OGDEN -- The Bengals slowed the Wildcats down but couldn't stop them.
Junior center Kyle Tresnak scored 15 points and hauled in seven rebounds to lead Weber State to a 56-40 win over Idaho State on Monday in front of a season-high 8,758 fans at the Dee Events Center.
With the win, WSU (17-5, 12-2 Big Sky) extended its home court winning streak in conference games to 15 and officially clinched its seventh consecutive Big Sky Tournament berth.
Now Weber State, in second place in the conference race, can turn its attention to league-leader Montana (18-4, 14-0), which brings a 14-game winning streak and a conference-record 25 consecutive Big Sky wins to Ogden on Thursday.
In Monday's low-scoring contest, junior forward Davion Berry contributed 14 points for the 'Cats and senior forward Frank "Mook" Otis turned in his fourth career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
WSU outrebounded Idaho 35-20, including 13 offensive rebounds as a team and nine boards by freshman forward Joel Bolomboy, and limited the Bengals to 38.6 percent shooting from the field.
"Coach (Rahe) preached rebounds against Idaho State because they play a lot of zone, so they have to find people to box out," Otis said. "Me and Trez were already in position for the rebound as soon as somebody missed. That helped us to get buckets too."
That zone defense slowed Weber State's offense down to its second-lowest scoring total of the season but the Bengals (4-19, 3-11), led by senior guard Melvin Morgan as the only ISU player in double figures with 12 points, never truly threatened to upset the favored Wildcats.
"We knew tonight was going to have to be a big grind, we knew we were going to have to slug it out a little bit," WSU coach Randy Rahe said. "They made it pretty tough on us there for awhile, but a lot of that has to do with them. I didn't feel like in the first half, we were quite emotionally invested like I'd hoped we'd be ------- just a little bit off. I thought that showed again in how we turned the ball over. Defensively, I didn't think we had the juice that we normally have, but the second half, we came out and after the first four minutes of the second half, we got our enthusiasm up, our energy up. I thought we really from that point on guarded really well. For the final 16 minutes of the second half, we looked like a team that could defend you a little bit and rebound a little bit."
Weber State held Idaho State to the lowest scoring total by a WSU opponent in two years.
Otis said the Wildcats knew what kind of pace to expect against the Bengals.
"Idaho State, I think they have one of the best zone defenses in our league," he said. "We couldn't get going on them tonight, we had a lot of turnovers and that's kind of what slowed us down."
Tresnak was 5 for 9 from the field and hit 5 of 6 from the free throw line.
"We played hard. We played the way we know how to," Tresnak said. "We had a couple of letdowns with (16) turnovers, but we're going to fix that for sure. The most important game is (always) the next one, so you can't overlook anyone and I feel like we did a pretty good job on that and were ready to play."
The 'Cats and Bengals combined to go 7 for 27 from 3-point range as senior shooting guard Scott Bamforth was 0-for-6 from the field and was held scoreless for just the second time in his WSU career.
Weber State used its huge rebounding advantage in the first half to fuel a 14-4 run, sparked by a Berry steal and a coast-to-coast layup and led 31-21 at the break.
ISU junior guard Tomas Sanchez's layup cut a 17-point WSU lead down to 35-28 early in the second half, but before the Bengals could make it too interesting after a 3-pointer by Morgan a few minutes later, Jordan Richardson responded with a triple and Gelaun Wheelwright added two more in short order to build it back to an 18-point advantage, 49-31.
Weber State and Montana tangle on Thursday night at 7 p.m. at the Dee Events Center.
* UTAH VALLEY 86, N. NEW MEXICO 62: At Orem, Ben Aird had 16 points and 15 rebounds Monday night, leading five teammates in double-figure scoring, and Utah Valley defeated Northern New Mexico.
Antoine Hosley matched Aird with 16 points and Zach Jones scored 14 for the Wolverines (12-13).
Jason Johnson and Holton Hunsaker each had 12 points and five assists for Utah Valley.
Brandon Jones led the Eagles with 19 points. Northern New Mexico, an independent NAIA team, had won five of six entering Monday but was counting this game as an exhibition.
Illyah Glover had 12 rebounds to help Northern New Mexico hold its own on the boards, as the Wolverines had a 37-36 edge in rebounding.