For the second game in a row, the Vikings had their hearts broken as time ran out. Silent most of the game, it was Northern Arizona’s Rubin Boykin Jr. who sealed the Lumberjacks win 65-63 with a nice jumper. Ryan Sommer’s desperation shot fell short at the buzzer.
The Vikings played the Big Sky’s best team well for the entire game. PSU jumped to a 21-8 lead in the first half but NAU would cut the lead to just one going into the break at 33-32. The Lumberjacks held the Vikings without a score for over seven minutes over two halves until Anthony Washington’s alley-oop lay put the Vikings on the scoreboard for the first time.
The Lumberjacks came into the Stott Center nursing the nation’s largest win streak and played like they wanted to notch another, getting physical with the Viks as the two teams combined for 43 turnovers, including 26 first-half miscues.
The Vikings had the game tied at 45 points, 54 points and 61 points until succumbing to Boykin’s shot near the key with 3.3 seconds left.
The Vikings were led by another strong showing from junior forward Juma Kamara, who had 17 points on 5-9 shooting, including two free throws that tied the game at 63. Portland State’s two centers also played well, especially sophomore Scott Morrison, who came alive after an offensive foul call. He responded with two hard dunks and two blocks and finished with 6 points and eight rebounds.
Morrison’s frontcourt mate Anthony Washington played an effective game, going 3-7 from the field for 9 points and seven boards. The only other Vikings player in double figures was senior guard Jake Schroeder, who had 12 points on 4-11 shooting.
“I thought we’d win for sure,” Morrison said. “It was a real physical game but the refs called it good both ways.”
With the loss, the Vikings sink to 1-7 in the Big Sky and 8-12 overall. Now riding a four-game losing streak, head coach Ken Bone remains proud of his team.
“I’m really proud of their effort,” Bone said. “We don’t want to coach attitude and effort. We’re not a 1-7 team. We haven’t been able to win at the end and that’s my fault.”
The Vikings now face another must-win home tilt Saturday when Sacramento State comes to the Stott Center. Even at 1-7, the Vikings aren’t panicked.
“Once we get a win we’ll get something going,” Sommer said. “We’ll be okay.”