Team from ‘down under’ tops Viks, 73-63

In the first game of Heath Schroyer’s coaching tenure at Portland State, the Vikings lost to the Australia Institute of Sport, 73-63, Monday night at the Peter Stott Center. Portland State committed 36 fouls in the game as well as 23 turnovers, which was the primary reason for the defeat.

Junior college transfer Seth Scott was the highlight for the Vikings, scoring 30 points and pulling down 10 rebounds in 39 minutes. Scott is from Utah Valley State and was playing in his first game as a Viking.

Jeb Ivey, the senior point guard, played a fundamentally sound game with 13 points, six assists, six of seven from the free-throw line and four rebounds in 38 minutes of play. No other Viking player was in double figures for points or rebounds.

Portland State shot 46 percent for field goals in the first half, but the 43 percent in the second half slowed down the scoring. For the game, the team shot 45 percent on 23-51 shots. From the free-throw line, Portland shot 65 percent on 13-20 shots.

PSU’s opponent, Australia Institute of Sport (AIS), includes some of Australia’s Junior National team. AIS had a balanced attack, with three players in double figures. Aaron Bruce led the way with 13 points, followed by Sam Harris with 12 points in only 15 minutes of play and Damien Martin with 11 points. AIS shot only 43 percent from the field on 22-51 shooting. It drew no baskets from the three-point line but took 39 trips to the free-throw line, making 29 of the shots for a 74 percent average, which was the difference in the game.

Portland State out-rebounded Australia 35 to 32. On the offensive glass, the Vikings pulled down two more rebounds, giving them an edge in offensive rebounds, 10 to 8.

The game was close in the first half. AIS led by only one at half time, but the constant trips to the free-throw line cost the Vikings momentum and, eventually, the game. Four PSU players had five fouls. The only starter to not have five was John Giannoni.

This being the first game of the season for the Vikings, there are some positive things that can be taken from this loss. First, the fouls that cost Portland the game were mental mistakes that can be avoided.

“I think we had a lot of first game jitters out there,” Schroyer explained.

Moreover, a few more made free throws might have given Portland some breathing room.

Finally, Portland State was without two key players due to injury. Seamus Boxley, who is still not cleared to play from surgery on his hand, would have helped out, Schroyer said. Boxley had a team high .552 field goal percentage last season. On the defensive side, Ben Coffee was held out on Schroyer’s decision with an ankle sprain.

Portland State is playing its second and final exhibition game Saturday at the Stott Center. The Viks will face Northwest College at 1 p.m.