Portland State (17-13) vs. Weber State (23-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 6, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dahlberg Arena (7,500) -- Missoula, Montana. Television: Altitude. Home Record: Portland State 10-3. Weber State 15-0. Away Record: Portland State 5-10, Weber State 7-5. Neutral Record: Portland State 2-0, Weber State 1-0. Conference Record: Portland State 10-6, Weber State 14-2. Series Record: Weber State leads, 29-11.
GAMES NOTES: The second-seeded Weber State Wildcats will face off with the third-seeded Portland State Vikings in the semifinals of the Big Sky Conference Tournament at Dahlberg Arena, with a spot in the tournament title game on the line.
These squads met up twice in the regular season and Weber State was victorious in both instances to push its all time series lead to 29-11. The teams both filled up the score sheet with final scores of 88-81 and 92-79 in the two decisions.
In the quarterfinals of the tournament Portland State took care of business in downing Montana State easily, 75-53. The Vikings salvaged their season with strong play in the final month of the year, winning six of their final seven games heading into the postseason to end the year with a 17-13 overall record and 10-6 mark in conference play.
With a bye in the first round, Weber State has been off since its regular season finale. The Wildcats entered that game tied with Montana for the top spot in the conference but lost 66-51, to the Grizzlies to snap a seven-game win streak while losing the top-seed in the conference tournament. The Wildcats still had a very strong year with 23 wins to just five losses overall and a 14-2 mark against conference opponents.
Portland State dominated from start to finish in its win over Montana State. The Vikings converted on 52.2 percent of their shots from the field including 8-of-14 from beyond the arc and stretched out it's halftime advantage by putting up 44 points in the second half.
Chehales Tapscott enjoyed the game by pouring in 20 points and pulling down 12 rebounds in the rout. The senior forward (14.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg) was part of the dynamic scoring duo, along with Charles Odum, that powered the Vikings' high-powered offense this season and also led the conference in rebounding by nearly two boards per game. Odum (19.0 ppg) was the better scorer during the regular season for the Vikings and ended the year second in the conference in the category. Odum put in 16 points in the quarterfinals. With such a prolific scoring tandem the Vikings are the second-highest scoring team in the Big Sky (76.4 ppg), while leading in field goal percentage (.484) and rebounds (35.2 rpg).
Weber State was uncharacteristically weak on offense in its regular season finale against Montana. Normally a team that can find its rhythm at that end, the Wildcats shot only 30.2 percent, including a ghastly 3-of-26 from three-point range. The conference's leading scorer Damian Lillard put in 19 points for the Wildcats put needed a ton of shots to do so finishing the game 7-for-19 from the floor, including 2-of-11 from beyond the arc.
The Wildcats normally score very well as they lead the conference and were 16th nationally in points per game (78.1). Lillard (24.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.9 apg) spent a great deal of the season at the top of the Division I scoring leaders list but ended the season behind Oakland's Reggie Hamilton (25.7 ppg). Scott Bamforth (15.0 ppg) and Kyle Tresnak (10.1 ppg) have also been effective scorers this year for the Wildcats although neither was so in the final game against Montana, with each putting in nine points on a combined 7-for-20 effort from the field.
This matchup will not lack for offense with the conference's two highest scoring teams colliding. Weber State proved in the regular season though that it can reach an offensive level that Portland State can't. That should be the difference in this matchup.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Weber State 85, Portland State 78
03/06 10:34:20 ET