POCATELLO, Idaho — Weber State took care of the ball in the second half Monday night at Holt Arena; in the process, they took care of Idaho State.
Senior shooting guard Scott Bamforth scored all of his game-high 17 points after halftime as the Wildcats won their seventh straight game and 10th of last 12 meetings with the Bengals with a 70-54 victory.
Weber State (11-3, 6-0 Big Sky) led by just two at the break but quickly built a double digit lead as Bamforth and Co. came out firing in a 14-4 run. Scotty B. hit a pair of 3s and scored 10 points during the charge. WSU stopped offering charity to Idaho State (3-12, 2-4), which had its two-game winning streak snapped, and the Wildcats avoided a repeat of last season’s costly loss in Pocatello to stay perfect in the Big Sky Conference, tying Montana for first place at 6-0.
With his first point of the game, Bamforth became the 27th Weber State player to reach the 1,000 point milestone.
“I just wanted to be more aggressive,” the Albuquerque, N.M. native said. “In the first half, I got caught in the corner a lot in that zone; they just kept me there, kind of trapped me there and I couldn’t get no options and I couldn’t make no plays for nobody, so I just tried to get out of the corner and drive it.”
Bamforth was 3 of 6 from 3-point range and 4 for 4 at the free throw line after entering the game leading the Big Sky in free throw percentage.
Junior forward Davion Berry added 16 points for Weber State, while junior center Kyle Tresnak added eight points and nine rebounds. Senior forward Frank “Mook” Otis had eight points and eight boards and sophomore guard/forward Royce Williams scored nine points in nine minutes off the bench.
The Wildcats shot 61.9 percent in the second half and 55.8 percent overall, including 10 of 20 from beyond the arc.
ISU sophomore guard/forward Chris Hansen scored 15 points but only had a 3-pointer after the break. Junior guard Andre’ Hachett and senior guard Sherrod Baldwin each had 10 points for the Bengals.
Senior guard Melvin Morgan, Idaho State’s leading scorer, finished with eight.
Weber State outshot Idaho State 50 percent to 36 percent in the first half and outrebounded the Bengals 20-10, but ISU converted 10 Wildcats’ turnovers into 10 points to stay close, trailing only 28-26 at halftime.
“Almost all of those turnovers were unforced,” Weber State coach Randy Rahe said. “We missed passes, we kicked the ball around, we made some kind of ridiculous turnovers, almost careless more than anything.”
The second half was a significant improvement.
“(It was) just concentration, being aware of it — nothing strategically,” Rahe said. “I told them ‘Quit turning the ball over.’ Sometimes, you’ve just got to tell it like it is. Don’t give them the ball, we’d like to keep the ball, don’t give it to the other guys.”
Weber State finished with 12 assists and 15 turnovers after four and 10 at the half.
The Wildcats adjusted their offense to adapt to ISU, Rahe said.
“We went to a different set that we hadn’t been running much and it was really good for us. It enabled (Bamforth) to get some looks. We spread them out a little bit differently than we were doing in the first half and got the ball moving. We got them a little bit out of their comfort zone as far as their defense and made the extra pass and Scotty was able to knock ’em down.”
Hansen and Berry each had 12 points to lead their teams at the break.
Weber State plays the second of its three games this week Thursday, hosting Northern Arizona at 7 p.m. at the Dee Events Center. The Wildcats will face Sacramento State at home on Saturday.