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Weber State basketball: Wildcats wary of Montana hangover

Published: Saturday, Feb. 5 2011 12:19 a.m. MST

OGDEN — It's a term known in Big Sky Conference football, but one that certainly applies when Weber State hosts Montana State in basketball today.

To stay hot in conference action, the Wildcats will have to avoid a Montana hangover.

Weber State, which is coming off of wins over Northern Colorado and Montana — the two teams currently sharing the Big Sky lead — has to be careful against the struggling Bobcats. The Wildcats' last two wins have been emotional and draining, and they'll have to find some energy against Montana State.

"I'm sure our coaches are concerned about it (a possible hangover)," said Weber State forward Kyle Bullinger. "That's our responsibility as upper classmen to make sure that we're ready to go, but I think we will be. Our team's come a long ways. We're going to be ready to go."

The Wildcats and Bobcats have gone in opposite directions since Weber State lost at Montana State on Dec. 29. The Wildcats have won five of their last seven games to move into a third-place tie with Northern Arizona.

Montana State, meanwhile, has lost four straight games and is shooting the ball horrendously. The Bobcats' shooting percentage in their four losses are 28.8, 32.7, 40.4 and 35.3.

Weber State is playing some of its best basketball of the season. The Wildcats seem to have found their identity with their best player, Damian Lillard, sidelined for the rest of the season with a foot injury.

"These guys just keep getting better," said Weber State coach Randy Rahe. "When Damian went down a few weeks ago, the things that we talked about that we've got to do as a team to have a chance to be successful now is we've got to be the most physical team, the toughest-minded team, the most together team and we've got to try and basically be like a bunch of junkyard dogs out there, and fight and scratch."

It's a formula that's working for the Wildcats, who are focusing on defense and getting scoring from a variety of different players.

"Sometimes it won't be pretty, but that's what we've got to do and I think these kids have found the identity of that's how we have to play," said Rahe.

Weber State has been led in scoring by a different player in its last three games. Center Trevor Morris had 17 points against Montana on Thursday night. Freshman Jordan Richardson came off the bench to score 17 against Northern Colorado last Saturday. Scott Bamforth had 19 points in the Wildcats' first game against Northern Colorado two weeks ago.

Wildcats on the air

Montana State (11-11, 5-5 Big Sky) at Weber State (11-9, 5-4)

Today, 4:05 p.m.

Dee Events Center, Ogden

TV: Altitude Radio: 1430 AM

e-mail: aaragon@desnews.com

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