Despite a difficult loss to Southern Utah University, the Weber State University men’s basketball team is keeping their heads up.

The Wildcats let a final minute lead of six points slip away, eventually falling to the Thunderbirds 90–82 in overtime at the Dee Events Center on Jan. 5. However, WSU sits just a game out of first place in the Big Sky Conference standings with a record of 3–1.

“We just gotta keep our composure,” junior guard Jerrick Harding said. “We gotta play together as a team. I feel like we lacked energy the whole game (against SUU). That led to us not getting stops.”

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#12 Israel Barnes working his way to the basket with the help from his teammate Zach Braxton. (Sara Parker / The Signpost)

The ‘Cats will return home on Jan. 17 for a pair of games against Idaho State and Northern Colorado.

Weber State faced off with the Bears three times in the 2017-18 season. The Wildcats came through with two comeback victories in the regular season, but it was a different result come playoff time. UNC routed WSU 80–55 in the first round of the conference tournament in Reno to end the Wildcats’ season.

Following the homestand, the Wildcats will travel to the Treasure State of Montana and take on two formidable foes. WSU will face off with the Bobcats of Montana State, followed by a meeting with the University of Montana Grizzlies in Missoula.

Montana State currently sits in second place in the conference with a record of 3–1, while Montana is 3–2 after two upset losses to Portland State and Eastern Washington.

In 2016-17, the Wildcats won in Missoula for the first time since 2009. However, a banged-up and depleted WSU team lost by double-digits at Dahlberg Arena at the end of last season.

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Wildcats head coach Randy Rahe said a key in conference play is to maintain composure, no matter who the opponent is.

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Jerrick Harding jumps for a layup. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

“I think we kind of let our guard down a little bit (against SUU),” Rahe said. “You can’t do that in this league against any team. Home, road, it doesn’t matter.”

With the conference switching from an 18-game regular season to 20, Rahe said there are sure to be ebbs and flows throughout the league.

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Forward Brekkott Chapman atempts a layup. (Joshua Wineholt / The Signpost)

“It’s a long season. It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Rahe said. “Almost every team in the league is going to go through an up or down or two, it’s just going to happen. What we have to do is persevere and bounce back. It’s a very easy fix, we just need to make sure our minds are in the right place.”

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No. 23 Brekkott Chapman shoots against BYU in the first period. (Kelly Watkins / The Signpost)
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