The Portland State men’s basketball team hosted its home opener against the University of San Diego (2-1) Saturday night in the Peter W. Stott Center. The Vikings, who were just coming off two road victories, came into Saturday’s game looking to make it three in a row. The Toreros however had different plans in mind, jumping out to 16-6 lead at the 12:56 mark in the first half. The Toreros never lost their lead, as they cruised to a 74-59 victory, leaving the Vikings to a 2-1 record.
“We lacked energy on both ends from the start,” junior guard Kevin Briggs said.
USD senior guard Andre Laws was the leading scorer for the game with 24 points; he also added five rebounds and four assists. Coming in averaging 17.5 points through his first two games, Laws scored eight out of the first 12 points for San Diego, sparking their early lead. Unable to get on track throughout the night were two key starters for the Vikings, Jeb Ivey and Anthony Lackey. Both Ivey and Lackey shot a combined five for 21 from the field and were just three for 11 from the three-point line. Portland State only shot 36 percent from the field in the first half.
“We’re a tight knit group and you can always count on us to come out and play, but tonight we just didn’t have it,” Briggs said.
Early in the second half, the Vikings were able to cut the deficit to three points in the first 10 seconds off a set play. With 19:50 remaining the score read 32-29, San Diego leading. That was as close as Portland State was able to get, because from there San Diego scored eight straight points to increase the lead to 11.
The Vikings had trouble hitting shots in the last seven minutes of the game when they most needed them. They were down by five, 59-54, with 6:03 remaining. Once again San Diego turned up the heat on defense only allowing the Vikings to score five more points in the last six minutes of the game.
Top scorers for the Vikings were Seamus Boxley with 13 points, Lackey with 12 and Aaron Fitzgerald with 13. Two other top scorers in double-digits for the for the San Diego were Tom Lippold with 14 and Kevin Hanson with 12. The margin of turnovers was in favor of San Diego 11-16. The Toreros also dished out four more assists than the Vikings at 15-11. The battle of the boards was won by San Diego as well, 35-31.
Next on the schedule for Portland State is Cal Poly. The Vikings will travel to San Luis Obispo, Calif. on Tuesday, where tip off is set for 7 p.m.
“(Cal Poly) is a well-coached, good team, but we should be more prepared for that game,” Briggs added.