College basketball: Weber State faces first conference road test
Ogden • There are two ways of looking at Weber State's record on the road, which is where all three of the Wildcats' losses this season have come.
It is easy to excuse each of the losses, which have come against established NCAA Tournament teams, including Pac-12 favorite California.
Then again, WSU must learn to win in several gyms where the hostile environment is the slimmest difference between a win and defeat.
This weekend, the Wildcats (10-3, 2-0 Big Sky), picked as preseason conference champions, leave home for the first time in league play. As favorites, the Wildcats, who are at Eastern Washington (7-7, 1-1) on Thursday and Portland State (6-8, 0-2) on Saturday, understand their role.
"Every team is going to give us their best," said WSU junior guard Scott Bamforth, who is averaging 20 points in his two BSC games. "If we don't come ready to play, they're going to take advantage of us.
"It just means that we have to practice harder. We can't have a night where we're not ready to play."
Eastern Washington, with junior Collin Chiverton and senior Cliff Colimon combining for more than 32 points per game, offers a true conference road test. Former NBA player Craig Ehlo is in his first season as an Eagles assistant.
Also, Weber State is still without injured starters Kyle Bullinger and Frank Otis, who are expected to be out for at least another week, maybe two.
In their absence, the Wildcats have discovered new depth inside and outside the key.
If times get tough, Weber State has the luxury of being able to lean on junior guard Damian Lillard, who continues to lead the nation in scoring at 25.2 points a game.
"When you go on the road you really have to defend and rebound well to put yourself in position," WSU coach Randy Rahe said. "You have to play tough and together on the road as well."
Weber State at Eastern Wash.
P Thursday, 7 p.m.
Radio • 1280 AM
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