Weber State hosts Montana State Thursday

Friday , February 28, 2014 - 12:30 PM

Roy Burton, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — Weber State has won a school-record 22 consecutive Big Sky Conference regular season home games and 44 of its last 45 regular season conference home games.

That includes the first four of this season as the Wildcats (8-6, 5-1 Big Sky) are tied with Northern Colorado and Northern Arizona for first place in the league.

WSU’s last two contests produced not only a similar, scrappy style of play but identical 65-59 scores as the ’Cats defeated Southern Utah and Idaho State.

Expect more of the same against Montana State Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Dee Events Center, Weber State coach Randy Rahe said.

“Offensively, we’re not what we were last year,” Rahe said. “We led the country in field goal percentage and we led the country in 3-point shooting. It’s a different team. We don’t score the ball as easily as we did last year; it’s because of personnel. So we better grind, we better fight, we better defend and rebound. I’ll be honest, I think there’s going to be a whole bunch of these kinds of games in league for us.”

The Wildcats may not see many blowout wins this season, Rahe said, “but I like that (type of) team. I like having a team that’s got to grind and fight and be tough to have a chance to win. … Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to beat somebody bad, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen.”

It’s defense that’s getting it done for the Wildcats right now as they rank first in the Big Sky in scoring defense and field goal percentage defense.

Montana State (9-8, 4-2) handed Northern Colorado its only league loss to date -------- the same Northern Colorado team that beat Weber State 70-51 in Greeley, Colo., for the Wildcats’ one Big Sky defeat.

The Wildcats took the day off Tuesday, halfway through a four-game home stretch to be played in a week’s time.

“Our guys love playing four games in seven days because we didn’t play much in the preseason,” Rahe said. “They finally get a chance to play, but we’ve just got to lock in and get ready one game at a time.”

That’s the first part of what may become the Wildcats’ motto this year: “One game at a time,” Rahe says. “Grind away, find a way.”

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