If you are a true sports fan, you already know that football season is over, and Thanksgiving break means that winter is upon us. Winter means basketball, and this week is your first chances to witness Portland State’s very own men’s team go toe to toe with the Southern Oregon Raiders, right here on campus, in the Peter Stott Center.
Despite losing the season opener against University of Washington, head coach Heath Schroyer sees the improvements the team has made since last season and is still after a win when the team plays its first home game tonight against the Raiders.
Southern Oregon won both of its two pre-season match-ups against San Jose Christian and West Coast Baptist but lost 115-59 last week when it went up against Humboldt State. The Raiders have averaged 83 points per game this season and are led by two strong shooters, Jared Abell and Shea Washington. Abell averages 18 points per game and has made 77 percent of all his shots in the last three games. Washington, on the other hand, helps the Raiders out with 16.7 points per game and has completed 60 percent of his shooting attempts.
A win against Southern Oregon is exactly what the Vikings need to get their spirits up and help them prepare for Big Sky Conference play later in the season. So long as the team’s 73-65 loss to the University of Washington last Saturday was nothing more than early season jitters, the Viking men’s basketball program is expected to pull through with a very fruitful season.
“It was a good test for us,” commented Coach Schroyer after the team’s loss to UW. “We had some adversity early but battled back from it. I liked a lot of what I saw, but I am not a moral victory guy. I want the W.”
The Vikings gave Washington 12 turnovers in the first 10 minutes of play, letting UW start off with a 16-point lead that Portland State spent the entire first half battling back from. The Viks had it tied up at the half but regressed back to a trailing score in the third quarter. The loss was PSU’s 16th consecutive road loss, and now Washington has beaten Portland state in all five of the teams’ past match-ups.
On a positive note, Portland State’s lead man, Seamus Boxley, walked away from the game with 15 points and nine rebounds. Junior transfer Sheu Oduniyi racked up a couple of three-pointers and earned 12 points on the whole.
The Vikings have a good chance against Southern Oregon but would be better off if they had all of PSU’s athletic supporters at the game to boost the home team’s confidence. The game tips off at 7 p.m. tonight in the Peter Stott Center. Students are admitted free with their student IDs, so there is no excuse not to attend and support Portland State’s athletic program. Good luck, team!