Portland State on target during bear hunt

Junior guard Andre Murray had his best game as a Viking, senior center Scott Morrison was dominant in the post and junior guard Jeremiah Dominguez was clutch down the stretch.

Junior guard Andre Murray had his best game as a Viking, senior center Scott Morrison was dominant in the post and junior guard Jeremiah Dominguez was clutch down the stretch.

Collectively the three combined for 65 points, 21 rebounds, 10 assists, four blocks, and five steals. And the Vikings still needed every last bit of energy they had to defeat Northern Colorado 85-83 in overtime Saturday, securing another key conference win and helping head coach Ken Bone record his 300th career victory.

The Bears (8-10, 2-4 BSC) came into Portland with their confidence high after defeating San Diego State last week, but the Vikings (11-8, 4-2 BSC) were ready to match the Bears’ scrappy and energetic brand of basketball.

“We anticipated it being tough,” Morrison said. “We knew they were a scrappy team. That’s what keeps them in games.”

Portland State jumped out to an early lead, feeding Morrison in the post and penetrating to the rim. The Vikings’ lead swelled to 15 in the first half. However, the precision and exactness that played a significant role in the Vikings’ double-digit lead dissipated as Portland State got sloppy, turning the ball over 13 times. The Bears took advantage, going on a 14-2 run to close the half and cutting the lead to 31-28.

The second half was a dog fight as the two teams matched one another’s intensity and traded blows for the final 20 minutes. Northern Colorado did its damage from the outside and at the free-throw line, netting six of 15 three-pointers and 12 of 13 shots at the line. For the Vikings, Murray and Morrison provided the punch, punishing the Bears with penetration and devastating drop-step dunks.

It was a breakout game for Morrison, who scored a career high 23 points on 10 of 13 shooting, as the 6-foot-11 senior continued to show flashes of his offensive potential.

“Coach has been stressing in practice that I have to get good position,” Morrison said. “But I haven’t been sealing hard enough. They showed me some tape about an hour before the game and stressed getting a little wider and a little lower. It was just a couple inches here and there but it makes a big difference.”

Saturday marked the second consecutive game Morrison has been utilized as a focal point in the offense.

“I really feel like he’s dialed in more,” Bone said of Morrison. “He did a good job of getting position. It’s not a secret to him: he knows it. We need to be certain to look to go to him when he’s playing the way he is.”

With Morrison demanding attention down low, space was freed up for Murray to go to work. Murray was a man among boys. The quick guard continually broke down the defense for easy buckets on his way to 20 points, while skying for 10 rebounds and dishing out five assists: all season highs.

“He’s good, he is a good player,” Bone said. “What he really does well is rebound, and we needed that desperately.”

The missing link for much of the game was Deonte Huff, who has been the Vikings most consistent player this season. Huff struggled with foul trouble and was never able to get into the flow of the game. But it was Huff who secured the biggest rebound of the night before being fouled. Down 68-67, Huff made the first free throw to send the game to overtime.

Morrison scored the Vikings’ first six points in overtime then Dominguez took over. Dominguez provided the dagger, draining a three-pointer to push the lead to five with less than two minutes left. Then Dominguez stepped to the free-throw line, calmly hitting 7 of 8 free throws in the final moments to ice the game. The point guard finished with 22 points and five assists.

The victory was the 300th in Ken Bone’s 16-year career as a collegiate head coach. Looking sharp in his suit with a fresh haircut, Bone downplayed the significance of his accomplishment.

“It’s not a big deal,” Bone said. “That’s for sure.”

Bone is now 300-155 in his career, including 42-37 in over two years at Portland State.

n the Vikings’ overtime victory over Northern Colorado Saturday, Portland State leaned heavily upon Scott Morrison, Andre Murray and Jeremiah Dominguez to down the Bears. Here’s how the trio combined to contribute in all facets of the game.

Points- 65Rebounds- 21 Assists- 10 Steals- 5Blocks- 4