Portland State (13-13) at Sacramento State (9-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 23rd, 10:35 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Hornets Nest (1,200) -- Sacramento, California. Television: None. Home Record: PSU 7-3, Sacramento 6-8. Away Record: PSU 4-10, Sacramento 3-9. Neutral Record: PSU 2-0, Sacramento 0-0. Conference Record: PSU 7-6, Sacramento 4-10. Series Record: Portland State leads, 23-10.
GAME NOTES: Needing one more win to assure themselves a spot in the Big Sky Conference Tournament, the Portland State Vikings go hunting for that triumph in the Golden State as they challenge the Sacramento State Hornets at the Hornets Nest tonight.
PSU, which entered the week tied with Idaho State for third in the conference standings at 7-6, still have league dates against Eastern Washington and Northern Colorado at home over the next week. The team took a break from the Big Sky slate last weekend to challenge the Idaho Vandals on the road and came up small in a 77-68 setback. The loss snapped what had been a three-game win streak for the program.
As for the Hornets, they need to continue to win and also get some help from other members of the conference in order to make the cut for the upcoming tournament. Currently eighth in the league at 4-10, Sacramento has lost three straight and is barely hanging on when it comes to the possibility of making it to the postseason. The team was bounced by San Jose State at home last weekend in a 79-67 final.
PSU owns a 23-10 lead in the all-time series, thanks in part to an 85-67 victory at home over the Hornets just eight days ago as the Vikings connected on a sizzling 65.2 percent from the floor and held the visitors to a mere 39.3 percent accuracy.
Coming off the bench for a change, Charles Odum dropped in 17 points for the Vikings, one of four players in double figures as the team bowed to Idaho at the Cowan Spectrum. Lateef McMullan accounted for 16 points, Renado Parker 14 and Chehales Tapscott 10 points and eight rebounds as the squad shot just 6- of-21 behind the three-point line. Odum remains the top scorer by far for the Vikings with his 18.4 ppg, thanks to 53.3 percent accuracy from the field and 84.1 percent shooting at the free-throw line. Tapscott (13.8 ppg) is the only other player in double figures for the group and he too is shooting the ball very well from the floor at a 53.5 percent clip, his 9.3 rpg by far the top number on the unit.
Leading four players in double figures, Jackson Carbajal dropped in a career- high 24 points, shooting 4-of-9 behind the three-point line in the loss to San Jose State over the weekend. John Dickson added 15 points and six boards off the bench, but he converted just 4-of-14 from the floor, while Joe Eberhard and Dylan Garrity both delivered 10 points. Garrity also handed out 12 assists which means he now has three double-doubles on the season and has distributed at least a dozen assists four different times in 2011-12. Even though he has come off the bench in several games this season, Dickson is still the top scorer for the program with his 11.9 ppg, while Eberhard and Carbajal tack on 10.9 and 10.6 ppg, respectively. Garrity is the one who directs traffic on the floor with his 178 assists, against just 77 turnovers.
The Hornets certainly have something to fight for in this meeting, but at the same time PSU would like nothing more than to lock up a spot in the conference tournament and that would happen with a win on the road tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Portland State 73, Sacramento State 64
02/23 10:35:24 ET