PORTLAND, Ore. — Weber State has already completed the dreaded Montana trip in conference play, but a roadie that may be just as difficult looms this weekend.
The Wildcats face high-scoring Portland State tonight, and then play Big Sky-leading Northern Colorado on Saturday. Both teams present some problems for the Wildcats, especially the surprising Bears.
Weber State, however, can't look past the Vikings before facing Northern Colorado. Portland State, which is ineligible for the Big Sky postseason tournament this season because of APR violations, scores an average of 74.6 points per game.
The Vikings are led by sophomore Chris Harriel, who has improved his scoring average by 12 points from last season, up to 15.9. He is complemented by junior college transfers Charles Odum and Chehales Tapscott. Odum is scoring 14.2 points per game, and Tapscott is averaging 11 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.
"Top to bottom, they may be the most talented team in the league," said Weber State coach Randy Rahe. "Chris Harriel might be the most improved player in our league this season. They come at you from so many areas on the offensive end it's hard to keep track of them."
Weber State (74.7) scores a tad more than the Vikings, so tonight's game could be a shootout. The Wildcats, even without star guard Damian Lillard, are equipped to play the Vikings' style. Lindsey Hughey is emerging as the team's go-to player, as he's averaging 16.4 points per game since Lillard was lost for the season.
Another player who has stepped up his game is forward Kyle Bullinger. He has averaged 12.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game since Lillard went out. Trevor Morris (10.6) and Scott Bamforth (10.0) also are scoring in double figures in Weber State's last seven games. Byron Fulton is coming off of two solid games, as he had 17 points against Sacramento State on Thursday and 16 against Idaho State on Saturday.
The Wildcats lead the overall series against the Vikings 26-10, but Portland State is 9-8 against Weber State at home.
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