Portland State (5-4) at Idaho State (3-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 2, 9:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Holt Arena (8,000) -- Pocatello, Idaho. Television: None. Home Record: PSU 5-2, ISU 2-1. Away Record: PSU 0-2, ISU 1-4. Neutral Record: PSU 0-0, ISU 0-1. Conference Record: PSU 0-0, ISU 0-0. Series Record: Portland State leads, 28-16.
GAME NOTES: Playing just their fourth home game of the 2013-14 campaign, the Idaho State Bengals hope to get off on the right foot in their Big Sky Conference opener against Portland State at Holt Arena.
The Bengals have won a total of just three games to date and only one of those has been against another Division I foe (San Francisco in overtime). Since defeating Carroll College (77-50) in early December, the team has come up empty in four straight outings, including a 61-57 setback versus Cal State Bakersfield last Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Vikings are a team that started off the campaign with four wins in five tries, but since then has won just once in four opportunities. Portland State managed to bring an end to a three-game slide on Dec. 23 with a 98-65 thumping of Evergreen State at home.
According to PSU sources, the Vikings lead the all-time series with Idaho State by a 28-16 margin overall, and are ahead 24-12 with both teams being members of the Big Sky. However, last season they split their two regular- season meetings, with each winning on their home floor.
PSU shot only 2-of-10 from 3-point range against Evergreen State the last time out, but made up for it with 54.5 percent accuracy from the floor overall, not to mention a 35-1 scoring run in the middle of the second half to take control of the meeting. Aaron Moore scored a career-high 21 points, Tim Douglas added 16 and both Andre Winston and Marcus Hall came away with 13 points in the lopsided outing.
One of two players to have started every game for PSU this season, Douglas is responsible for a team-best 16.1 ppg and is also tops in the passing department with 37 assists. DaShaun Wiggins, a 41.9 percent shooter beyond the arc who comes off the bench almost exclusively these days, checks in with 13.0 ppg, while Moore (12.4 ppg) complements his point production with a team-high 6.1 rpg.
In a game that featured 11 ties and eight lead changes, Idaho State couldn't quite overcome a mere six field goals in the first half to take down visiting Bakersfield. The Bengals actually had a six-point lead midway through the second half, but the squad allowed the visitors to make good on 5-of-8 tries behind the 3-point line in the frame. Tomas Sanchez scored 17 points, Chris Hansen had 14, and Jeffrey Solarin tallied 12 points to go along with nine rebounds.
Playing a total of just nine players so far this season, the Bengals are leaning heavily on Sanchez and Hansen who are separated by just a single point in the scoring column, averaging 15.9 and 15.8 ppg, respectively. Sanchez is also first in the passing department with 42 dishes, accounting for a sizeable portion of the unit's 109 assists over nine games.
Neither one of these teams is setting the basketball world on fire, but in the case of the Bengals, while Sanchez and Hansen are capable of filling up the basket, without ample support it won't mean much tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Portland State 67, Idaho State 60
01/02 10:32:59 ET