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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 9, 9:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reed Gym (2,666) -- Pocatello, Idaho. Television: None. Home Record: Portland State 8-6, Idaho State 4-7. Away Record: Portland State 0-13, Idaho State 1-14. Neutral Record: Portland State 0-0, Idaho State 0-3. Conference Record: Portland State 5-14, Idaho State 4-15. Series Record: Portland State leads, 28-15.
GAMES NOTES: With postseason hopes already dashed for both teams, the Portland State Vikings and Idaho State Bengals will each try to end the season on a high note when they meet in Big Sky Conference action at Reed Gym.
With a record of just 5-13 in league play after three straight losses, Portland State has not been in the hunt for a spot in the seven-team field of the Big Sky Tournament for some time. The Vikings are also a paltry 8-19 overall as they look to claim their first conference win since Feb. 18 and the first win on the road this season.
Idaho State also had its fate sealed much earlier. The Bengals are a dismal 5-23 overall, while dead last in the conference (4-14) as they go into the regular-season finale. The Bengals have just one win in their last 13 bouts with the one win an 87-51 surprise at home over Montana State.
Portland State won the first meeting between these teams this year with a 63-49 victory at the Stott Center. The Vikings have now won the last three matchups to increase their all-time series lead to 28-15.
The Vikings were frigid offensively in the first half on Thursday night against Weber State en route to an 80-52 setback. They managed just six field goals on 18.2 percent shooting in the first 20 minutes and trailed by a 41-13 margin at the break. That deficit proved far too much for them to overcome.
Defense has not been the strong suit for Portland State this season. The Vikings are allowing teams to score 72.8 points per game and shoot at a 48.5 percent rate from the field. That opponent field goal percentage is among the 10 worst in the nation. Their work on the glass hasn't helped as Portland State is one of the three worst rebounding teams in the Big Sky (31.2 pg). Aaron Moore (13.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg) finishes on a team-best 51.9 percent of his shots from the field while leading the team in points and rebounds. Renado Parker (11.5 ppg), Michael Harthun (11.3 ppg) and Lateef McMullan (10.2 ppg) provide addition scoring options for the Vikings' balanced attack.
Despite 20 points from Andre Hatchett, the Bengals were disappointed yet again on Thursday in an 87-73 setback against Eastern Washington. The Bengals were doubled up on points from 3-point range (42-21) in the loss, while allowing the Eagles to shoot at a 53.7 percent clip overall.
The offensive end of the floor is where Idaho State has had the majority of its troubles. The Bengals are putting in only 56.5 points per game, while assisting on 10 field goals a contest and shooting 40.4 percent from the field. The glass is also not an area of strength with the Bengals last in the league and among one of the worst teams nationally in rebounding (28 rpg). Melvin Morgan (12.1 ppg) and Chris Hansen (11.2 ppg) are the top scoring options for the Bengals but neither has been particularly efficient as they both shot below 40 percent from the field. Tomas Sanchez (10.4 ppg, 3.8 apg) takes a more complementary role as a scorer, while leading in assists.
Idaho State's homecourt advantage should prove to be enough to end the season with a win, considering Portland State's road woes.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Idaho State 63, Portland State 60
03/09 10:45:45 ET
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