After two losses at home, the Vikings had a mission to accomplish on the road. They played well enough to bring home a win…and a loss. The team goes up against the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks, this week in the Stott Center at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 12.
Northern Arizona is 5-3 in the Big Sky Conference, and Portland State is 3-6. Interestingly, NAU and PSU balance each other out in offensive and defensive rebounding. The Lumberjacks lead the Big Sky in scoring offense, and the Vikings are ranked eighth. On the flip side, PSU leads the conference in scoring defense, and NAU is ranked seventh. This could make Thursday’s game interesting.
In other statistical areas, Northern Arizona and Portland State are neck-and-neck. In field goal percentage PSU is third and NAU is fourth, both at 45 percent. In field goal defense NAU is first and PSU is second, both at 42 percent. Northern Arizona leads the conference in assists with 17 per game. The Lumberjacks also rank second in the Big Sky for free throws at 70 percent.
As for rebounding, the Lumberjacks lead the Big Sky in offensive rebounds at 37 per game, and the Vikings are ranked second with 36.4 per game. While Portland State is ranked second in defensive rebounding at 31.4 per game and Northern Arizona is sixth with 37.5 per game.
The Lumberjacks have five Big Sky statistical leaders on their team. Aaron Bond ranks second (17.6) in scoring, fifth in rebounding (5.7), and sixth in free throw percent (78). Kelly Golob ranks ninth in scoring (13.4), and Kyle Feuerbach ranks third for assists (4.24 per game). Adrian Hayes (1.60) and Joakim Kjellbom (1.33) holds the top two spots in blocked shots for the Big Sky.
The Vikings beat NAU 71-65 on January 17 in Flagstaff, Arizona. You can bet the Lumberjacks will be looking to take advantage of the fact that the Vikings have trouble winning on their home court. With this in mind, the Vikings will need to continue to play well in both halves of the game.
Taking a look at last week’s games, the Vikings showed improvement on their second half slump. Junior Seamus Boxley lead the Vikings to their win over Montana (59-57) last Thursday, February 5. Boxley totaled 22 points, six rebounds and two steals. Twelve of Boxley’s points were made in the last four-and-a-half-minutes of the game and brought the Vikings up from behind to the win.
Freshman Marshall Hartman brought in 13 points and six rebounds. Junior Blake Walker contributed eight points and five rebounds, and senior Seth Scott had seven points and seven rebounds.
This was the first-ever Big Sky Conference road win at Montana for PSU, and the third time this season that the Vikings have stopped their road-game losing streak. In pre-season, PSU stopped a 21-game road-losing streak with a win at Maryland-Eastern Shore. Then on January 17, the Vikings ended a nine-game Big Sky road-losing streak with a win at Northern Arizona. Last week’s win ended a seven-game losing streak to the Grizzlies in Montana.
For the Grizzlies, Derrick Mansell lead his team with 14 points and five assists. Kevin Criswell gave Montana ten points and four rebounds. Kamarr Davis and Victor Verters both had eight points. Davis also had six rebounds.
On Saturday, the Vikings took on the Bobcats in Bozeman, Montana. MSU beat the Vikings for the second time this season (64-56). Junior Seamus Boxley lead the Vikings with 22 points, nine rebounds, and two blocked shots. Boxley tied a PSU record with 19 free throw attempts in the game, hitting 14.
Junior Blake Walker had 13 points and eight rebounds. Juniors Antone Jarrell and Will Funn both gave PSU eight points. Jarrell also had two blocked shots and two steals.
The Vikings played a strong first half, as usual, leading at the half 29-22. Bobcat Jason Erickson quickly took the lead from the Vikings with a 14-4 run scoring 12 straight points, and putting MSU in the lead 36-33. But the Vikings answered back with their own 11-0 run to take the lead again 49-39. MSU went on a 17-2 run with 4:10 remaining in the game. Portland State couldn’t get back the lead after that and MSU took the win after hitting six of eight free throws in the final minute of the game.
Erickson led the Bobcats with 21 points and four assists. Frank Brown added 14 points to the win and brought in six rebounds. Calvin Ento had only five points and nine rebounds and Nick Dissly had seven points.
Come out to this Thursday’s game at the Stott Center at 7:05 p.m.