The Portland State men’s basketball season (9-18, 6-10 in the Big Sky) came to a close with a rare home loss to Big Sky Conference Champion Cal State-Northridge 81-75 Saturday, March 3.
Portland State led 45-40 after half-time. But foul problems tormented the Vikings as their top two scorers, Anthony Lackey and Dony Wilcher, sat the bench much of the second half.
The Matadors started the second half with a 21-6 run, putting them up 61-51. The Vikings didn’t let up though, getting within two points on several occasions, but they couldn’t overcome the Matadors. CSN made 11 of its last 13 free throws in the game to seal the win.
Lackey and Wilcher combined for 13 points and five rebounds. PSU was outshot 48 percent to 46 percent and outrebounded, 38-29, by Northridge.
CSN also raised its mark to 20-9, 13-3 on the year. The Matadors host the Big Sky Conference Tournament that will start next Thursday.
Despite the loss, the game was highlighted by individual performances. Charles Madison put out a strong effort, leading Portland State with 18 points. Seamus Boxley came off the bench with 15 points on six-of-seven field goal shooting.
Kevin Briggs added season highs of 12 points and nine rebounds and Jamaal Thomas blocked one shot, giving him 32 blocks on the season – a new PSU record.
Two nights prior to the Northridge game, the Vikings snagged a final victory against Northern Arizona, 68-64.
Wilcher found himself at the free-throw line with just 7.7 seconds remaining in the game. The senior guard hit on both attempts, sealing Portland State’s 68-64 win over the Lumberjacks.
Both Wilcher and Lackey provided key plays in the win. Lackey led the team with 14 points and six rebounds. The forward sank four-of-six from behind the arc. Wilcher added 11 for the Vikings.
PSU held on to a second half lead but the gap remained narrow and was never larger than eight points.
Lackey had a huge three-point field goal with a little more than two minutes remaining in the game, giving the Vikings a 66-59 advantage. But NAU’s Cory Schwab answered back with a three-pointer of his own and a pair of free throws by Casey Grundman brought the score within two, 66-64 with a minute left in the game.
The Vikings failed to score on their next possession, and the Jacks had a chance score in the final 30 seconds. The Lumberjacks missed a three-point attempt, and as Wilcher rebounded he was fouled, setting up PSU’s first and last trip to the line.
Both teams put up impressive numbers. PSU shot .492 for the game, while NAU hit on eight-of-13 free throws and shot .446 from the field. The deciding factor for the Vikings was limiting NAU’s standout player, Schwab, to 11 points, six below his average. Schwab came to Portland ranked third in the nation in three-point field goals.