With a 22-point lead midway through the second half against North Dakota and the Wildcats well on their way to their fifth straight win and eighth victory in their last nine games, Weber State coach Randy Rahe lit into his team during a timeout.
“I got (ticked),” Rahe said. “We gave up three or four baskets in a row and we’d kind of let in. That’s how we do it. We’re going to push them. We’re going to push them every day in practice, we’re going to push them every minute, whatever they’re doing, we’re going to push them hard. We’ve won a couple of games by a pretty good margin, but but we’ve got to get better.”
Rahe said Weber State’s wins this week against Northern Colorado and North Dakota came against teams that have had a lot of road games, and future opponents will be fresher.
“We’re going to push them. We’re never going to relax. We’re going to make them work harder. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to stay on edge and if we don’t stay on edge, somebody is going to kick our butt,” Rahe said.
With a 4-0 mark in the Big Sky Conference, Weber State is tied with Montana at the top, while the Wildcats’ opponent this Thursday, Southern Utah, is the only other team unbeaten in the league at 3-0.
The Wildcats have accepted the challenge of trying to reach their potential, he said.
“I don’t know how good that is, but our ceiling feels like we’ve got a pretty high ceiling now and they’ve got stay hungry and determined and go prove it up to people,” Rahe said.
“They haven’t accomplished anything so we challenged them early in the season — you guys want to make a name for yourself, go work your butt off.”
The message seems to be sinking in.
“We’ve got stuff to prove,” junior forward Davion Berry said. “None of us have won a championship. Coach tells us that every day, so we’re hungry. We have to just play like we’ve got a chip on our shoulder.”
Bam bam bam
Scott Bamforth is catching fire.
In his last three games, the senior shooting guard is getting back his sharpshooter reputation, going 14 for 23 from beyond the arc (60.8 percent) while scoring 18, 22 and 19 points.
After Thursday’s win over Northern Colorado, Bamforth said he’d been trying to be too perfect early in the season.
After Saturday night’s performance, his coach said they’d talked about it.
“Scott is so into basketball and he’s so invested into wanting our team to do well that I think early in the season, as a senior, he kind of felt like, I’ve got to play perfect and I’ve got to do things exactly,” Rahe said. “I told him a couple of weeks ago, you’ve just got to be Scott. Just trust your instincts, be who you are, don’t worry about making mistakes because you’re gonna play hard. He’s just doing that. He’s just playing the game right now.”
Players are better when they just play without overthinking the game, Rahe said.
“Scott’s been playing terrific. He works so hard. Last year, we had a guy, (Damian) Lillard, who was a hard worker. Scott has always worked as hard,” Rahe said. “He lives in that gym. It pays off for him when he just lets the game come to him.”
Saturday’s contest was Weber State’s 500th home game at the Dee Events Center. It also marked Randy Rahe’s 200th game as WSU’s head coach and his 100th Big Sky Conference game.
Weber State holds a record of 399-101 at the Purple Palace, while Rahe is 129-71 overall in his seventh 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.
Roy Burton covers Weber State sports for the Standard-Examiner. Follow @RoyBurton on Twitter, read more about the Wildcats at blogs.standard.net/wsu-sports-blog or reach him at email@example.com.