The Wildcats had the right stuff in the Wright brothers' hometown of Dayton, Ohio.
Now Weber State coach Randy Rahe hopes a road win over the Dayton Flyers last Friday provides the Wildcats some liftoff as they prepare for the rest of the season.
Similar to WSU's previous opponent, Utah State, Dayton had an impressive home record over the past several seasons and a tradition of great crowds, but the Wildcats (2-2) walked away from UD Arena with their first signature win of the 2012-13 season.
After WSU shot 34.0 percent from the field in its loss to USU, Rahe he didn't have a problem with his team's shot selection but believed it was a matter of time before those shots started falling.
They did in the second half against Dayton.
Despite shooting 30.8 percent and trailing the Flyers 25-20 at halftime, the Wildcats took off after the break, doubling their second-half shooting percentage to 61.9 percent, including 6 of 10 from 3-point range.
"We got good shots at Utah State, we just didn't make them," Rahe said. "For whatever reason, in the second half against Dayton we got comfortable, we really executed well and the shots went in. The more we play, the more game experience we get, the more comfortable we're getting offensively. I think that was a big part of it, just settling down and relaxing a little bit when you do get those open shots."
Though the Wildcats hadn't yet won on the road, Rahe believed they were close after taking San Jose State to overtime and Utah State to the final three minutes.
Winning at a tough place like University of Dayton Arena, the site of the NCAA Tournament's First Four, is a momentum-builder for WSU. Dayton had 12,176 fans in attendance last Friday, its 205th consecutive game with over 11,000 tickets sold, and now has a home record of 90-16 over the past six seasons.
"They get great crowds," Rahe siad. "They get 12,000 every home game. It's a great basketball environment. They've got a great basketball tradition and there's a reason they win a lot over there; the crowd has a lot to do with it. They got going a little bit in the second half, they've got the same kind of thing going as the Spectrum, and (visiting teams winning) doesn't happen very often, so I was proud of our guys for finding a way to pull one out in a close game."
Rahe recently announced the addition of one more commitment during the signing period, former Idaho Gatorade player of the year Josh Fuller. The 6-foot-7, 210 pound forward from Rexburg, Idaho, redshirted at the University of Utah in the 2010-11 season with former coach Jim Boylen, but when new Utes coach Larry Krystkoviak was hired, Fuller was asked to walk-on after returning from his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints instead of being on scholarship.
Fuller re-opened his recruitment and will be a Wildcat on his return from Chile next April.
"The thing I like about him is he's a tough kid," Rahe said. "He's a power forward and he can shoot the ball well. He can be kind of a stretch-you-out type of 4 man, which we're always looking to have one or two of those guys around. ... He's got a good basketball IQ so all those things that he brings, it's kind of a fit for how we play. I was excited he wanted to come so we grabbed him up and took him."
Weber State also officially announced the signing of another Idaho player, Shelley High senior McKay Cannon, who is also planning to serve an LDS mission and will return for the 2015-16 season.
Weber State's Wildcat Club luncheon will be held today at noon at the Ogden Marriott Hotel on 24th Street. The luncheons are open to the public; cost is $10 per person. For more information, call the Wildcat Club at 801-626-6576 or visit weberstatesports.com.
Roy Burton covers Weber State sports for the Standard-Examiner. Follow @RoyBurton on Twitter, read more about the Wildcats at blogs.standard.net/wsu-sports-blog or reach him at email@example.com.