GAME NOTES: The Portland State Vikings try once more to register their first road win of the season, as they challenge the Montana State Bobcats in Big Sky Conference play at Worthington Arena on Thursday night.
The Vikings have come up empty in four true road games so far this season, but the most recent of those was now more than a month ago on Dec. 1 versus Loyola Marymount (66-56). More recently, the team was pitted against Weber State in conference play on Dec. 22, a meeting that resulted in a 73-69 overtime loss at home.
After playing on the road just once all of last month, the Vikings are now set to play a total of six such outings in January.
As for the Bobcats, like PSU they have a grand total of only three victories at this juncture and only one of those has come against another school from the Division I ranks (Portland, 83-64). Last Saturday, the team was back in action against Northwest Indian and cranked out a 101-70 win at home in order to snap a two-game slide.
Montana State won both meetings last season against the Vikings and now owns a 26-20 advantage in the all-time series. The Bobcats have won all but four of the 23 contests played in Bozeman.
Portland State turned the ball over a mere six times and forced 15 miscues by the Wildcats in the latest outing, yet the Vikings still found themselves coming out on the short end of a four-point overtime affair at home. Aaron Moore tried to keep hope alive with a double-double consisting of 19 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, followed by Renado Parker with 18 points and Lateef McMullan 10 and seven assists in the setback. The rebounding effort by Moore represented the first double-digit rebounding game of the season for a player on PSU, which explains why the team is clearing only 28.3 rpg over nine contests. Parker (12.3 ppg), Michael Harthun (10.9 ppg) and McMullan (10.0 ppg) continue to be the top performers on offense, but the results have still not been favorable.
While the outcome was never really in doubt, the meeting with Northwest Indian did get a bit messy as both teams combined for 41 turnovers. Guilty of 18 of those miscues, MSU balanced the mistakes with 10-of-21 shooting behind the 3- point line and 54.2 percent accuracy from the floor overall. Christian Moon led the way with 21 points and seven boards, followed by Marcus Colbert with 17 points and seven assists. Michael Dison and Calen Coleman recorded 14 points apiece, the latter clearing 10 rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench, while Jeff Budinich chipped in 11 points in 12 minutes of action. To say that the Bobcats have been inconsistent of late would be rather accurate, given that four different players have led them in scoring in as many games leading up to this one. The squad has been especially poor in the first two conference games, shooting just 38.5 percent from the field and 29.4 percent beyond the arc.
Having that big game against Northwest Indian did little more than boost some stats for the Bobcats because, as long as Parker and McMullan play well in this contest Portland State should be the one coming out on top.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Portland State 66, Montana State 61
01/03 10:41:13 ET
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