Men host Bobcats in final home game

In the last home game of the season, the Portland State men’s basketball team will host the Montana State Bobcats on Saturday night.

In the last home game of the season, the Portland State men’s basketball team will host the Montana State Bobcats on Saturday night.

With three games left in the season, the Vikings sit in seventh place in the Big Sky with a 4-9 record in conference and 12-14 overall. Although this season has been a struggle at times, especially with all the injury challenges, the team remains resilient and hopes to close out the year on a positive note.

“Our ultimate goal is to win the rest of the games this season,” senior guard Melvin Jones said. “We only have three games left, but coach tells us all the time that we still have a lot to play for. We want to finish out the season strong, play hard, don’t quit and try to get those wins.”

The Vikings played first-place Montana on Thursday night, the results of which were not available at press time. Still, in head coach Tyler Geving’s second year at the helm, the Vikings are two games ahead of last year’s pace of 10-16 through 26 games.Last season, the Vikings finished with a 13-19 overall record.

“It’s definitely important to [finish better than last year], especially being my senior season,” Jones said. “It’s always good to know that the following season you have a better year. And this year, we want to finish with wins; we want to finish 16-14. I don’t want to go out my senior season with a losing record.” 

“Our only goal is to play with pride, to play hard, compete and play with energy,” added junior guard Charles Odum, the Vikings’ leading scorer with an average of 14.4 points per game.

Coming off an 84-75 winat home against Loyola Marymount in a non-conference ESPN BracketBuster game, the Vikings seem to be building confidence down the final stretch. Despite losing eight of their last 11 games, the players are focused on finishing this season to the best of their abilities, especially now that they’re finally healthy.

“With everybody healthy and our whole team back, we definitely want to show that we can play with [anybody],” Jones remarked. “And with everybody back we’re a much better rebounding team, and that helps out a lot.”

Junior Chehales Tapscott returned to the lineup after missing six games with a knee injury. The energetic power-forward had 13 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in his return to the starting lineup against Loyola Marymount. The Vikings are 11-8 when Tapscott starts and 1-6 when he doesn’t start.

“Let’s see if we can’t get two more wins at home and get back to .500,” Geving said. “There’s still stuff to play for. The underclassmen still have stuff they can learn, so we don’t go through the [growing pains] we did this year.”

Portland State will finish the season on the road, as the team faces Northern Arizona and Seattle University in the following weeks. Although the 2010–11 season has been a long journey in many ways, for Jones, it feels like all four years of his college career have flown by.

“It’s hard to believe it’s over,” Jones said. “During my first couple years of college, coaches and other people told me it was going to go by fast, but I didn’t think much [about it] and now it’s already hitting me. It’s almost over, but there’s not much I can do.” 

Jones wants his last game at the Stott Center to be an enjoyable one, but most of all, the senior guard hopes his teammates can leave a winning last-impression with the Portland State fans this season.

“I’m feeling kinda sad. This is it for me. College basketball, for me, is coming to an end,” Jones said. “But I just want to go out there and lay it all out on the floor and have fun, to try to go out with a bang and hopefully we play well and the team can win these last two home games.”

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at the Stott Center. ?