With 13.3 seconds left on the clock, the Portland State men’s basketball team advanced the ball up the court for the final possession of Saturday’s game.
Northern Colorado guard Will Figures had just made one of two from the charity strip to give the Bears a 64–61 advantage, and the Vikings were quite literally handed the ball for an opportunity to tie the game at 64–all and force overtime.
But it seems that in this season for Portland State (10–17, 5–9 Big Sky), some things are just not meant to be.
As the remaining seconds ticked down, senior guard Dominic Waters was unable to get away a clean shot and the score ended in the Bears’ favor, even after Portland State nearly accomplished the unthinkable by coming back after being down by as much as 19 early in the second half.
Two days after losing to Northern Arizona, 86–85, in double overtime, the Vikings fell to Northern Colorado on Saturday for the first time in 12 meetings between the schools.
The Bears (22–6, 11–4 Big Sky) took control early on Saturday night, and it appeared they were going to run away with it as they were clearly in the driver’s seat with a 15-point lead heading into the break.
Opening up the second half, Northern Colorado increased their lead to 19 points and had all but put the wrappings on their 22nd win of the season.
Then, after a pair of three pointers by guards Waters and junior Paul Guede, the Vikings went on a tear that brought them within three points of tying the game in the waning minutes.
Despite the loss, the Vikings shouldn’t hang their heads after nearly sweeping their series with one of the best teams in the mid majors.
With three more turnovers than the Bears, as well as giving up 19 offensive rebounds, Portland State was fighting an uphill battle the entire night. Despite outshooting their opponent .480 to .393, the Vikings hurt themselves when they let the Bears get second-chance shot after second-chance shot.
Leading all scorers with 28 total points, Waters kept the Vikings in the game with five second-half three-pointers. Also having solid games, senior Jamie Jones just missed his conference-leading ninth double-double of the year and Guede was 2 of 4 from downtown. Additionally, the Vikings held Figures to just 2 of 12 shooting on the night.
Standing at sixth place, the Vikings have two final home games before the end of conference play. With only two spots in the postseason up for grabs and a five-game losing streak on their backs, Portland State finds itself in a must-win situation.
Scores by period
1st 2nd OT 2OT Final
Portland State 26 37 11 11 85
Northern Arizona 32 31 11 12 86
Portland State 18 43 61
Northern Colorado 33 31 64