Montana State (9-10) at Portland State (5-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 2, 10:35 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stott Center (5,300) -- Portland, Oregon. Television: None. Home Record: Montana State 8-2. Portland State 5-3. Away Record: Montana State 1-8, Portland State 0-10. Neutral Record: Montana State 0-0, Portland State 0-0. Conference Record: Montana State 6-5, Portland State 3-8. Series Record: Montana State leads, 28-19.
GAMES NOTES: The Portland State Vikings will try to put an end to a losing streak and begin a climb out of the Big Sky Conference basement when they host the Montana State Bobcats at the Stott Center.
The Bobcats had a three-game winning streak end last time out as they fell just short, 72-68, to Eastern Washington Thursday. With the loss the Bobcats fell back below .500 overall (9-10) while falling into a tie for third place in the Big Sky standings with Southern Utah at 6-5 in conference play. Another road game may not be the answer for the Bobcats who have just a single win in nine tries away from Bozeman. Montana State will be back home to host North Dakota next.
An 81-68 loss to conference leading Montana was the fourth straight loss for the Vikings and seventh in the last eight games. Portland State is now just 5-13 overall and at 3-8 in conference action, finds itself in a tie for last place in the league standings with Idaho State. Portland State does have a record above .500 at home (5-3) but up next the Vikings travel to face Northern Arizona.
Historically the Bobcats have had the advantage in this conference rivalry with Montana State owning a 28-19 edge all-time after winning three of the last four contests. That includes a 62-59 victory earlier this season.
Montana State trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half against Eastern Washington but managed to pull within a point 64-63 with 2:53 remaining. However the Bobcats then went 2-of-4 from the field with a turnover in the final minute as the rally came up short.
Putting points on the board hasn't been an issue for Montana State this season but what has been is keeping opponents from doing so. The Bobcats are letting up 72.3 points per game on 46.3 percent shooting to its foes which has negated what they have managed on the offensive end. Montana State is the second best scoring team in the Big Sky (72.5 ppg) despite connecting on just 41.8 percent of its shots. Christian Moon (14.5 ppg) missed some time but has transformed into the lead scoring option since his return. Xavier Blount (11.3 ppg) and Flavien Davis (10.3 ppg) are also double-figure scoring threats.
It was its effort on defense that let Portland State down against Montana. The Vikings allowed the Grizzlies to shoot at a 56-percent clip in the contest including a 66.7 rate in the final 20 minutes. Points off turnovers also killed the Vikings as they were outscored 17-4 in that department.
Portland State has had just as much trouble stopping teams from scoring as Montana State. The Vikings are allowing teams to shoot at a less than ideal 49.2 percent from the field, while they score 71.8 points per game. On the other end the Vikings shoot just 44.9 percent, scoring 67.4 points per game. Aaron Moore (12.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg) anchors the Vikings inside as both leading scorer and rebounder. Michael Harthun (10.7 ppg) and Renado Parker (10.5 ppg) have also shown some scoring ability although Parker has failed to score in double figures in each of the last four games.
This might be one of the best chances Portland State will have to put an end to its current losing streak as the Vikings host a Montana State squad that has struggled mightily on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Portland State 69, Montana State 67
02/02 10:46:17 ET