SIU Edwardsville (1-3) at Portland State (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 23, 8:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stott Center (1,500) -- Portland, Oregon. Television: None. Home Record: SIUE 1-1, PSU 2-0. Away Record: SIUE 0-1, PSU 0-1. Neutral Record: SIUE 0-1, PSU 0-0. Conference Record: SIUE 0-0, PSU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Portland State Tournament continues on Saturday night, as the host Portland State Vikings take on the Cougars of SIU Edwardsville.
SIUE's season has not gotten off on the right foot, as it sits with just a 1-3 record while having yet to register a win outside of Edwardsville. The Cougars appeared in great shape to win their opening-round bout with UC Davis on Friday night, as they held a 13-point midway through the first half, but that advantage dwindled to just two at halftime and they lost control of the contest in the second stanza on their way to an 80-75 setback. SIUE shot greater than 49 percent from the field in the loss, which included a 9-of-25 showing from 3-point territory, but it was ultimately done in by losing the turnover battle, 16-9. Rozell Nunn had an efficient game with 17 points on 7- of-11 from the field (3-of-4 from beyond the arc) to go with eight rebounds and two steals, while Kris Davis and Michael Messer both tallied 11 points.
Portland State's schedule has been rather quiet thus far, as it has played just three games beginning with a 67-48 loss at UNLV on Nov. 8. Since that setback, however, the Vikings have won two straight on their home floor, most recently pulling off an improbable comeback to top Loyola-Chicago in Friday's opening round, 67-63. Down by 17 early in the second half, the Vikings gradually chipped away at the lead down the stretch and finally took an advantage they would never surrender on an Andre Winston layup with 1:43 left in the game. Although PSU was outshot from the field by Loyola, 51.1 percent to 40.7 percent, it was able to earn extra possessions by winning both the rebounding (33-26) and turnover (16-9) battles. Aaron Moore tallied a double- double with 20 points and 11 rebounds, Tim Douglas logged 11 points and seven assists, while Winston and Marcus Hall scored 16 and 10 points, respectively.
The Cougars and Vikings are meeting for the first time tonight.
While SIUE has been strong enough at the offensive end in netting 74.5 points per game, it is ultimately plagued by one of the worst defenses in the nation, as it yields 88.5 points per game to its opponents on greater than 52 percent field goal shooting. Tim Johnson (12.0 ppg) has been on point with his attempts from the floor this season at 20-of-36 (.625), while Donivine Stewart (11.8 ppg) gets his teammates involved with 3.8 assists per contest.
Scoring points has not been Portland State's strong suit through three games, as it nets a modest 64.7 points per game, but its bread is buttered at the defensive end of the court, where it allows opponents to net just 57.7 points per outing. Douglas has been the team's most consistent scoring source in the early going with 15.0 points per game, while Winston is right on his heels with 12.7 points per tilt. Although the Vikings have taken advantage of their trips to the foul line (52-of-75), they would benefit greatly from an improvement from beyond the arc (10-of-36).
Even though Portland State hasn't exactly lit up the scoreboard so far this season, it will find plenty of opportunities against SIUE's porous defense. Expect the Vikings to stifle the Cougars as they move to 3-0 on their home floor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Portland State 75, SIU Edwardsville 62
11/23 10:35:44 ET