Weber State poses a challenge

The Cougars have a good test in store for them this Wednesday when they host Weber State. The 5-1 Wildcats' only loss came on the road against BYU's new conference foe in Saint Mary's (87-70). Meanwhile, Weber State defeated a Utah State team (73-63) that beat the Cougars to open the season. On top of all that, the Wildcats can put up some points.

"This is a very, very good team, very experienced team," said Coach Rose. "I think early in the season, they are advanced over a lot of other teams we've played."

In-state battles such as this one are unique, according to Rose.

"I think the in-state games are very emotional games, and it's important for one team to either match or exceed the emotion of the other team."

The Wildcats are led by point guard Damian Lillard, who is doing his best Jimmer Fredette impersonation by leading the nation in scoring this year (28.2 points per game).

"Lillard, he's as good a point guard as you'll face all year long," said Rose.

Lillard did not play against BYU last year due to an injury that ended his season early on. Two years ago he scored 23 points in the Marriott Center.

In his last two games, Lillard scored 41 points against San Jose State and 36 against Saint Mary's.

As a team, Weber State averages 82 points and 9.3 three-pointers per game.

"When you take a couple of these players – there's a handful of them that have all had really big games against us their freshman year, sophomore year, junior year – and now they're all playing together, we really need to make sure that defensively we're prepared for what we're going to see because they're all good, skilled offensive players," said Rose.

The Wildcats have never won in the Marriott Center, and Rose has never lost to them as head coach. Weber State last beat BYU in January of 2003. But, Rose noted that BYU has had some good battles against the Wildcats. One such game was last year, when the Cougars escaped Ogden with a 72-66 victory. Despite not having Lillard, the Wildcats hit 10 three-pointers against BYU.

Two years ago in Provo the Wildcats led BYU 54-53 in the second half before the Cougars took control and won 87-70.

The two teams also played an overtime game in December of 2006, with BYU coming away with a 73-69 road win.

If Wednesday's game comes down to the wire, the Wildcats should be prepared.

"They know where they're going in late-game situations, they've played in a lot of close games," said Rose.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge. I think it will be a great game."


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