For the Vikings it was perhaps the most fantastic finish in a season that has already had plenty of memorable moments. Team captain Jeremiah Dominguez hit a floating three at the buzzer to propel the Vikings over Northern Colorado.
For the Vikings it was perhaps the most fantastic finish in a season that has already had plenty of memorable moments.
Team captain Jeremiah Dominguez hit a floating three at the buzzer to propel the Vikings over Northern Colorado, 77-74 in front of 966 at the Stott Center last night.
“Yeah, it felt good when it left my hands,” said Dominguez who finished with just eight points and struggled to a two of nine shooting performance from beyond the arc. “It was the only one that I felt was going in.”
The victory over the Bears keeps Portland State in third place and the Vikings gained a game on Montana, the second place team in the conference, after the Grizzlies lost to Weber State. That Wildcat victory clinched the regular season conference championship and gave Weber State the right to host the Big Sky Tournament in early March.
In a familiar theme for Portland State, and particularly when playing at the Stott Center, it was a tale of two halves.
The fans in attendance were treated to a flat and lackluster performance in the first stanza, an illness that plagued the team during their two losses last weekend.
Northern Colorado, behind seven first half three-pointers, took a 39-28 lead into the break. Portland State hit just two of their 12 attempts from the three-point line over the first 20 minutes.
“We were flat in the first half and in the second half we played with more energy,” Dominguez said.
If the first half looked like a repeat of last week’s struggles, the second half was a reminder of how talented head coach Ken Bone’s squad can be when they put their minds to it.
The Vikings opened the second half on a scoring spurt, managing baskets on 16 of their first 20 possessions. With Dominguez, junior guard Dominic Waters and senior Andre Murray all struggling the Vikings got strong play from junior forwards Tyrell Mara and Kyle Coston.
Mara finished with 12 points while shooting a perfect 4-4 from the field and Coston added much needed energy while scoring 10 points. Junior forward Jamie Jones was dominant in the low post for the Vikings, scoring a team high 19 points. Jones’ presence was crucial for the Vikings, as their only interior scorer who had missed time recently with an ankle injury.
“My teammates trust me, in knowing that I can score when I get the ball down low,” Jones said, who also had three blocks on the night. “We got to take this win and build on it.”
Will Figures scored 24 for the Bears and recorded his fifth consecutive game of scoring over 20 points, but had a shot at the rim blocked by Jones, which gave possession back to the Vikings for the final and dramatic shot by Dominguez.
After dribbling out much of the time remaining, Waters and junior forward Julius Thomas both had cleaner looks at the basket but the ball ended up in the hands of reigning conference Player of the Year, and despite some traffic around him and a one of eight shooting night headed into the possession, he knocked down the shot.
While the victory was less than satisfying for Bone’s squad, the coach said that the temporary relief could be just what the team needed heading into a big game against Boise State on Saturday.
“Right now it’s about us getting better,” Bone said. “But an emotional win like this can definitely spur this team.”