Men’s basketball gets started with road trip to Denver this weekend.
Portland State men’s basketball officially starts the season this Friday with a road game against the University of Denver Pioneers. This will be the first meeting ever between these two teams.
“This is going to be a tough game,” head coach Tyler Geving said. “Denver’s a good team; they play a different style than us. We just need to play our game, present good opportunities and get good shots.”
The Vikings return three players from last year’s team, including second team All-Big Sky shooting guard Charles Odum. Odum led the Vikings in scoring last season, averaging 14.0 points per game. Portland State also brings back two starters to their frontline in seniors Chehales Tapscott and Nate Lozeau. Tapscott led the team with 8.1 rebounds per game last year.
Defense will be an important factor in Friday’s game. Denver shot 40 percent from beyond the arc last season, and with four starters returning, the Vikings will need to stay on top of the Pioneer’s perimeter attack.
The Vikings played an exhibition game last Friday against Western Oregon, defeating the Wolves 91-82. Junior guard Michael Harthun led the Vikings with 21 points and shot 4 of 6 from three-point range.
“We’re a work in progress,” Geving said. “There were a lot of positives and negatives from the game. We got a good idea of what we do well, and we were exposed a little bit. We just need to get better.”
The Vikings were picked to finish fifth in the Big Sky in the preseason coaches and media polls. However, after serving a postseason suspension last year because of low academic scores, the team is anxious to keep improving and make a run toward the conference tournament this year.
“Night in and night out we need to compete hard,” Geving said. “We’ll get better every game and we’ll be playing our best ball in January when conference play starts.”
The Vikings are set to tip-off this Friday in Denver at 6:30 p.m. Portland State will return home for their first regular season game at the Stott Center on Nov. 15 against Seattle University.