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Road difficulties continue for Vikings

On Thursday, the Portland State men’s basketball team embarked on a challenging road trip to Montana. Despite a halftime Viking lead on Friday, Montana proved to be too much as Portland State went down, 80-66. The following evening, Portland State fell to Big Sky Conference leader Montana State, 92-84.

Both teams came out shooting well (over 45 percent) in the first half Friday night. The Vikings were hot from beyond the arc, as they hit on eight of 12 (66.7 percent) attempted three-pointers. The Grizzlies were only able to hit three of 10 (30 percent) attempts in the first half from three-point territory. However, the Grizzlies were able to make up for their poor three-point shooting by hitting 10-18 from inside the line and getting to the free-throw line 10 times, as opposed to only three attempts by the Vikings.

The second half was a different game for both teams. Montana turned up its pressure on the defensive end, forcing Portland State to shoot only 25.8 percent from the field. The three-point shooting went cold for the Vikings as they only hit three of 11 (27.3 percent). The Grizzlies hit an even 50 percent from the field in the second half and were led by the 23 points of Travis Greenwalt. Greenwalt went 8-13 from the field and grabbed eight boards, to help outrebound the Vikings 42-32 as a team. Montana outscored Portland State 42-26 in the second half alone. The Grizzlies also totaled 23 assists to only 13 by the Vikings, and shot 12 more free throws for the game. The Vikings were led by Kevin Briggs, who had 20 points, while Anthony Lackey pitched in 14.

“Kevin (Briggs) played really well on offense, and defense guarding Montana’s best shooter for us,” head coach Joel Sobotka said.

“John Glasier stepped up and played well this weekend.”

On Saturday, the Montana State Bobcats showcased five players in double figures to balance its offense. Leading by nine at half time, the Bobcats controlled the tempo throughout the game. The Vikings were able to put four players in double figures. Lackey led with 19 points on 7-15 shooting, freshmen Billy Feeney and Aaron Fitzgerald had 14 points and Briggs added 12. Despite the loss, Portland State was able to win the rebounding battle, 32-31.

“We played two pretty good first halves, but didn’t shoot well in either second half and we had some costly turnovers. We just got into a hole and couldn’t get out,” Sobotka said.

This weekend the Vikings are back home hosting Eastern Washington in the Stott Center Saturday. Tip off is set for 7:05 p.m., and the game can be seen on ASCN.