WSU heads back on the road

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WSU’s Damian Lillard lays the ball up during a recent game. The Wildcats will hope to remain unbeaten in conference play this week when they take on Portland State University, and Idaho State University.

After a four-game home stand, the Weber State University men’s basketball team will return to the road when they head to Sacramento State University on Thursday. Then they will head to Pocatello to face off against Idaho State University.

Scott Bamforth said that he is looking forward to returning to the road and hopes the team can continue with their recent success.

“I’m excited to be back on the road,” Bamforth said. “I think it will be a good challenge for us to play well again on the road.”

WSU is currently riding a nine-game win streak and are undefeated in Big Sky Conference play. This will be their second road trip of the conference season.

On Thursday they will take on SSU, who is currently 6-13 and ranked in last place in the Big Sky Conference standings. The Hornets are on a seven-game losing streak.

WSU knocked off the Hornets earlier this season at the Dee Events Center 74-63. In that game, Damian Lillard scored 22 points and pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.

Following the game against SSU, the Wildcats will continue their road trip and head to Pocatello where they will face the Idaho State University Bengals.

The Wildcats opened Big Sky play against ISU in late December, winning that game 78-64.  WSU started out slow against the Bengals, and the score was close for much of the game. Following the game, Head Coach Randy Rahe said his team needed to become stronger and play better basketball.

“We had some good moments, but we were too sporadic and didn’t play a full 40 minutes,” Rahe said.  “We have to play tougher, especially in conference games.”

Against the Bengals, Lillard scored 26 points, three assists and two steals.

The Bengals have a 4-14 record and are 2-4 in the Big Sky Conference. ISU is seventh in the conference. ISU is coming off of a 80-68 loss to Portland State University,

The last time that WSU took on ISU, and SSU the Wildcats were without Frank Otis and Kyle Bullinger who were both injured. Both Otis and Bullinger are now healthy, and Bamforth said having them back is a big boost to the team.

“It’s exciting to have Bull (Bullinger) and Mook (Otis) back,” Bamforth said. “They give us more depth, and obviously they are good players, so it’s good for our team.”

Since Otis’ return, he has helped WSU’s bench. In the game against Montana State University, Otis scored seven points off the bench in the first half. Against NAU, Otis scored 12 points.

Otis said that he is happy to be back playing for WSU.

“I’m just happy to be back,” Otis said. “I had nothing to lose. I just wanted to get out there and play.”

Bullinger’s come back is taking more time. While he has played in the last three games for WSU, he has only scored one point.

Lillard is currently in fourth place on the all-time scoring list at WSU. He needs 22 points to move into third-place on the all time list.

Following the two-game road trip, the Wildcats will return to the Dee Events Center on Feb. 2 when they take on PSU.