After starting off its conference season with two home wins, the Weber State University men’s basketball team will head out on the road this weekend on its first road trip of the season.
The Wildcats played the University of Northern Colorado yesterday and will face the University of North Dakota on Saturday.
“We have a tough road trip ahead,” said WSU head coach Randy Rahe on Saturday. “Our mindset is that we are going to go in there and fight like crazy.”
After going just 3-5 in the pre-conference season, the Wildcats feel like they finally have a rhythm going.
“At the beginning of the season, we had to wait like 10 days between games,” said WSU senior Jordan Richardson. “This is our first time playing back-to-back games. We feel like we have a rhythm right now. We’ve got to keep it going right now. We’ve got our first road trip coming up.”
The Wildcats looked out of sync to start off their first two games of conference play. In part, this was due to the irregular schedule they faced early on.
WSU looked rusty in the first half of its first game against Eastern Washington University. But the Wildcats heated up in the second half.
“We got our jitters out,” said WSU freshman Jeremy Senglin. “I felt like at the beginning everyone was kind of nervous, because it was our first conference game, but in the second half we didn’t have that in us anymore.”
Senglin is just one of several freshmen making an impact on the team. Rahe said he is pleased with their progress and looks for them to make more contributions both on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball on WSU’s road trip.
“When you go on the road, your defense has to be incredibly stingy,” Rahe said. “At home the last two games, we’ve started to rebound the ball. Whenever you go on the road, if you can’t defend at the highest level that you are capable of and rebound at the highest level, you have no chance. That’s what helps you win on the road.”
With all of their youth, the Wildcats will face a test this week against the team with the most experience in the league. UND has seven seniors on its team and has started five at times in its lineup.
“After playing Northern Colorado on Thursday night, we’ve got a long trip to get over to North Dakota,” Rahe said. “There is no easy way to get there. Then we’ve got to play a 2 o’clock game on Saturday, which doesn’t give us a lot of time to prepare. That always makes it really challenging. We’re really excited about getting out there.”
The Wildcats welcome the challenge of going on the road against two of the best teams in the conference. Rahe said he sees it as just one more learning experience.
“We’ve always embraced going out on the road, especially in tough places against good teams like these teams are,” Rahe said. “We are excited to see what we can do and what we can become. I think it will tell us a little bit more about where we are at as a team and what we have to do to grow.”
With some of their inexperience and their slow start, the Wildcats look to continue their hot streak and keep their momentum going. With a few more games under their belts, the players hope to reach their potential.
“We are going to hit some peaks here pretty soon,” Rahe said. “I think this team has a good upside and a big ceiling. We are not really there yet, but we will (be). In three weeks, I think we will start to play really good basketball.”