San Diego (13-14) at Portland (10-18)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 21, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Chiles Center (4,852) -- Portland, Oregon. Television: ROOT-NW. Home Record: San Diego 9-5, Portland 7-7. Away Record: San Diego 4-7, Portland 2-10. Neutral Record: San Diego 0-2, Portland 1-1. Conference Record: San Diego 6-6, Portland 3-10. Series Record: San Diego leads, 44-27.
GAMES NOTES: In the second contest of a three-game road trip, the San Diego Toreros will visit the Portland Pilots at the Chiles Center for a West Coast Conference scuffle on Thursday night.
In the first leg of the trip San Diego was taken down by Santa Clara, 61-52, for its second straight loss. The Toreros' slide has dropped them to 13-14 overall, while evening their record in WCC play at 6-6. San Diego hasn't had a ton of success on the road this season (4-7) and will have a big challenge in its final away game of the regular season on Saturday against No. 3 Gonzaga.
Portland has been trading wins and losses over its last four games as it prepares for its final homestand of the season. The Pilots have a markedly worse record both overall (10-18) and in league play (3-10) as compared to the Toreros. The Pilots have been as average as can be at home with seven wins and seven losses at the Chiles Center where they will be for the last time on Saturday against Santa Clara.
With a 61-50 win earlier this season San Diego has now won three straight games against Portland to increase its all-time series lead to 44-27.
Though they held Santa Clara to just 35.1 percent shooting the Toreros managed to hit just 33.3 percent of their own shots from the floor. San Diego also turned the ball over 16 times, while being outscored 17-12 from the free-throw line. Ken Rancifer had 17 points in the tilt, while Johnny Dee managed 15 points but needed 17 shots to do so.
Though the shooting performance San Diego had against Santa Clara was below its yearly average it's not as if the Toreros have been lighting up the scoreboard. San Diego is among the bottom three teams in the WCC in both points (64.9 pg) and field-goal percentage (.433). Dee (15.0 ppg) normally has a solid shooting touch, especially from beyond the arc where he has hit a decent 38.4 percent of his attempts. Rancifer (10.0 ppg) is the only other player averaging in double figures, while Christopher Anderson (9.2 ppg, 5.5 apg, 2.2 spg) has been solid in collecting assists and steals in the backcourt.
Portland was dominated in the first half by BYU and never managed to get much closer in the second half in an 86-72 loss last time out. The Pilots trailed by 21 points at the break and shot just 33.3 percent in the first 20 minutes. The Pilots did assist on 22 of their 28 field goals and managed to hit 60 percent from the field after halftime but it wasn't enough.
The offensive deficiencies of San Diego have not been as severe as those for Portland. The Pilots are dead last in the conference in points scored (61.1 ppg), ranking second to last in field-goal percentage (.414). Part of the low scoring is how ineffective the Pilots are from beyond the arc as they rank at the bottom of the WCC in 3-point field goal percentage (.315). The Pilots also waste many possessions by committing the most turnovers (15.2 pg) in the league. Ryan Nicholas (13.0 ppg, 8.9 rpg) is one of three players in the WCC averaging at least 13 points and eight rebounds per game, while Kevin Bailey (11.1 ppg) is another double-figure scoring threat. However, only one other player on the team (Thomas van der Mars (7.8 ppg)) is putting in more than six points a contest.
San Diego has managed slightly more success on the offensive end and in the win column in relation to Portland. Expect this be a tight duel that could be influenced by whether or not Dee finds his touch from the outside.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Portland 64, San Diego 61
02/21 10:32:40 ET