Weber State (0-1) vs. Prairie View (0-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, November 13th, 8:15 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pauley Pavilion (12,819) -- Los Angeles, California. Television: None. Home Record: Weber St. 0-0, Prairie View 0-0. Away Record: Weber St. 0-0, Prairie View 0-1. Neutral Record: Weber St. 0-1, Prairie View 0-0. Conference Record: Weber St. 0-0, Prairie View 0-0.
GAME NOTES: The Weber State Wildcats and Prairie View Panthers meet in consolation action of the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer this evening from Pauley Pavilion.
The Wildcats hung tough with the Miami-Ohio RedHawks in opening round action on Wednesday, but clutch shooting down the stretch propelled the RedHawks to a 70-66 decision. It was a bit disappointing for Randy Rahe's squad, which faces somewhat of a transition year with the loss of its top two scorers from a year ago.
The Panthers on the other hand knew they were in for a rough go of it in their season-opener on Wednesday, as they took on host and fourth-ranked UCLA. A slow start did in Byron Rimm II's team, as Prairie View dropped a lopsided 82-58 decision to the Bruins.
The Wildcats shot themselves in the foot against Miami-Ohio last night, as the team turned the ball over a costly 21 times, in what turned out to be a nail- biter. Kellen McCoy led Weber State in the scoring column with 16 points, thanks to 5-of-7 shooting from the floor. Redshirt freshman Kyle Bullinger added 13 points in support. The team as a whole shot the ball extremely well, hitting 53.7 percent from the floor overall and 52.9 percent from behind the arc (9-of-17), in addition to winning the battle on the boards (32-25). However, a 13-of-20 showing from the free-throw line and the alarming number of turnovers proved to be the difference. McCoy averaged 8.8 ppg a year, but seems determined to be the team's go-to-scorer, at least in the early going. Both Daviin Davis and Steve Panos will need to provide balance in the frontcourt this year. Both players notched seven points apiece in Wednesday's loss. The emergence of Bullinger could be huge for this team. Bullinger led the state of Wyoming in scoring as a high school senior two years ago (28.3 ppg), but sat out the 2007-08 campaign due to injury.
The Panthers played a sluggish first half and were buried in a deep hole at the intermission (38-19). Despite playing much better after the break, Prairie View was unable to cut into the deficit and fell by 24 points to the host Bruins. The loss spoiled a wonderful performance by forward Darnell Hugee, who hit 7-of-12 shots from the floor and 8-of-10 from the free-throw line to finish with a game-high 22 points. Michael Griffin added 13 points and Derek Johnson chipped in with nine, but the Panthers committed a whopping 27 turnovers and were completely abused on the boards, getting outrebounded 42-22. A veteran-laden team, Prairie View should be able to compete in the SWAC this season. Johnson averaged 11.0 points per game and led the SWAC in steals (2.0 per game), while averaging nearly four assists per game. He will be called upon once again to be a court-leader for role players like Hugee, Griffin, Dorian McDaniel, Jacoie Shivers and Tarrence Garrison.
The Wildcats just missed out on moving on in the tournament, although the reward would have been a date with UCLA tonight. Coach Rahe will get his team up for this matchup and Weber State should be able to get balanced scoring, en route to the win over the Panthers, salvaging something from the trip to the City of Angels.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Weber State 74, Prairie View 63
11/13 10:33:20 ET