OGDEN — Weber State, still smarting from its first Big Sky Conference men's basketball setback of the season, tries to get back on track Thursday night when the Wildcats take on Portland State.

The 'Cats dropped a 64-62 decision to Idaho State last Saturday at Pocatello, Idaho, and are now deadlocked for the league lead with Montana at 8-1. WSU saw its 10-game winning streak snapped against the Bengals, who dealt the Wildcats a disappointing defeat on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

"We are coming off a tough loss Saturday," said WSU coach Randy Rahe. "Now we have to move on and take on a very athletic and dangerous Portland State team. We have to be ready to play every night."

The Wildcats are 11-0 at home this season and will aim to extend that streak against a Portland State team that has only won once in 19 previous games in Ogden. The Wildcats already own an 88-81 victory over the Vikings earlier this season at Portland, Ore., where Weber State junior guard Damian Lillard poured in 38 points. on the strength of a career-best eight 3-pointers.

Lillard leads the country in scoring with an average of 24.4 points per game. Portland State's Charles Odum ranks second in the Big Sky in scoring behind Lillard with an average of 18.2 ppg. The Vikings' Chehales Tapscott, who scored 26 points against the Wildcats in their first meeting earlier this season, leads the league in rebounding with 9.1 per game.

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Wildcats on the air

Portland State (10-11, 4-5 Big Sky) at Weber State (16-4, 8-1)

Today, 7 p.m. MT

Dee Events Center, Ogden

TV: none Radio: 1280 AM

>

> LILLARD NOW SECOND IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN SCORING Junior Damian

> Lillard finished with 15 points in Saturday's loss at Idaho State,

> tied for the second fewest points he has had in a game this season.

> He finished the night 5-14 from the field, including 1-7 from three-

> point land. He also added four rebounds and four assists.

> In the process Lillard passed Jimmy Degraffenried (1991-96) and

> moved into second place on the Weber State career scoring list.

> Lillard now has 1,637 career points, which also ranks 15th in Big

> Sky history. He is 382 points behind Bruce Collins, WSU's career

> leader in scoring. He needs 27 more points to move into 12th in Big

> Sky career scoring.

> Lillard continues to lead the nation in scoring now at 24.4

> points per game. Oakland's Reggie Hamilton is next at 24.0 points

> per game. Lillard is also seventh in three-point field goals per

> game and ninth in free throw percentage.

>

> LILLARD A FINALIST FOR WOODEN AND COUSY AWARDS

> Damian Lillard has been named to the John Wooden Award Midseason

> Top 25 list. He has also been named as one of 20 finalists for the

> Bob Cousy Award, which recognizes the top point guard in college

> basketball.

>

> MAHONEY EIGHT REBOUNDS FROM 500 CAREER BOARDS

> Weber State senior Darin Mahoney led the Wildcats with eight

> rebounds in Saturday's loss. On the season Mahoney is now eighth in

> the league in rebounding at 6.2 per game. He is averaging 7.4

> rebounds per game in Big Sky games, ranking sixth in the league.

> Mahoney, who has played in 111 career games with the Wildcats,

> now needs just eight rebounds to become the 24th player in Weber

> State history with 500 career rebounds.

>

> KYLE BULLINGER SCORES SEASON-HIGH

> Senior Kyle Bullinger scored a season-high 12 points in

> Saturday's game with the Bengals, finishing the night 5-7 from the

> field. Bullinger, who missed nine games earlier this season due to

> a dislocated elbow, is averaging 5.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per

> game for the Wildcats.

> The Mountain View, Wyoming native has played in 105 career games

> at Weber State. He needs 45 more points to become the 26th Wildcat

> with 1,000 career points. He currently ranks 18th in school history

> in career rebounds at 533 and needs six more three-pointers to move

> into fifth in school history.

>

> 'CATS BREAK TRENDS IN LOSS TO BENGALS

> Weber State lost for the first time this season when outshooting

> their opponent in Saturday's loss. It was also the first time they

> have lost when leading with 5:00 to play in regulation and the first

> time they lost when holding their opponents to under 70 points.

>

> WILDCATS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS

> Despite shooting 63.2 percent from the line in Saturday's game,

> their third lowest this season, Weber State continues to lead the

> nation in free throw percentage, now shooting 79.9 percent from the

> line. The Wildcats are also seventh in the country in three-point

> field goals per game (9.1), eighth in turnovers (10.7), and 22nd in

> scoring offense (78.1)

> Individually, Damian Lillard continues to lead the nation in

> scoring at 24.4 points per game and ranks seventh in three-pointers

> per game and is ninth in free throw percentage. Scott Bamforth is

> 13th in free throw percentage.

>

> 'CATS TO HOST TEXAS ARLINGTON IN BRACKETBUSTER GAME

> Weber State will host the University of Texas Arlington on

> Saturday, Feb. 18 in a Sears Bracketbusters game. The Wildcats and

> Mavericks will tipoff at 6:00 p.m. on Feb. 18 from the Dee Events

> Center and the game will be televised on ESPN3.

> The Mavericks are currently 15-5 on the season and 7-0 in the

> Southland Conference and have won 11 straight games. Their last

> loss came on Dec. 20 when they lost 73-69 at Utah State. Senior

> LaMarcus Reed leads the team and is fourth in the conference in

> scoring at 16.1 points per game. UT Arlington is coached by Scott

> Cross who is in his sixth season as head coach. They are currently

> ranked 19th in the latest Collegeinsider.com Mid-Major poll with

> Weber State ranked 17th. The Mavericks will join the Western

> Athletic Conference this summer.

> This will be the first ever meeting between the two schools.

> The Wildcats are 3-3 all-time against teams currently in the

> Southland Conference. The Sears Bracketbusters is in its 10th

> season and includes 142 schools from across the country, including

> all nine Big Sky Conference schools competing. A total of 13 games

> are televised nationally.

>

> HOME COURT SUCCESS

> The Wildcats are now 11-0 at home this season, which is their

> best home start since the 2002-03 season when they finished 13-0 at

> home. Dating back to last season the Wildcats have won 12 straight

> and 19 of their last 20 games at the Dee Events Center. WSU head

> coach Randy Rahe is 41-4 at home in Big Sky regular season games in

> his six seasons at Weber State.

>

> ABOUT PORTLAND STATE

> The Vikings of Portland State enter this week with a 10-11

> overall record. They are currently 4-5 in Big Sky play and tied

> for fifth in the league standings. The Vikings started Big Sky play

> 1-3, including losses to Montana, Montana State, and Weber State.

> They then won three straight games before losing two at home to

> Montana State and Montana last week.

> Portland State leads the Big Sky in field goal percentage at

> 48.0 percent. They rank second in five categories and trail Weber

> State in four of those five categories. The Vikings are second in

> scoring offense at 76.4 per game, but are eighth in scoring defense,

> allowing 73.7 points per game. They are also second in free throw

> percentage, three-point field goal percentage defense, rebounding

> and rebounding margin.

> Individually, senior Charles Odum is second in the league in

> scoring at 18.2 points per game and Chehales Tapscott leads the

> league in rebounding at 9.1 per game.

>

> HEAD COACH TYLER GELVING

> The Vikings are coached by Tyler Gelving who is in his third

> season at Portland State. Before becoming head coach he spent four

> seasons as an assistant coach at Portland State and prior to that

> spent ten seasons coaching at the college level in Washington.

> Gelving is 2-4 in his career as a head coach against Weber State.

>

> SERIES HISTORY

> Weber State leads the all-time series 28-11 over the Vikings

> and the 'Cats have won three of the last four meetings and 10 of the

> last 13 meetings, including earlier this season in Portland. In

> games in Ogden, WSU leads 18-1 all-time and has won seven straight

> at the Dee Events Center. The lone Portland State win came in

> January 2006.

> WSU head coach Randy Rahe is 10-3 against Portland State.

>

> EARLIER THIS SEASON IN PORTLAND - 01

07/12 - WSU 88, PSU 81

> Weber State defeated Portland State 88-81 Jan. 7 in Portland,

> behind 38 points from Damian Lillard, who knocked down a career-high

> eight three-pointers in the win. Lillard had 23 of his 38 points in

> the first half as the two teams combined to shoot over 65 percent

> from the field with just five turnovers in the first half. The

> Wildcats finished the night shooting 53 percent from the field and

> the Vikings shot 51 percent. Weber State was 10-26 from three-point

> land. Scott Bamforth added 21 points for the Wildcats, with 19

> coming in the second half.

> Chehales Tapscott led the Vikings with a season-high 26 points,

> along with eight rebounds and three steals.

>

> AROUND THE BIG SKY

> With the loss Saturday Weber State is now tied with Montana for

> first place in the Big Sky at 8-1. Montana State is third at 6-3,

> followed by Idaho State at 5-4. Portland State, Eastern Washington

> and Northern Colorado are all 4-5.

>

> QUOTING WSU HEAD COACH RANDY RAHE

> "We are coming off a tough loss Saturday. Now we have to move

> on and take on a very athletic and dangerous Portland State team.

> We have to be ready to play every night."

>

> INJURY WOES ADDING UP

> Weber State junior Frank Otis suffered an MCL injury in his knee

> last week in practice and will be out for the remainder of the

> season. Otis started the first seven games of the season for the

> Wildcats before dislocating his knee at BYU and missing the next

> nine games and returned against Montana on Jan. 14 and played in the

> next two games before the injury in his other knee.

> WSU freshman center James Hajek dislocated his knee in the Jan.

> 7 game at Portland State and is expected to miss another two to

> three weeks of action.

> So far this season Weber State has missed 25 player games due to

> injury.

>

> LOOKING AHEAD

> After Thursday's game the Wildcats will stay home to host

> Northern Colorado Saturday at the Dee Events Center.

>

> TIME CHANGE FOR NO. COLORADO GAME FEB. 4

> The Northern Colorado game on Feb. 4 will start at 5:00 p.m. at

> the Dee Events Center and will be televised on Altitude TV.

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