Tuesday, December 9, 2008

PSU leads 63-51 with 7:57 to play

It certainly hasn't been pretty, but the Vikings have managed to extend their seven point lead a bit more and a patient offense mixed with Lewis and Clark's inability beyond the arc (29 percent) I think that Portland State should avoid the upset here.

Seniors Mickey Polis and Andre Murray have taken control of the game for the Vikings with 14 points apiece. Jamie Jones, despite a mediocre shooting performance from the field--fifty percent, which is low for him--now has 12 points and eight rebounds.

PSU leads at halftime 37-30

After a dismal start that saw the Vikings trail by as many as eight points early on, Portland State has regained their focus and lead the Pioneers by seven heading into halftime.

Were it not for the performance of two backups, senior Mickey Polis and junior Julius Thomas, the first half could have been a disaster for the Vikings. Through the first twenty minutes the squad has 10 turnovers and has struggled to make consistent shots or defend the ball well.

Thomas, filling in for the struggling Jamie Jones has eight points and five rebounds but it was three three-pointers from Polis that gave the Vikings the lead at 17-16.

If Viking fans were worried about the team looking a little sluggish, they were right. Despite boasting a height advantage at nearly every position, the squad has struggled to score in the paint. Worse yet, the Pioneers quickness and versatility on offense is posing problems for the Viking defense.

Juniors Kyle Coston and Tyrell Mara are a combined one for eight shooting with three turnovers between them. Phil Nelson looks out of sync on offense and Jones' struggles in the paint have kept the Pioneers close.

Thankfully, Coston and Mara have done a good job containing Lewis and Clark's leading scorer heading into the game, holding the senior to just two points. The Pioneers are bombing the ball from deep with mixed results: think air ball, three pointer, air ball...

Despite the ragged start, I expect head coach Ken Bone to whip the troops into shape for twenty minutes of solid basketball.

Notes: Not sure what makes me more sad: Seeing former Viking point guard Brian Curtis participating in the halftime halfcourt shot for a free pizza, and bragging that he made it, or watching former Viking wide receiver Reggie Joseph mop the floor down during the break in front of athletic director Torre Chisholm and offensive coordinator Mouse Davis. Talk about awkward...

Funniest moment of the first half: after a solid colision that saw Pioneer guard James Hollins level the tiny Mickey Polis, one of the spandex clad student section tracksters shouted out, "You should try out for the football team... Maybe they would win a game... Maybe."

The reference was not lost on yours truly. The Pioneers are awful in football after reinstating their program three or four years ago.

Portland State vs. Lewis and Clark- Pregame

For the first time in eight games, the Portland State Vikings may finally have an opponent that they carry a height advantage against.

The Vikings head into tonight's game with a win loss record of 6-1, one of their best starts in school history. But in every game, Portland State has had to rely on their quickness and perimeter game as the squad is vertically, and often physically, overmatched inside. But not tonight.

Of course, the Vikings had to descend to the ranks of Lewis & Clark, a Division III team, to do so.

This game should be an easy win for the Vikings. Although the Pioneers were a decent squad last season, and boast a 4-1 record of their own, Portland State should have enough talent to simply overwhelm the Pioneers.

However, the same thing could have been said for this matchup last season. If you recall that game, Lewis and Clark gave Portland State everything they could handle and more. In the end, the Vikings escaped the Rose Garden with just a one-point victory.

Lewis and Clark is led by senior wing Tyson Papenfuss, a solid player with all-around skills. The Clackamas product comes into the game averaging 18.6 points per game.

Viking fans are hoping that the combination of finals week, playing an inferior opponent and the looming game at Seattle this Sunday will not distract the team too much.

Notes: While the Vikings warm up at one end of the court, the injured duo of senior point guard Jeremiah Dominguez and junior Paul Guede are shooting at the other end. In my opinion, and based on what I have heard, Dominguez looked well enough to play tonight but was kept out so that he would be fresh for the Washington game.

Transfer Donatas Visockis, the only player with any legitimate height, is nowhere to be found. He was ruled ineligible earlier this week and will miss the entire season.

Check back later.