Weber State fired up for BYU’s visit Saturday and chance to end Cougars' 15-game winning streak in basketball series

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brigham Young Cougars forward Yoeli Childs (23) blocks a shot by Weber State Wildcats forward Michal Kozak (11), in Beehive Classic basketball action at the Vivint SmartHome Arena, Saturday, December 9, 2017.

Provo • On Jan. 8, 2003, in the middle of coach Steve Cleveland’s sixth season, BYU’s basketball team made the 80-mile trip north to Ogden and lost 75-69 to Weber State.

The Cougars haven’t lost to the Wildcats since, winning 15 straight games against their in-state rival. Six of those BYU wins came at the Dee Events Center, as the Cougars made an appearance at the Purple Palace every other year from 1974 to 2014, the last time they played in Ogden.

Hot-shooting Weber State (4-2) hosts struggling BYU (5-3) at the Dee on Saturday night with perhaps its best shot at ending the streak in years. The Wildcats gave the Cougars all they wanted last year at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City before falling 74-68 late in the Beehive Classic, and have won four of their last five.

The school is selling BYU’s first visit in four years to its fans as a rare opportunity to watch a football-basketball doubleheader. Weber State’s No. 2-ranked football team hosts Southeast Missouri at 2 p.m. in an FCS playoff game at Stewart Stadium.

“We got a good team. It is going to be fun. We’re fired up. It is going to be a great day to be a Wildcat … We got a great culture up here,” Weber State coach Randy Rahe told The Zone Sports Network.

The Ogden Standard Examiner is hyping it as a “momentous day” for Weber State athletics.

For BYU, which is coming off an 92-89 overtime loss at Illinois State, it marks the beginning of a three-game stretch against in-state teams and the final game without suspended guard Nick Emery. The Cougars host Utah State on Wednesday and meet Utah next Saturday in the Beehive Classic.

“We get all three of the experiences — road game, home game, neutral site game — with the in-state teams,” BYU coach Dave Rose told the BYU sports network after the loss to Illinois State. “We look forward to these games, but now we are in a tough spot. Our guys are down. They are looking for answers, and where [leadership] is going to come from.”

BYU has played a more difficult schedule than Weber State, but the Wildcats have what the Cougars lack through the first quarter of the season: sharpshooters and offensive balance. Wildcat starters Jerrick Harding (23.3), Cody John (16.2), Brekkott Chapman (10.2) and Zach Braxton (12.0) are averaging in double figures and all four are shooting 50 percent or better from the field.

The Wildcats are shooting 50 percent as a team, including 40.5 percent from 3-point range. BYU is shooting just 27.8 percent from deep, which ranks the Cougars 321st in the country out of 351 teams.

“We need our whole group of guys to find their confidence and find a way that we can get this next game,” Rose said. “That’s all you can do.”


At the Dee Events Center, Ogden

Tipoff • Saturday, 7 p.m.


Radio • KSL 1160 AM, 102.7 FM

Records • BYU 5-3, Weber State 4-2

Series history • BYU leads 33-10

Last meeting • BYU 74, Weber State 68 (Dec. 9, 2017)

About the Wildcats • They are coming off a 100-61 win over Benedictine on Tuesday, an NAIA opponent that coach Randy Rahe called a tuneup for BYU’s visit. … They have lost 15 straight games to BYU. …Guard Jerrick Harding is averaging 23.3 points per game, No. 20 in the country … They are picked to finish second in the Big Sky Conference this season. Four players on the roster — Brekkott Chapman (Roy), Caleb Leonhardt (Davis), Spencer Johnson (American Fork) and Brenden Morris (Ben Lomond) — hail from Utah.

About the Cougars • TJ Haws became the 52nd player in school history to score 1,000 points with a 22-point effort in the 92-89 overtime loss at Illinois State on Wednesday. … Yoeli Childs has six double-doubles this season and 26 in his career, they 10th most in BYU history. He made three 3-pointers against the Redbirds. … They are 13-0 against the Wildcats in coach Dave Rose’s tenure, 6-0 in Provo, 5-0 in Ogden and 2-0 in Salt Lake City.