On Thanksgiving Day, basketball fans from around the country were thankful for the PK80-Phil Knight Invitational basketball tournament, where the Portland State Vikings earned their first loss of the season, 81-99, against Duke University at the Moda Center on Thursday, Nov. 23.
The tournament tipoff took place on Nike founder Phil Knight’s 80th birthday, which he took as an opportunity to organize a tournament in Oregon, Knight’s home state, hosting some of the best college basketball teams and sportscasters in the nation.
Two-time NBA champion and ESPN sportscaster Bill Walton was among those in attendance to enjoy watching college basketball teams compete over the weekend. “The only thing I hope for is passionate, committed, enthusiastic team play,” Walton said.
Session two of the tournament consisted of the PSU Vikings taking on the number one ranked Duke Blue Devils. Although PSU was a definite underdog entering the matchup, the odds didn’t seem to faze the Viks.
“I thought our guys reacted well to the setting,” said Vikings Head Coach Brad Peery. “I believe we have a very good team. I wasn’t shocked that we were ready.”
The first half of the game between PSU and Duke was back and forth. Both teams came out of the gate with high intensity and physicality. The game became more gritty and suspenseful as fans got involved.
Viks guard Deontae North couldn’t miss from the field when he was on fire, scoring 20 of 24 points, leading all other scorers in the first half (6-9 FG, 4-5 3-point FG).
With the Blue Devils as the heavy favorites, the Viks kept a close game, getting the better of Duke in the first half as the Viks led the Blue Devils 49-45 to the end of the period. “I thought our guys played fearless,” Peery said. “I was never worried about them getting scared.”
However, the second half of the game was a different story for PSU as Duke found its momentum. The size of Duke freshman forward Marvin Bagley III became a problem for the Viks as he was able to crash offensive boards and provide the Blue Devils with second-chance points. Bagley also contested field goals on the defensive side of the ball, getting things done on both ends of the floor.
“I’m working on everything,” Bagley said. “I want to be an all-around player.”
The game went downhill for PSU as the Viks found themselves in foul trouble. Duke had 26 free throw attempts in the second half, and five players fouled out for the Viks.
Not only did foul trouble hurt PSU, but Duke’s overall size advantage allowed the Blue Devils to out-rebound PSU 37-49 points and outscore the Viks in the paint 26-56. Duke heavily dominated the second half and pulled away from PSU. The final score of the game was 81-99.
“I think we got to stick together and bounce back,” said Viking guard Bryce Canda in regard to Duke giving the Viks their first loss of the season.
“We beat a very good team today,” said Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski. “I like their team. They played hard, with a verb, and they played together. They’re not afraid.”
PSU’s Bryce Canda finished the game with a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds).
Duke’s Marvin Bagley III also finished with a double-double (18 points, 15 rebounds, 2 blocked shots) while senior guard Grayson Allen finished the day with 14 points and 9 assists.