The Vikings’ losing streak extended to eight games after a battle Saturday night in Peter Stott Center. Portland State’s conference record dropped to 2-10 as the Eastern Washington Eagles defeated the Vikings 72-58. The Eagles improved their record to 9-3, second in the Big Sky conference.
In the first half, the two teams went back and forth, exchanging leads numerous times. Fouls were the story throughout the ball game. In the first half alone, to gain the lead, Eastern shot 20 free throws and knocked down 19.
The Eagles shot better than the Vikings in the first half at 47.6 percent, while the Vikings were at 38.7 percent. Portland State possessed a seven-point lead in the first half. A mix of free throws and pressure defense, however, diminished the lead. After one half, the score read 40-32 in favor of the visiting Eagles.
The Eagles never let their lead slip away in the second half. Eastern’s shooting dropped off in the second half to 42.9 percent, but the points kept coming from the free-throw line. The Eagles scored 13-of-15 from the stripe in the second half, finishing the game 32-36. The Vikings’ shooting went down to 29.2 percent in the second half, however they shot 18 free throws, making only 10.
Briggs and Ivey led the scoring, with Seth Scott scoring in double figures with 10. Eastern put four players in double figures, with Brendon Merritt scoring 17 to lead all scores and Marc Axton adding 15. The Eagles were better on the glass, out-rebounding the Vikings by a margin of 37-29. Leading everyone was T.J. Williams, who grabbed 10 rebounds to go along with his 11 points.
Next week, the Vikings stay at home to finish the season. On Thursday, Portland State hosts Idaho State. Saturday, for senior night, the league-leading Weber State Wildcats end conference play. Both games are set to tip off at 7:05 p.m.