Roberto Nelson had a season high 26 points to lead Oregon St. to their win over Grambling St., and went 3 of 3 on 3s last year against Portland St. Watch for Nelson to light things up again against the Vikings. - (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)
Oregon St. (5-2) at Portland St. (1-4) / Stott Center / 7:30 PM PST / Comast Northwest / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
Oregon St. continues its December bake sale with a trip to Portland to take on the Vikings, in their next to last non-conference road trip of the season.
The game is quite a "get" for Portland St., as its the first trip ever to the 1,500 seat Stott Center by a Pac-8/-10/-12 team. In turn, its one of the biggest games of the year for Comcast Sports Northwest in their Big Sky contract. The Vikings are planning a "white-out" to celebrate.
Oregon St. has played the Vikings in Portland 3 of the 12 times the teams have met, all Beaver wins, but always over at Memorial Coliseum.
It's also the first time in 7 years that the Beavers have played in Portland, which used to be an annual destination in the days of the Far West Classic.
Despite, or possibly because of, the close quarters, the Stott Center is not an easy place for visitors to win in; the Vikings are 66-17 dating back to the 2006-07 season in their cozy home that's smaller than a lot of high school arenas.
The game is a rematch of last year's Oregon St. rout of Portland St., which ended a 9 year break in the series, when the Beavers connected on 13 3 pointers to pull away after halftime, and blow the Vikings out 101-68. Ahmad Starks, the current Pac-12 leader in made 3 pointers, made 5 of those 3 pointers in last year's game, leading a half dozen Beavers in double figures, with 17 points.
Eric Moreland, currently the Pac-12's leading rebounder (averaging 11.6 per game), added a double-double, with 13 boards and 10 points against Portland St. last year, precisely what head Coach Craig Robinson would like to see repeated.
The Vikings went to back to back NCAA Tournaments under coach Ken Bone before he left for the Palouse to coach Washington St., but has slipped back in the Big Sky since then. Portland St. posted a 17-15 record last year, including a 10-6 Big Sky Campaign, which did double their conference win total from the previous year, good for 3rd place.
Things haven't gone as well this year for Portland St., though, with their only victory a narrow, 3 point win over Concordia, in an exhbition, and a 77-58 win over Pacific (the Division III Boxers from Forest Grove, not the Big West Tigers from Stockton). The loss of a pair of all-Conference players like guard Charles Odum and forward Chehales Tapscott, who had a game high 18 points in last year's contest at Gill, can have that affect.
All of their games against Division I opponents have resulted in double digit losses, starting with an 11 point 80-69 loss at Oregon in mid-November, and including a 21 point loss to cross-town rival Portland.
A trip to Stillwater resulted in an 81-58 loss to Oklahoma St., and their best outing was their 66-56 loss at Loyola Marymount back on December 1, before taking a break for finals, similar to what Oregon St. did before their 85-54 win over Grambling last Saturday.
The Vikings have 3 players averaging in double figures, lead by 6'1" guard Dre Winston, who averages 11.6 points per game. Winston is one of two transfers from Washington St., along with Michael Harthun,
Portland St. scores 64 points per game, while allowing 73.3. Their leading rebounder is 6'8" junior Aaron Moore, a JC transfer from San Bernadino Valley JC, who averages 5 per game.
Former Beaver Andy McClousky is an assistant on head Viking coach Tyler Geving's staff.
When contrasting Portland St.'s averages with Oregon St.'s 77.4 points per game, and 67.3 allowed, its apparent that the Beavers should post a double digit win over the Vikings, though with Robinson continuing to use especially the second half of the games against over-matched opponents, a repeat of last year's 33 point win might be unlikely.
Connor will be at the game, and have his astute observations afterward, but here's the place to assess the game if your listening to Mike Parker's call, or are in a Comcast community.