If Weber State Coach Denny Huston can admit he sometimes doesn't realize all the things junior forward David Baldwin does on the court until he looks at the numbers later, visiting Western Washington can be excused for a lapse here and there against Baldwin.
In the second half of Thursday's Dee Center non-leaguer, the Vikings hung close until they blinked a couple of times, and Baldwin cut loose. Four baskets in four minutes, 13 points plus five rebounds in an 11-minute stretch.Along with four baskets from guard Jason Joe and a couple from other assorted 'Cats, WSU zoomed from a 49-41 halftime lead to a 17-point advantage, and the Wildcat subs eventually got the lead as high as 25.
Baldwin finished with a team-high, career-high 19 points plus eight rebounds as Weber State swamped the Vikings 102-83, an auspicious start for Wildcat university-era teams. Weber shot 60 percent from the field.
"I just take David for granted, and that's a tragic part of it," said Huston. "I expect him to do that all the time, and the only time I reward him is after I read the stats and see all the things that he does do for us. And he did play an exceptional game."
"We lost coverage a couple of times; he shook loose for two or three easy ones," said sixth-year WWU Coach Brad Jackson, whose club was making its only appearance of the season against an NCAA Division I team. "They were setting some backscreens, and those are difficult to defend against."
"I don't know if it was totally my best game," said Baldwin, a transfer from College of Eastern Utah. The points came, he said, "Mostly on the offensive boards, and inside the guys were passing it to me. The part where I got most of my points, they were in a little zone," he said.
"It was a lot of fun; we needed a blowout," said Joe, the junior point guard who was 6-for-8 from the field and 4-for-6 from the line for 16 points.
Weber beat Cal-Northridge - again its opponent on Saturday in California - 69-61 on Dec. 29 to end a six-game losing streak, but the Wildcats hadn't had an easy night since their Nov. 24 117-79 win over Prairie View A&M.
Joe ignited the Wildcats' litter of baskets at 17:41 of the second half with a fast-break layin that was followed by a three-pointer from Tony Nicholas. Baldwin's rebound basket made it 58-44, and Joe drove on a 2-on-1 break with Nicholas for a layin and 60-44 lead, then followed his own miss with a rebound basket for 62-44.
"They had momentum going into the half," said Joe, "and we wanted to be much more aggressive. I think we were just concentrating a lot more. We weren't attacking the basket before."
The Vikings' Jeff Curtis (7-for-10, 3-for-5) led all scorers with 21, and teammate Ken Anderson had 17 points and led rebounds with 10. Bell and Al Hamilton had 13 each for Weber.