OGDEN — Going into Saturday night’s game against BYU, Weber State coach Randy Rahe had a good feeling about how his team would play.
And the prescient Rahe had a good feeling after the game, as his Wildcats defeated the Cougars, 113-103, at the Dee Events Center, snapping a 15-game losing streak against BYU.
It was Weber State’s first win over the Cougars since a 75-69 victory here in Ogden in January 2003.
“I felt a quiet confidence in practice this week,” Rahe said. “If you would have told me we were going to give up 103 points and win, I would have been shocked. Offensively, we were lights-out tonight.”
Not feeling so good was BYU coach Dave Rose, whose team dropped its third consecutive contest.
Weber State (5-2) scored 66 second-half points and shot 65 percent (22 of 34) over the final 20 minutes. Guard Jerrick Harding poured in 30 points while four other Wildcats scored in double figures.
BYU (5-4), meanwhile, shot 59 percent for the game, including 62 percent (22 of 35) in the first half, and got a game-high 31 points from Yoeli Childs while Jahshire Hardnett recorded a career-high 24 points. Childs was 13 for 23 from the floor, and Hardnett shot 11 for 15 from the field.
But, defensively, the Cougars had no answers.
“We could have guarded them better. They exposed us at every position. They went right past us, right to the basket,” Rose said. “They exposed us on the perimeter as far as their athleticism and their ability to drive and score off the dribble. That was a lesson in how to get to the rim, that’s for sure.”
“They were just better than us in all aspects tonight. It started with an inability to keep the ball in front of us,” Childs said. “They just broke us down one-on-one and they were able to get to the rim at will and make plays. They were able to drive, kick and penetrate and get whatever they want. They were more aggressive.”
Asked what Weber State did differently in the second half, Childs said, “They kicked our butts in the first half. They pretty much owned us tonight in both halves.”
The Wildcats were unstoppable at times, making an array of tough shots. They drilled 11 of 25 shots from 3-point territory.
Harding hit 11 of 17 from the field, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range. Cody John added 22 points while Zach Braxton scored 10 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. Brekkott Chapman had 13 points, including 3 3-pointers, and eight rebounds.
“They started to straight spread the floor and drive it,” Rose said. “(Harding) has a really good game off the dribble. He’s one of the best scorers off the bounce that we’ve seen. We tried almost every guy we had on him. We’re lucky he got in foul trouble in the first half or he would have scored 50.”
BYU made 5 of 14 from the 3-point line. TJ Haws struggled, going 1 for 9 from the field and 0 for 3 from the 3-point stripe.
Weber State led BYU at halftime, 47-46. The Wildcats opened the second half hitting 16 of their first 22 shots and led by as many as 15 points, 81-66, with 9:16 remaining.
The Cougars whittled the deficit to six points with 50 seconds left after a 3-pointer by Childs.
But Weber State knocked down its free throws in the waning moments — and the Wildcats finished 28 of 38 from the charity stripe on the night.
For Weber State, ending a 15-game losing streak is a big deal.42 comments on this story
“It’s great. We hadn’t beaten them. We had a chance to beat them last year. We’ve had other opportunities,” said Rahe, who is in his 13th season at the helm. “We’ve been right there with them. It feels like they’ve had our number a little bit. I feel good for the kids because it’s been 15 years and this is something they can really be proud of.”
The mood on the BYU side was much different.
“I think everybody’s upset. I’m upset, the coaching staff is upset,” Hardnett said. “We’re at a point where we’re trying to figure out ourselves right now. We’re going to stick together and come back to practice on Monday.”
BYU hosts Utah State next Wednesday.