Montana State (7-6) at Portland State (5-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 9, 10:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Peter W. Stott Center (1,500) -- Portland, Oregon. Television: None. Home Record: MSU 5-1, PSU 5-2. Away Record: MSU 2-3, PSU 0-4. Neutral Record: MSU 0-2, PSU 0-0. Conference Record: MSU 2-0, PSU 0-2. Series Record: Montana State leads, 29-19.
GAME NOTES: The Montana State Bobcats try to keep their unblemished Big Sky record intact as they tangle with the Portland State Vikings at the Stott Center on Thursday night.
Montana State started out the 2013-14 campaign rather shaky, losing three straight and four of the first five outings, but the Bobcats have managed to level off with two consecutive victories and wins in six of their last seven. The latest win, a narrow 68-66 triumph over Northern Arizona on Saturday, was also the 100th win at the school for head coach Brad Huse.
While the Bobcats appear to be heading in the right direction, the same cannot be said for a PSU squad that has bowed in five of the last six outings after putting together a four-game win streak in November. The team has come up short in both Big Sky tests thus far, losing to Idaho State on the road in the opener, 87-76, and then suffering a more lopsided 79-62 defeat at the hands of Weber State on Saturday. The loss versus the Wildcats was the 20th straight on the road for PSU and the team's 14th consecutive road conference loss as well, setting a school mark.
Montana State leads the all-time series with the Vikings by a count of 29-19.
The Bobcats led by as many as 10 points against Northern Arizona in the first half of their meeting over the weekend, but the team needed a field goal by Michael Dison at the buzzer in order to come away with the narrow win in Bozeman Saturday. Dison finished with a career-high 18 points, one behind leading scorer Flavien Davis. Paul Egwuonwu produced a double-double for the hosts with 10 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Davis, who has scored 22 and 16 points in his two previous encounters with Portland State in his career, is currently the only double-digit scorer on the roster with his 10.8 ppg.
Portland State had the same number of made field goals in the first half versus Weber State as the Wildcats (12), but the squad came up short at the free-throw line (0-of-2) and eventually were outscored at the stripe by a 22-10 margin during the loss in Ogden. DaShaun Wiggins was the lone starter in double figures for the visitors with 16 points, followed by Gary Winston who tallied 13 off the bench as he made 3-of-5 shots behind the 3-point line. However, the rest of the unit combined to make only 3-of-12 on the perimeter.
Tim Douglas, who shot just 3-of-14 from the field and finished with nine points in the last outing, remains the overall leading scorer for Portland State with his 15.1 ppg. Douglas has made more 3-pointers (19-of-51) than anyone else on the unit, but with an average of only six made triples per contest it is clear that perimeter shooting is not a strength of the Vikings this season. Wiggins (13.3 ppg) is second on the outside with his 15 conversions, which means the rest of the team accounts for a combined 32 3- pointers through 11 contests.
Without much of a perimeter presence on offense, should the Vikings fall behind in this meeting the chances of them coming back are somewhat slim, leading towards a Montana State victory in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Montana State 74, Portland State 68
01/09 10:34:17 ET