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‘Cats hope to avoid inescapable hole

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OGDEN — Though the Big Sky Conference season is just one game old, Weber State finds itself in a hole. Thursday's loss to Montana State may end up costing the Wildcats dearly.

"It's going to make it tough," said Weber State coach Joe Cravens, whose squad was tabbed as league favorite in preseason polls by coaches and media. "You can't let one get away at home."

Facing a schedule void of home games in February, while the Dee Events Center is used as an Olympic press center, the Wildcats feel a sense of urgency. Perhaps it's the pressure, Cravens added, of knowing they've got to win at home that kept Weber State from loosening up in its 64-62 loss to the Bobcats.

The search for answers, though, won't be long. The Wildcats (9-5) play host to Montana (6-7) tonight at 8:05 in the second segment of a four-game Big Sky homestand.

"They are always strong on the defensive end and try to get you out of your rhythm early in the game," said Cravens.

The latter may actually benefit the Wildcats. They continued a preseason trend of slow starts by allowing Montana State to race out to a 20-6 advantage. Cravens and his staff are working at a frenzied pace to kick the habit.

"It's like playing with fire," said Cravens.

Another Big Sky loss at home will all but douse Weber State's hopes of winning the regular season title and hosting the league tournament. Five of the past six Big Sky champs have had no more than one setback at home during conference play.

E-mail: dirk@desnews.com