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WILDCATS HAMMER EWU FOR 2ND STRAIGHT TIME

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The letdown was bound to happen.

The Weber State Wildcats scored 13 points fewer and their field-goal shooting dropped by 16 percentage points in Thursday night's game than in their first outing against Eastern Washington.Of course, there's really no need to panic when you have a "letdown" and still hit 54.5 percent of your shots as the 'Cats did en route to a 106-83 shellacking against the Eagles this time at the Dee Events Center.

Those are meager numbers, ahem, compared to the Wildcats performance in Cheney last month when they shot an incredible 71 percent from the field for 119 points.

"It was tough to get into it mentally," admitted WSU senior Jimmy DeGraffenried. "We expected to go out, do it again and have an easy game."

The 23-point margin isn't at all misleading, this was a blowout. However, the Eagles managed to make it somewhat interesting by halftime.

Sparked by DeGraffenried, Justyn Tebbs and Andy Smith, the Wildcats rumbled out to a 17-point lead with 3:28 left in the first half. EWU forward Luke Egan then scored all 11 of his points to help trim the deficit under single digits at 53-46 heading into the locker room.

Coaches don't really like it - as the Wildcats can attest - when their team shoots 61 percent and scores 53 points in a half but only leads by seven points.

"Our intensity wasn't there in the first half," said DeGraffenried who scored 16 of his game-high 26 in the first 20 minutes. "We did let up and at half time coach (Ron Abegglen) got on us."

Yes, he did, and it worked.

"They made me nervous in the first half," said Abegglen of the Eagles who also shot 61 percent in the half, "but they stopped in the second half and we made some good shots."

WSU scored the first seven points of the second half on a running floater by Tebbs, an Alex Fisher trey and a reverse layup by Smith, and cruised the rest of the game.

WSU improved to 8-4 in Big Sky play and 17-9 overall to keep its outside shot at a title alive. The Eagles are still looking for their first league win at 0-11 and 3-20 overall.

Tebbs and Smith each finished with double-doubles. Tebbs scored 21 on 8-of-14 shooting and had 11 rebounds, while Smith had 22 points and 10 boards.

The Wildcats were without the services of starting point guard Bryan Emery, who didn't play because of back spasms. Fisher started in his place, but freshman Damien Baskerville and Ryan Cuff split the majority of the point duty.

Baskerville had a good game, notching 11 points, five rebounds and four assists. Cuff, meanwhile, took a backseat in scoring with just eight points but dished out nine assists.