OGDEN, Utah — The Idaho men’s basketball team went searching for their first victory of the calendar year Thursday. But as has been the case for most of the season, the Vandals came up just a bit short.
Although Idaho had four players in double figures, Weber State had five with 11 or more points as it came away with an 84-74 Big Sky Conference victory at the Dee Events Center.
“They stuck with what they do best,” coach Zac Claus said. “They move the ball well, they take advantage of driving the ball hard to the rim and take advantage of scoring in the paint on some post touches. We have to give them a whole lot of credit for playing well.”
JJ Overton and Seikou Sisoho Jawara each had 18 points to lead the Wildcats (11-5, 4-1). Overton added six rebounds. Koby McEwen chipped in 12 points and had four assists. Dillon Jones had 11 points, eight rebounds and four steals. Dyson Koehler finished with 11 points for Weber State, which finished 29-for-62 (46.8 percent) from the field.
Senior guard Mikey Dixon led the way against for the Vandals (3-11, 0-4), losers of three in a row, with 19 points. Junior guard Rashad Smith added 13 points and five rebounds. Junior guard Trevante Anderson tallied 10 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Philip Pepple Jr. had 10 points.
As it has all season long, Idaho stayed in the game for the most part but couldn’t finish the job in the end. In games decided by 10 or fewer points this season, the Vandals now sit at 1-7, including six consecutive defeats in that scenario.
The final time Idaho held the lead was at the 12:23 mark of the first half when Anderson converted a free throw. Weber State took the lead for good shortly thereafter, using a 7-0 run in a 1:29 stretch midway through the half.
The Vandals next play at 5 p.m. Saturday at Idaho State.
IDAHO (3-11, 0-4)
Christensen 2-6 0-0 4, Anderson 2-7 5-6 10, Dixon 6-16 4-6 19, Salih 0-2 0-0 0, Smith 4-7 2-2 13, Pepple 5-6 0-0 10, Kilgore 1-2 0-0 2, King 2-2 3-3 8, Bertain 3-5 0-0 8, Quinnett 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 25-57 14-17 74.
WEBER ST. (11-5, 4-1)
Jones 4-8 1-2 11, Bassett 1-5 0-1 2, Jawara 7-13 2-2 18, McEwen 4-9 3-3 12, Overton 7-11 4-9 18, Koehler 2-5 6-7 11, Porter 2-7 4-4 8, Carlson 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 29-62 20-28 84.
Halftime: Weber St., 38-27. 3-Point Goals: Idaho 10-23 (Smith 3-5, Dixon 3-6, Bertain 2-4, King 1-1, Anderson 1-3, Quinnett 0-2, Salih 0-2), Weber St. 6-22 (Jones 2-3, Jawara 2-6, Koehler 1-3, McEwen 1-4, Bassett 0-1, Overton 0-1, Porter 0-4). Fouled Out: Bertain. Rebounds: Idaho 34 (Christensen 6), Weber St. 33 (Jones 8). Assists: Idaho 16 (Anderson 7), Weber St. 9 (McEwen 4). Total Fouls: Idaho 25, Weber St. 16. A: 2,822 (11,592).
The Vandals closed to within 23-21 with 6:28 left as Smith hit a 3-pointer, but the Wildcats quickly expanded the lead back to seven at the 5:38 mark after scoring five straight points. Weber State held a 38-27 lead at halftime, again scoring the final five points of the half.
The Wildcats started to stretch their lead out in the second half. It was 44-28 just 2:17 in and at the midway mark, it was 57-40. Idaho never was able to get it any closer than the final margin.
Weber State held advantages in points in the paint (40-28) and fast-break points (24-10), forcing the Vandals into 19 turnovers and committing just nine of their own.
The Wildcats also took advantage at the free-throw line, as they finished 20-for-28 (71.4 percent) as Idaho fouled them 25 times in the game, including 14 in the second half.
But it also was the first time the Vandals played with a full team since the middle of December because of several issues. Senior guard Nolan Bertain saw his first action since Dec. 18, scoring eight points in 11 minutes.
“It’s been wonderful to practice a couple of days with everybody,” Claus said “I am thrilled for Nolan. He spent a long time watching shows, reading books, and trying to work out in his apartment to stay sharp. I give him a whole lot of credit.”