Portland State (5-8) at Northern Colorado (3-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 17, 9:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Butler-Hancock Pavilion (2,992) -- Greeley, Colorado. Television: None. Home Record: Portland State 5-2. Northern Colorado 2-3. Away Record: Portland State 0-6, Northern Colorado 1-8. Neutral Record: Portland State 0-0, Northern Colorado 0-0. Conference Record: Portland State 3-3, Northern Colorado 1-5. Series Record: Portland State leads, 13-3.
GAMES NOTES: Looking to build on a back-to-back wins, the Portland State Vikings will travel to Butler-Hancock Pavilion for a Big Sky Conference conflict on Thursday night against Northern Colorado.
The Vikings are beginning to round themselves back into contention after dropping Sacramento State and Northern Arizona in consecutive games last week. Portland State is now 5-8 overall, while fighting to a 3-3 split of its conference tilts. The Vikings are winless in six trips on the road. Improvement will be needed from Portland State as its next three contests will also be on the road.
After an 85-77 loss to Montana last weekend, the Bears have lost five straight games. The skid is the second losing streak of at least five games for the Bears, who are just 3-11 overall. Northern Colorado is just 2-3 at home and has earned only one win in six tries against league foes. Northern Colorado hosts Eastern Washington in the final tilt of a three-game homestand on Saturday.
This series has been dominated by Portland State historically with the Vikings winning 13-of-16 total meetings, including a series sweep last season.
Portland State led for the entire second half in its most recent win, a 79-74 triumph over Northern Arizona. The Vikings hit an even 50 percent of their field goal attempts in the game including 8-of-13 from beyond the arc, while five players scored in double figures.
Having a number of scorers in double figures has been a common occurrence for Portland State which has four players averaging double figures. Renado Parker (12.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg) is the top option and is coming off a monster effort against Northern Arizona as he scored 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. Michael Harthun (11.1 ppg) and Aaron Moore (11.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg) have been other consistent scorers, while Lateef McMullan (10.5 ppg, 4.0 apg) has had equal success in setting up others, while finding his own opportunities. In all Portland State is scoring 68.5 points per game and shooting the second best percentage from the field (.463) among Big Sky squads.
Despite shooting an even 50 percent from the floor on Saturday against Montana, the Bears were unable to pull off the upset. Northern Colorado wasn't very effective defensively as it allowed the Grizzlies to hit 55.6 percent of their shots, including 12-of-25 from 3-point range.
There are three players scoring in double figures for Northern Colorado led by the duo of Tate Unruh (11.9 ppg) and Derrick Barden (11.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg). Barden has been a real force on the interior, ranking third in the conference in rebounds. The 6-foot-5 forward is coming off a massive 21-point, 15-rebound double-double against Montana which was his second straight. Tevin Svihovec (11.1 ppg) is the third member of the squad scoring in double figures. Northern Colorado compares favorably to Portland State on the offensive end where it scores 68.6 points per game on 45.1 percent shooting.
Although Northern Colorado has the homecourt advantage in this contest the scoring balance for the Vikings will prove to be too much for the Bears.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Portland State 72, Northern Colorado 67
01/17 10:38:34 ET