The Portland State Vikings (Vikes) hosted MSU for the Cats’ fifth conference game of the season. Due to the ongoing construction of the Vikings’ new stadium, they were forced to play the game at Lewis & Clark College’s gym in Lewiston, Idaho.
The Jan. 11 game began with PSU running their zone press against the Cats’ causing several early turnovers, giving the Vikes an immediate lead. The Vikes continued the pace, making eight three-pointers in the first half, as well as shooting an impressive 53 percent from the field. The Bobcats made only nine of their 27 shots and coughed up the ball nine times in the first half. The Cats went into the locker room trailing 32-44 at half.
The second half was all Portland State as well. They continued to shoot well, and forced an additional 12 turnovers, racking up 24 points from turnovers over the course of the game. The Cats’ offense shot much better in the second half, making 55 percent of their attempts, but unfortunately it was not enough to make a comeback.
By the end of the contest, Portland State put up 10 more shots than the Cats, including an astounding 15 more from three-point land, and forced a total of 21 turnovers, twice as many as the Cats’ usually give up. The Vikings came away with a 93-74 victory.
The Cats then travelled to Sacramento, California on the Saturday, Jan. 13 to battle Sacramento State.
The game was close the entire first half, with neither team holding a lead of more than seven points at any given time. Heading into halftime the Bobcats were trailing 41-40. Unfortunately the Bobcats hit a shooting slump in the second half, shooting only 39 percent from the field and making only one three-pointer the entire second half. While the Cats slowed down, Sacramento State did not. They continued to shoot lights out from the field and dominated the Cats on the boards, pulling down 20 rebounds to the Cats’ 10.
The Hornets went on to win 87-68. They shot an incredible 59 percent from the field with major help from senior forward Justin Springs, who ended the game with 31 points. The Bobcats ended the game only shooting 27 percent from three-point range, which is typically MSU’s primary weapon. The Cats’ Junior Guard Tyler Hall lead the team in scoring, racking up 20 points.
Although the Bobcats dropped their last two conference games, MSU remains in second place in the Big Sky Conference’ with a 4-2 record. MSU will get another crack at both Portland State and Sacramento State later this year at the Brick.
The Cats’ next game will be at home on Saturday, Jan. 20 against the University of Montana Grizzlies at 7 p.m. MSU is currently ahead 6-0 in the Brawl of the Wild Series.