The Weber State Wildcats tipped off the 2019-20 season against the Utah State Aggies at the rowdy Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan. It was a long night for the ‘Cats as the Aggies rolled to an 89–34 win and made a bold statement in the process.
The Wildcats traveled up to Logan on a night where they were hoping for an upset win against the 17th ranked team in the nation, but a sharpshooting USU team and a packed student section put a halt to those plans.
Head Coach Randy Rahe talked about his team’s opening game, “We played hard, that wasn’t the issue. The issue was we short-circuited. The first game, tough environment, Utah State was ready to play.”
The night’s problems began when Jerrick Harding rolled out of the locker room dressed in a black jumpsuit, he was not expected to play due to injury and those expectations held.
The next problem was that the Wildcats would only have 8 players available during the game which is a recipe for disaster.
In college basketball, there is nothing tougher than beating a ranked team in their house, especially if it is a true college basketball environment. The environment inside of the Spectrum is one that is often raved about and while the game was not sold out, it was loud. Once the momentum began to lean towards the Aggies, things turned chaotic.
Things began with the famous “I Believe that We Will Win” chant and the battle between the in-state foes was underway.
The Wildcats opened the game with three-pointers from junior guard Kham Davis and sophomore guard Israel Barnes, but the Wildcats struggled to score throughout the rest of the first half, and they finished with 13 points after the opening 20 minutes.
A big spark for USU came from sophomore Justin Bean who scored 15 points and had a putback that very nearly was a dunk, which brought the Spectrum from energetic to deafening and Bean made a free throw to bring the score from 33-11. Things began to get ugly.
When the first half came to an end and the noise came to a half, the Aggies held a 48-13 lead. WSU was fighting hard but could not buy a bucket which resulted in them shooting 18% from the field.
In the second half, the Wildcats played better on offense, but the Aggies stayed hot on offense which made them push their lead out and create more WSU headaches on behalf of the Aggie fans. The teams battled for another 20 minutes and when the final buzzer rang, it was an 89-34 win for the home team.
The Wildcats leading scorer was sophomore Donatas Kupsas with 10 points. He also pulled down six rebounds.
Despite what the scoreboard read, the Wildcats fought hard and never quit. WSU will learn from this loss and the mistakes that were made and look to apply it towards the rest of the season. The Wildcats did not look like themselves on Friday night and they ran into a wall because of it.
The fellas fall to 0-1 after the loss, but Weber State will have another chance to showcase their ability on Nov. 14 against the San Diego Toreros in the Dee Events Center, their first home game of the season.
“We have a chance to have a really good basketball team. This is not my first rodeo, been through this before. We’re going to take it, learn from it and move on,” said Coach Rahe.”