College basketball drama and late game heroics are usually reserved until the month of March, but after just three games the Vikings have already had their share of excitement and big victories. Portland State continued its superb second half play and picked up their third victory in their young season as they defeated Cal State Fullerton 76-75 in a thrilling victory Sunday at the Stott Center.
College basketball drama and late game heroics are usually reserved until the month of March, but after just three games the Vikings have already had their share of excitement and big victories.
Portland State continued its superb second half play and picked up their third victory in their young season as they defeated Cal State Fullerton 76-75 in a thrilling victory Sunday at the Stott Center.
The Titans, an NCAA Tournament team that was the Big West Conference Champion last season, gave the Vikings all they could handle, but in the end Portland State was able to improve their record to 3-0. Each of the victories have gone down to the wire, as the Vikings have won the three games by a combined margin of just 10 points.
“All of our victories are showing signs of maturity for our team,” said head coach Ken Bone.
The Vikings overcame two large deficits in Sunday’s game, rallying from eight points down in the first half to tie the game at 38 at the break.
But the second half saw Portland State fall behind again, this time by 11, before some late game heroics evened the score with less than five minutes to play. Junior forward Tyrell Mara hit a clutch three pointer, his first of the season, to get Portland State in a familiar position going down the stretch run of the game.
Despite the team’s struggles from beyond the arc during the game, shooting just seven for 25, Mara’s shot coupled with two three pointers from junior forward Kyle Coston gave Portland State the edge they needed.
Coston also found sophomore post Jamie Jones for the go-ahead bucket with just 10 seconds remaining.
“It was a set play for Jamie. Once he gets it inside he’s money,” Bone said.
Jones finished with a game-high 21 points.
The victory came for the Vikings despite an unusually inconsistent performance from senior point guard Jeremiah Dominguez, who had averaged better than 20 points coming in, but finished with just seven points.
However, the team got steady play from both junior guard Dominic Waters and senior Andre Murray. Murray was perhaps the Vikings most effective player at both ends of the floor, and finished with 16 points and six rebounds. “Coach told Dominic and I that we need to be the vocal leaders. We basically got out there and brought a ton of energy,” Murray said.
The win continued the squad’s impressive play going back to last season when the Vikings closed the year by winning 14 of 16. One of those losses came at Cal State Fullerton last season.
“When we’re down, we don’t do what a lot of teams do and start pointing at one another. We are showing some good team chemistry,” Bone said.
The Vikings head now to Anchorage, Alaska, for the Great Alaska Shootout, where they will face Northern Illinois tomorrow night. Other teams in the tournament include Hampton, San Diego State and Louisiana Tech.
Bone was satisfied with the team’s comeback victory and said he looked forward to spending the week with his squad in Alaska. “It’s a good way to head up north,” Bone said.