Vikings look forward to new season
Men’s basketball got out on the court for an exhibition game against Evergreen State on Oct. 30. If this exhibition matchup gives any indication of how the season will go, the Vikings appear ready to roll for the 2019-20 season.
Graduate transfer Matt Hauser compiled 23 points, 9 assists and sank five 3-pointers in 22 minutes of action in a 103-46 thumping of the ESU Geoducks. Fellow graduate transfer Alonzo Walker corralled 13 rebounds to compliment his 8 points in 21 minutes of play.
Heading into the 2019-20 season, the Vikings look to build upon the late-season momentum garnered last year. After three consecutive losses last season buried Portland State in a 4-7 conference hole, the Vikings rallied to win seven of their final eight regular-season games before bowing out to Weber State in the Big Sky Tournament. That kind of turnaround provided fuel heading into this season, and some talented new names on the roster only stoked the fire.
To become a consistent winner, impact players must be at a premium. In the exhibition opener, it looked as though there may be several impact players who are wearing the PSU jersey for the first time.
Matt Hauser, a senior guard, displayed the kind of outside presence the Vikings will need to effectively spread the floor. Grad transfer forward Alonzo Walker made a big impact in the paint and appears to be the kind of scrapper PSU will need to keep other teams off the offensive boards while ensnaring a few for the Vikings on the other end. Redshirt freshman Trey Wood displayed a great shooting touch while lending his 6’9 frame to inside scoring and rim-protecting. Lamar Hamrick, a senior guard transfer from Detroit Mercy, notched 13 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.
Add these assets to the play of All-Conference junior guard Holland Woods, who notched 15 points and 6 assists in the exhibition, and the Vikings appear to have compiled another deep and talented group following the departure of five seniors from last year’s squad.
PSU will open the season with a significant deal of traveling, with games in Hawaii, Indiana, San Jose, Santa Barbra and Corvallis. This will provide an early test for a team that struggled outside of their home court last year. While posting an impressive 12-4 record at home, the Vikings were 3-10 in road games and 1-3 in neutral site games in 2018-19.
This time on the road should allow for the new pieces of PSU’s team to develop personal bonds that, if meshed with on-court ability, could make for an exciting season.
The road tests early (PSU also plays four of their first six conference games away from home) will be rewarded with five of the final seven regular-season games at Viking Pavilion, which could come into play if the Vikings make another late-season run.
Hopefully, though, a late-season run won’t be necessary like it was last year. Developing good chemistry amongst the bevy of new faces and overcoming past road woes is the key to a successful season for PSU. Talent-wise, the Vikings look like a team to be reckoned with.