PROVO If there's one statistic Weber State coach Randy Rahe is tired of looking at other than the final score it's the so-called second-half win.
"We're tired of trying to win the second half to tell you the truth," Rahe said after beating BYU 36-30 over the final 20 minutes but still losing 72-57 on the final scoreboard. "You can call it a moral victory. But we're not interested in that."
In fact, the Wildcats who fell to 2-5 and have still never won a game in the Marriott Center looked like a team just about ready to tweak the lineup after another lackluster first half that saw its opponent jump out quickly to a big lead.
Weber State's normal rotation of post players struggled big time against the Cougars. Arturas Valeika, Steve Panos and Tyler Billings combined to make just five of 20 shots from the floor, scoring only 13 points and grabbing only nine rebounds. Conversely, BYU's interior trio of Trent Plaisted, Jonathan Tavernari and Chris Collinsworth scored 32 points on 13-of-26 shooting. They also grabbed 25 rebounds and blocked six shots.
The Wildcats, in fact, were led in rebounding by the smallest man on the court. Kellen McCoy, a 5-foot-6 reserve guard, grabbed six boards to lead the team.
It wasn't until the second half when BYU had the game well in hand that WSU was able to establish an interior presence, and that came in the form of freshman center Trevor Morris.
The 6-foot-9 Idaho product played only 17 minutes but is making a case for increased time on the court with his 12-point, 5-rebound effort.
"He's getting better and better every game," Rahe said. "He's got a bright future."
That future might be now if his play continues to impress his coaches and the play of his teammates remains inconsistent.
Morris twice was able to post up BYU's Plaisted and pump fake the Cougars' star into a foul while scoring. After the second such play in about a minute, BYU coach Dave Rose quickly pulled his center out of the game.
"I came in there playing with nothing to lose," Morris said. "We were predicted to lose by something like 30 points. So we just tried to be aggressive."
Morris ended the night as the only Wildcat to reach double figures in scoring and also had his team's only blocked shot of the game on a 3-on-1 fast break where he stuffed Sam Burgess.
That effort, however, was of little consolation to WSU's youngster.
Not even the second-half win mattered.
"It really means nothing," Morris said. "You can say moral victory, but we still lost the game."The Wildcats will try to correct their first-half problems on Saturday when they face San Francisco on the road.
E-mail: [email protected]