PORTLAND, Ore. -- Midway through the second half Thursday night at Eastern Washington, Weber State took a 22-point lead without a having a single player scoring in double figures.
Wildcats coach Randy Rahe likes the balance that stat represents.
"We're not relying on one guy, we're relying on everybody. I really like that. It's a good feeling out there. Our guys were really moving the ball, I thought we were sharing it, making an extra pass. Guys didn't care who got the shot as long as we got a good shot. It's fun for the team to play that way because everybody knows they're going to be involved."
It's harder for opposing teams to guard when they can't key on one or two players, Rahe says. Junior point guard Jordan Richardson (15 points) and junior center Kyle Tresnak (14 points) were Weber State's top scorers then, but neither dominated the game -- they just took what was given.
Now the Wildcats would like to take something else: another league road win. WSU (5-3, 1-0 Big Sky) faces Portland State (3-5, 1-0) tonight at 8:30 p.m. at the Stott Center.
The Vikings are under .500 on the season so far but have won two straight, including their conference opener Thursday. Portland State defeated Idaho State 63-49 behind a career-high 20 points from senior guard Lateef McMullan.
What Weber State accomplished in its own conference opener was a blueprint -- purpleprint? -- for how the Wildcats need to approach games like tonight's contest away from the friendly confines of the Dee Events Center.
"When you play on the road, you can't let a home team start fast. That's where they get their confidence," said Rahe, who won his 75th Big Sky game and 125th overall in his seven-year career. "We kind of challenged them: Let's be the aggressors, let's take the fight to them right from the start. We've got to set the tone of how we want to play. I thought our guys did a really good job of that."
The 'Cats did so in both the first and second halves Thursday, taking control from the opening tip and extending their lead immediately after halftime. Defensively, the Wildcats took away the Eagles' preferred weapon, the 3-point shot, and held Eastern Washington to 53 points, nearly 21 below its season average.
Weber State will look for a repeat performance tonight at Portland State. Both teams have demonstrated Zen-like balance so far: Weber State's starting five players average between 8.9 and 13.6 points per game; Portland State's starting five average between 8.1 and 11.6 ppg.
Now, the Wildcats have a chance to sweep the first league road trip of the expanded 20-game Big Sky Conference regular season schedule Christmas may be the season of giving, but in this regard, Rahe echoes Gordon Gekko: Greed is good.
"I told our guys, we've got to get greedy. And getting greedy means keeping a chip on our shoulder, playing with an edge," Rahe said. "It's going to be a big challenge. We're going to try to embrace it and get our guys ready to go. As long as we've got that edge and that chip, we can go over there and compete with them. It's going to be a tough ballgame, we know that, but we're excited that we do have an opportunity (to sweep a road trip). That's all you can ask for."