Weber State fought back from a 17-point deficit late in the second half, but a costly turnover at mid-court with :35 remaining and clutch foul shooting by Idaho gave the Vandals a 78-74 win.
"We just didn't play good defense, we didn't do what we needed to do," said Weber coach Denny Huston. "Our post defense was the number one problem."That was evident early. Weber jumped on top 5-1 before center Keith Stewart went to work inside, putting the Vandals on top 10-5. Weber managed to catch Idaho at 13 but an old-fashioned three-point play by Ricardo Boyd put Idaho on top 16-13 and Weber never caught up.
"We just allowed them to throw the ball where they wanted and to go where they wanted," Huston said. "When they do that you're in trouble."
In the end it was turnovers at critical junctures and Idaho's ability to answer back following key baskets that killed the Wildcats.
Idaho went up by 17 at 59-42 at the 12:00 mark and it looked like a blow-out was on its way. Weber's David Baldwin had different thoughts, however, and keyed a run that brought Idaho lead back to single digits at 63-54.
It was then time for reserve Elroy Miller to take over. Miller knocked in all nine of his points in a three and a half minute run to get Weber within three at 73-70 with :51 remaining. But Idaho nailed five of six from the line down the stretch for the win.
Idaho simply out-quicked the Wildcats in the first half using a series of baseline drives to run out to a 43-33 advantage. It looked like more of the same was in store for the second half as Idaho went on a 9-2 run to open the stanza and a 52-35 lead.
Weber went to a 3-2 zone and the Vandals responded by holding the ball outside and running time of the clock. Weber used the slow down to chip away at the Vandal lead with short scoring bursts keyed by two treys from Jimmy DeGraffenried.
"We needed to force them into lower percentage shots and the trap also helped get our kids stirred up and back in the game," Huston said. "We wanted to make them win it from the line in the end, and they did it."
The balance in the Idaho attack was evidenced by the fact only two Vandals scored in double figures. Boyd led the attack with 14 while Calvin Ward added 13. Stewart finished with 9 to go with 8 each from Clifford Martin and Lance Irvin.
For Weber, Baldwin had a game high 18 to go with 15 from DeGraffenried. Aaron Bell, who had a career high 21 on Thursday, was limited to just six points in the loss.
Weber drops to 1-1 in Big Sky play and 6-7 on the year. Idaho, with its second road win in two nights, upped its Big Sky record to 3-1 and its season mark to 8-6.