George Washington basketball Coach John Kuester said before the season that the Colonials were going to be a team that would fast break and dive after loose balls.

Yesterday, the Colonials did just that in their season opener and defeated Montclair State, 87-59, at GW's Smith Center before 1,017.

Troy Webster led a balanced offense with 18 points for the Colonials in Kuester's debut. Brian Butler scored 10 of his 16 points in the second half, and Kenny Barer scored 13 and had eight rebounds.

The Colonials shot 56 percent for the game and scored the first 10 points of the second half to widen a 45-34 halftime lead.

In the second half, the Colonials, who didn't have a starter yesterday over 6 feet 6, used the fast break deftly. Directing it were point guards Joe Dooley and Mike O'Reilly, who had nine assists.

"We got the ball out of bounds quickly, and it made everything open," said Dooley. "They had their backs turned, and we went up court."

Said O'Reilly: "We're going to outwork a lot of teams. You saw what happened in the second half. We came out after them."

Kuester could find little wrong with the way the Colonials played.

"The only thing I thought is that in the first half, we could have cut down on turnovers and giving up offensive rebounds," he said. "The only thing I had to mention to them at halftime was intelligence. We settled down in both areas."

Montclair State, a Division III school, shot only 36 percent. Kuester said, "I really believe it's what we did on defense. You watch, they'll be Division III champions."

The Indians kept it close midway through the first half, pulling within 23-20 on baskets by Robert Smith (19 points) and Marcus Williams.

But behind the shooting of Barer and Moti Daniel (10 points), GW led by 11 points at halftime.

During the Colonials' 10-point outburst at the beginning of the second half, four points came from center Steve Frick, who finished with eight points.

Moments later, Frick, the starting center-forward, injured his lower back diving for a loose ball. He sat out the rest of the game but said afterward that he felt fine.

With 9:41 remaining, GW took a 68-47 lead on three straight fast-break layups, the first on a slam by Butler that brought the fans to their feet. The Colonials increased their lead to 81-51 when Chester Wood made a three-foot jumper at 3:15.