With each passing game, the Weber State men's basketball team and star guard Damian Lillard seem to achieve another milestone in what is steadily becoming one of the best seasons in WSU hoops history.
The Wildcats, still undefeated in Big Sky play midway through the conference campaign, take a 10-game winning streak on the road tonight to face traditional league rival Idaho State at Pocatello, Idaho.
Weber State, coming off a 75-60 road win at Sacramento State on Thursday, is 16-3 overall — its best start since the 1979-80 season — and 8-0 in conference play for the first time since 2003 and the third time in school history.
The other two times a Weber State team started league play 8-0 — in 1968-69 and 2002-03 — the Wildcats wound up going undefeated in the conference.
Though Idaho State is just 6-14 overall, the Bengals are 4-4 in Big Sky play following a 99-94 double-overtime victory over Northern Colorado on Thursday.
The Wildcats have beaten the Bengals seven straight times, including a 78-64 victory in late December at Ogden.
Lillard, who leads the nation in scoring with an average of 24.8 points per game, needs just three more points to pass Jimmy DeGraffenreid for second place on WSU's career scoring list. With 1,622 career points, Lillard now stands 398 points behind all-time leader Bruce Collins.
Lillard also ranks fifth in the nation in free-throw shooting (91.2 percent) — a category in which WSU leads the nation at 80.6 percent as a team — and is also among the national leaders in 3-point field goals per game and 3-point shooting percentage. He ranks fifth in the Big Sky in assists and eighth in steals.
Senior forward Darin Mahoney had one of the best nights of his Weber State career on Thursday, notching a double-double with a season-high 14 points and a career-best 10 rebounds in the win over Sac State. He also had two blocks, two assists and two steals.
But Weber State will be without junior forward Frank Otis, who suffered a knee injury in practice this week and will be out indefinitely. Otis already missed nine games this season with a dislocated knee he sustained in the Wildcats' loss to BYU.
Otis, who had played in two games since his return to action, has averaged 6.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per game this season.
Idaho State has won three of its last four Big Sky contests and is led by senior Chase Grabau, who is averaging 13.6 points per game and lit up the Wildcats for 31 points, including 26 in the first half, earlier this season in Ogden. He scored 30 points in the Bengals' win earlier this week and is averaging 19.8 ppg in Big Sky play.
The Wildcats own a slim 26-24 edge over ISU in games played in Pocatello. The announcement of Weber State's NCAA Bracketbuster opponent, to be played the weekend of Feb. 18 at the Dee Events Center in Ogden, will be released on Monday.
Wildcats on the air
Weber State (16-3, 8-0 Big Sky) at Idaho State (6-14, 4-4)
Today, 7 p.m. MT
Holt Arena, Pocatello, Idaho
TV: none Radio: 1280 AM
Email: [email protected]