Ogden • Nearly everything went according to script for Weber State on Thursday night.
As expected, the Wildcats opened their Big Sky Conference season with a 78-64 victory against visiting Idaho State in the Dee Events Center.
It was the manner of how the Wildcats achieved their 900th Division I victory in 50 seasons that was questionable.
"They're not a bad team ... they played hard," said WSU guard Scotty Bamforth, who scored 21 points with 6 assists. "They played harder than us tonight.
"We came out to win. ... We just need to come ready to play."
WSU (9-3, 1-0), thanks to a three-point play by guard Damian Lillard, opened a 20-point lead early in the second half.
However, the Wildcats didn't resemble the team that had blown out Utah by 29. Despite a combined 47 points by Lillard and Bamforth, ISU (2-10, 0-1) dictated play in the second half to remain within hollering distance.
Idaho State, which had a coach resign recently, played as well as it could. Chase Grabau had a monster effort for ISU, scoring 31 points.
The Bengals' press also forced 10 turnovers in the second half.
"We were really inconsistent tonight," WSU coach Randy Rahe said. "Our mindset was really loose tonight. It wasn't locked in like it needs to be. ... It showed in our play.
"We'll get it solved."
Not that Rahe or any of his players were apologizing for the victory. And it wasn't as if the Wildcats were terrible.
Weber State shot 52 percent, including 9-of-16 3-point shots. Sophomore post Byron Fulton missed one shot on the way to 15 points.
But Fulton provided a microcosm of WSU's night. His spectacular shooting was colored by four turnovers.
Idaho State managed only 39 percent shooting but grabbed 12 offensive rebounds.
"We can take from [the game]," said Lillard, whose 26 points vaulted him back as the nation's leading scorer with a 25.4 average. "Especially the second half."
Expectations can be difficult, especially when sporting a large target, which Weber State has had since it was named the pre-season choice to win the league for the fourth time in Rahe's sixth season.
"That's the way we want it," Rahe said. "[But] when you get somebody down you've got to put them away. You have to get a little bit nasty when you get somebody down. It was like we wanted to be a bunch of nice guys."
R Weber State wins the 900th game in its 50th season of playing Division I basketball.
• WSU guard Damian Lillard scores 26 to improve his national leading average to 25.4.
• WSU wing Scotty Bamforth scores 21 and adds 6 assists.