Montana State hands Portland State rare home loss

Portland State Men’s Basketball came into Saturday’s game confident that it could get the sweep against the state of Montana. The Bobcats had other plans as they handed the Vikings only their second loss at home, 71–65. Thursday night was supposed to be an easier game on paper, but in college sports any team can beat you.

The loss dropped the Vikings to 11–7, 4–3 Big Sky, and 7–2 at home. Montana State has struggled this season but has been playing good basketball of late—pushing its winning streak to three games. Overall, the Bobcats are 9–12, 4–4 Big Sky and currently sit in seventh in the division.

The Vikings came out flat against the Bobcats, struggling to find offense all game. Montana State took advantage of PSU’s poor offense as the Vikings failed to pull away after playing great defense against the Bobcats in the first half. PSU, after leading for most of the first half, saw the game tied in the final couple of minutes. The teams headed into halftime tied at 35 a piece.

At halftime the Vikings were 13–31, 41.9 percent, and the Bobcats were 12–33, 36.4 percent. The first half was sloppy for both teams. The second half wouldn’t get any better for PSU. As the second half opened, both teams would exchange the lead, and the game would be tied four times over the first five minutes.

Montana State started pulling away with 5:36 in the half, as the team extended its lead to six off of a Sam Neumann jumper. Nearly a minute later the Bobcats brought the lead to 11 off of a Devonte Klines three pointer.

After keeping the game close for most of the second half PSU started to see the game slip away from them. Finally, at the 4:11 remaining, the Vikings ended the Bobcats’ run with a pair of free throws from De’Sean Parsons.

Portland State’s defense held Montana State scoreless for a little more than three minutes, as the Vikings’ defense did their job and De’Sean Parsons and Deontae North took over the game. They scored the next nine points for the Vikings to pull them within two, with just seconds remaining on the clock. With 33 seconds left in the game, the Bobcats extended their lead to four. PSU failed to score and with 10 seconds left in the game had to foul.

Devonte Klines helped seal the deal as he made a couple of free throws to extend Montana’s lead to six. Calaen Robinson missed a three in the final six seconds of the game and the Vikings fell 71–65 to the Bobcats.

Tyler Hall had a monster game for the Bobcats, finishing the game with a double-double, 22 points and 10 rebounds. Deontae North lead the Vikings with 23 points. De’Sean Parsons recorded a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Second half numbers weren’t kind to PSU as they struggled finishing 9–22 shooting for 31.0 percent. For the game, the team was 22–60 for 36.7 percent. PSU’s poor shooting sunk the team, as it kept the game close and had a couple of chances to pull ahead.

The Vikings start their three game road trip at Sacramento State on Jan. 28. While PSU is great at home, they are struggling on the road with a record of 4–5. They missed a golden opportunity to improve their overall record at home, but if they win their next road game they can get it above .500. The Vikings last played Sacramento State at home and won 83–76. Tipoff is at 7:05 p.m., Viking fans can catch the game on Viking’s livestream.