beyond the arc hasn't been a strength for BYU yet; the Cougars are at 31.2 percent from downtown for the season.
Weber State senior forward Frank "Mook" Otis, an Oakland, Calif., native transferred from SMU as a junior and an injury sustained early in last season's contest in Provo limited Otis' effectiveness the rest of the 2011-12 season.
As an out-of-stater coming into an in-state rivalry, Otis wants to prove the school he chose is one of the top teams in the region.
"I look at it as another game, but I feel like it's really big for me because I haven't had a chance to play against BYU yet," Otis said. "Last year I don't consider it as me playing because I got hurt in the first five minutes and the year before that, I was redshirting so I just had to sit and watch. So I'm looking forward to my last year of college basketball playing against BYU, a big in-state rival."