Your guide inside the next game


Men’s basketball Women’s basketball
Portland State Vikings
Eastern Washington Eagles

(11-4, 3-0 Big Sky) (5-10, 2-0 Big Sky)

Saturday, Jan. 15, 7 p.m.
Reese Court, Cheney, Wash.

The Vikings will try to extend their seven-game win streak to a school-record tying eight games against the defending Big Sky champion Eastern Washington Eagles Saturday night in Cheney, Wash. PSU will hit the road for the first time since Dec. 1 looking to snap a six-game losing streak to EWU and earn its first victory at Reese Court since 1997. A PSU win would keep the Vikings in first place and prove they can win hard conference road games – one of the questions still unanswered despite the team’s strong start. The seven-game homestand seems to have given the Vikings confidence that they’re the team to beat, a road win in a tough arena Saturday night would go a long ways towards proving it.

A tough preseason schedule and an injury to last year’s Big Sky Freshman of the Year Matt Nelson are much to blame for the Eagles lowly 5-10 record and make it hard to gauge their true make-up. With Nelson back from a broken hand alongside star senior forward Marc Axton (16.9 points/game), the Eagles have one of the league’s better frontcourts, but the departures of last year’s Big Sky Player of the Year Alvin Snow and tough point guard Brenden Merritt have left an inexperienced backcourt.

Both PSU and EWU beat Sacramento State and Northern Arizona last week, but by all accounts the Vikings looked the better team in doing so. Portland State’s big lineup matches up well with the Eagles big men and the Vikings will try to take advantage of EWU’s propensity for turnovers (272 turnovers, most in the Big Sky). Senior Vikings guard Will Funn, whose 7.33 assists/game rank him 6th in all of Division-1, should have opportunities to exploit the Eagles inexperience on both sides of the ball and help the Vikings to their fourth conference victory.

Of interest: True freshman James Loe, last year’s Portland Metro league MVP and an Oregonian All-State pick, has started four games and averages over 11 minutes a game for Eastern thanks to its depleted backcourt.

Portland State University 2-10
Eastern Washington University 8-5

Saturday Jan. 15 at 2 p.m.
Stott Center

Portland State gets its first taste of Big Sky conference play this weekend with a match-up against Eastern Washington at the Stott Center. The Eagles of EWU have fared better than the Vikings in their preseason play, going 8-5. Eastern Washington notched impressive victories over Washington State and Idaho (both ugly games) in the month of December, with both wins coming on the road. Their 54-53 upset victory over the Cougars was the lone Big Sky win over the Pac-10.
The preseason has not been so kind to the Vikings, who currently sit at 2-10 and are riding a three game losing streak going into Saturday’s game. The offense hasn’t been clicking lately, though neither has the defense. In the past three games teams have scored over 70 points on Portland State twice, with San Jose State registering 69 in their 60-69 win over the Viks Dec. 30.

EWU’s leader is 6-2 center Felice Moore, who averages 11 points and 5.7 boards per game, both team highs. The two teams match-up fairly well size wise, and before the loss to BYU last Saturday the Viks had scored 60 or more points three games in a row. This will be a good litmus test for the Vikings, and after the game it will be painfully clear just where they stand in the conference.