Weber State gets tough test in No. 23 UNLV

Weber State gets tough test in No. 23 UNLV

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LAS VEGAS -- The Weber State Wildcats (5-4, 1-0 Big Sky), currently on a four-game winning streak, are on the road facing their toughest challenge so far this season, #23 UNLV (8-1), in Las Vegas Thursday night.

The Wildcats are coming off a big 84-66 win against Southern Utah last week; a performance they call their best so far.

"We've got good shooters. I know that a lot of people have talked about our shooting, but we can shoot and we're going to shoot." WSU Head Coach Randy Rahe.

"I was pleased with our effort and the way they came out and took care of business," said Head Coach Randy Rahe. "We really shared the ball and everyone was chasing down missed shots and hustling."

The Wildcats led from start to finish and at one point by as many as 21 points. Center Steve Panos led the way with 19 points, but more importantly the team shared the ball totaling 18 assists.

Nick Hansen, Franklin Session, Lindsey Hughey, and Damian Lillard also scored in double digits for the Wildcats.

The T-Bird defense did force the Wildcats into 16 turnovers for the game, something Rahe isn't pleased with.

"I was a little concerned that we turned it over twelve times in the second half, I didn't like that. That's not our team. This team doesn't really turn it over much," Rahe said.

Weber State will have to take much better care of the ball if they want to have a chance against UNLV, as the Rebels are averaging an impressive nine steals per game and forcing teams into 39 percent shooting.

"They will be by far, the most talented team up and down the line up that we have faced this season. They have two or three players who have a pretty good chance of playing at the next level," Rahe said plainly. "They are extremely quick on both ends of the court, especially the defensive end."

The Rebels, coached by former NBA coach Lon Kruger, are also coming off a win against Southern Utah. The Rebels beat the T-Birds 77-59 Tuesday after suffering their first loss of the season to Kansas State, 95-80.

UNLV is led by junior guard Tre'Von Willis, a 6 foot 4 inch transfer from Fresno, California who is leading the team with averages of 16 points and four rebounds a game.

The Wildcats seemed to break out of their season-long shooting slump against the T-Birds. They shot 48 percent from the field and 39 percent from the 3-point line; well above their season averages of 43 and 29 percent.

"We've got good shooters. I know that a lot of people have talked about our shooting, but we can shoot, and we're going to shoot," said an optimistic Rahe.

The Wildcats know they have their hands full with the Rebels but are looking to build off the momentum from the SUU win and from their current four-game winning streak.

"Just carry this momentum that we have right now into each game and just take it one game at a time. UNLV is a great team, we just got to take this momentum that we have and go into that game and play tough and stay together," said Panos.

Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.

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