OGDEN — The BYU-Weber State rivalry has traditionally been one-sided.
The Wildcats have consistently been the underdogs, as the Cougars held a 29-10 all-time record entering Saturday’s annual matchup between the programs. However, the Wildcats held the advantage for games played in Ogden, holding a narrow 10-9 record.
Despite Weber’s best efforts to add to its home-court advantage, BYU prevailed 76-60 for the program’s 12th straight win in the rivalry.
The Cougars made 8-of-10 3-point shots in the first half, shooting 57.1 percent from the field. BYU forward Tyler Haws scored 14 points in the half, and the Cougars had a 39-25 lead at halftime.
BYU coach Dave Rose said the Cougars were focused after a 65-61 loss to Utah on Wednesday.
“Our guys were really good (Friday) in practice,” said Rose, who has never lost to Weber State as a head coach. “You have a disappointing result, and you kind of find out where your guys are and what they’re doing. I didn’t expect them to hit 8 of our first 10 shots, but I thought we’d come out with a lot of energy, a lot of focus because the guys were really on it.”
While BYU was scoring with ease, Weber State struggled throughout the night. The Wildcats made 19 total shots, including converting only 3-of-12 3-point shots.
"I thought we'd come out with a lot of energy, a lot of focus because the guys were really on it," said BYU coach Dave Rose.
Weber coach Randy Rahe said the lack of offensive production is a result of his team’s youth and inexperience.
“We’re not shooting the ball well right now, we’re trying to get comfortable, we’re trying to get everyone in flow,” he said. “We’re getting closer. We’re not there right now, so guys aren't comfortable yet. I think it’s going to come.
“I think we’ve got better shooters than our percentage are. We’ve just got to hang with it. We’re getting the shots we want, I really believe that.”
The Wildcats got as close as 51-43 with 11:11 left in the game, until BYU went on a 10-5 run to boost the lead to double-digits. However, Weber’s defense improved in the second half as the Cougars made jus 4-of-9 shots from long-range.
Rahe said BYU presents a unique challenge for teams defensively.
“We played an old, veteran basketball team,” he said. “They’re used to making the shots they made, and we’ve got some guys that are trying to find their way.”
One negative moment for the Cougars came when Haws rolled his left ankle with 3:29 left in the game. X-rays will be conducted on Haws’ ankle Sunday.
Rose said the team will have to adjust and overcome Haws’ absence for as long as he isn’t in the lineup.
“The first thing you think about is all the bad stuff,” he said. “You go out there and see it’s an ankle, and he’s had some ankle issues already. Hopefully for Ty’s sake, because he’s worked so hard for this year, we can get him back.”
Weber State plays another in-state rivalry game next Saturday when Utah Valley travels to Ogden to face the Wildcats. With the Wildcats’ record now at 3-5, Rahe spoke about the strength of Weber’s schedule this season.
“We’ve played a good schedule, and now you throw BYU on top of it,” he said. “I love it. I’m good with that; that’s why I set it up that way. We don’t shy away from anybody. We don’t just schedule to get wins; that does you no good.”
In spite of the loss, Rahe said the loss ended with a ray of hope for his team.
“I felt like after that game, we’ve got everybody on our team invested now,” he said. “We’ve been fighting that a little bit, with everybody not sure do they really want to give up themselves; are they really a team-first guy. I felt like tonight, we finally got it.
“Guys didn’t play great all the time, but I could see it in their minds. They’re fighting for the team, man; they’re giving up themselves for the team. That’s what we’ve always been about.”