After starting conference play with a home win over Sacramento State, the Vikings traveled to Montana for one of the more challenging road trips of the season. First, on Thursday, they took on Montana State in Bozeman, only to come up short in the closing minute, 52-48. Then on Saturday, Montana was too strong in the end, pulling out a 61-49 victory.
The Vikings initially kept up with the league champs from one season ago, Montana State. In the first half, Portland State trailed only 19-17 with about one and a half minutes remaining in the half. Then to close the half, the Bobcats went on an eight-point run to increase their lead to 10 going into halftime.
In the second half, the Bobcats went up by 14 seven and a half minutes into the half, with a 40-26 lead. Then it was Portland State’s turn to make a run as it outscored Montana State 22-7 over the next nine minutes. The score read 50-48 with two minutes left in the game. The Vikings had one last chance to take the lead but missed on a three-point attempt by Jeb Ivey. Montana State cleared the ball and threw down court for the final points of the game, sealing the victory.
Seth Scott led all scorers with 16 points on 6-8 shooting, adding seven rebounds as well. Kevin Briggs added 11 points, and Brandon Haughton grabbed nine rebounds. The Vikings were only out-rebounded by two, 32-30.
Next, Portland State took on the Montana Grizzlies. It held Montana’s top scorer, David Bell, to only nine points on Saturday night but was unable to neutralize the other three-point threats, giving up six three’s combined from Kevin Criswell and Steve Horne.
In the second half, the Vikings pulled the score within four points, at 48-44, with nine minutes left in the game. The Grizzlies made a late 13-5 run in the last five minutes to pull away and hang on to the their lead. Portland State shot 15-52 from the field, just 29 percent for the game. On the positive side, the Vikings took care of the ball, only turning it over 10 times, a season low.
The seniors led the way, with Ivey scoring 15 points but fouling out about half way through the second half. Briggs added 14 points and five assists. Seth Scott put in an all around double-double effort, with 12 points and 14 boards.
Next up, Portland State hosts Oregon at the Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday for a non-conference contest. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. On Saturday, PSU returns to conference action with Northern Arizona at Peter Stott Center.