The Weber State University men’s basketball team was in action for the first time in eight months, as they took on Chadron State College in an exhibition game on Nov. 1. Despite a sluggish start, the Wildcats came away with a 76–59 victory at the Dee Events Center.
WSU head coach Randy Rahe said he was pleased to see his team work out their kinks in an exhibition game.
“You gotta get out there and put the uniforms on,” Rahe said. “It doesn’t matter if they are veterans, young guys, they are going to have nerves. Our guys had a lot of nerves in the first half.”
Weber State missed their first four shot attempts in a low-scoring first half. The ‘Cats were 10 for 24 in the opening twenty minutes, as they led 30–21 at the break.
Junior guard Cody John returned to the court for his first game action since March 2017. He missed the entire 2017-18 season with a back injury.
John scored 11 points in 19 minutes, and said he was pleased with his progress.
“It felt great to be back out there with my teammates and enjoying basketball again,” John said. “It was really fun competing and getting back after it.”
John connected on a three pointer five minutes into the game. He said he felt a sense of relief by scoring early in his return.
“It felt good because it had been a year,” John said. “It helped to get the jitters out.”
Eleven players appeared in the contest for WSU, including the debuts of five freshmen. Guards Caleb Nero, Israel Barnes, Spencer Johnson, center Dima Zdor and forward Tim Fuller all saw action.
Nero led the way for the newcomers, scoring 11 points in the game. He was 7 of 9 from the free throw line.
Rahe said his freshmen benefitted from the opportunity to play in an exhibition before the season kicks off.
“They’re trying to learn a new system,” Rahe said. “It’s new to everybody in our system, coaches too.”
Junior guard Jerrick Harding, who was named to the All Big Sky Conference preseason team, scored a team-high 16 points in 23 minutes.
The Eagles were within six points with 11 minutes remaining, but the Wildcats pulled away late for the 18 point victory. However, Rahe said the final score was inconsequential.
“To be honest, I didn’t care about the score,” Rahe said. “I just wanted to see us continue to make progress throughout the game. I thought we did that. The guys got more comfortable in the second half.”
The Wildcats will hit the road to take on the University of San Diego in the season opener Nov. 6. It will be the first time WSU has opened the season away from Ogden since 2014-15.
“I picked (San Diego) on purpose,” Rahe said. “This is the best team they have had in 15 years. They have a whole bunch of veterans. I think it’s going to be really good for us.”
The Wildcats will return home for a matchup with Bethesda University on Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.