Sacramento State (7-5) at Portland State (3-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 10, 10:35 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stott Center (1,500) -- Portland, Oregon. Television: None. Home Record: Sacramento State 5-2, Portland State 3-2. Away Record: Sacramento State 2-3, Portland State 0-6. Neutral Record: Sacramento State 0-0, Portland State 0-0. Conference Record: Sacramento State 2-2, Portland State 1-3. Series Record: Portland State leads, 24-10.
GAMES NOTES: Riding a three-game losing streak, the Portland State Vikings will be back on their home floor on Thursday night when they host the Sacramento State Hornets in a Big Sky conference brawl at the Stott Center.
Sacramento State put an end to a short two-game losing streak last time out with a 64-59 victory over Northern Arizona. With the win the Hornets moved to 7-5 overall, while evening their conference record at 2-2. This is the first of a four-game road trip for Sacramento State, which is 2-3 in away games this season. The trip continues against Eastern Washington on Saturday.
Although Portland State has been competitive in each of its last three games, each one ended in a loss. Each loss came by seven points or fewer, including the most recent setback, a 62-55 defeat on the road to Montana. The Vikings are now 1-3 in league play and just 3-8 overall. That has included a 3-2 mark at the Stott Center where the Vikings will be yet again on Saturday to face Northern Arizona.
Last season the Vikings swept the season series to earn their 10th win in the last 11 meetings with the Hornets. Portland State also leads the all-time series, 24-10.
In its win over Southern Utah, Sacramento State led by as many as 16 points and never trailed in a five-point victory. The Hornets limited the Thunderbirds to 32.2 percent shooting in the contest and also had a 29-15 edge in points from the free-throw line.
There are four players averaging in double figures for Sacramento State this season led by John Dickson (14.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg). The 6-foot-6 forward was severely limited against Southern Utah as he was held scoreless in just 15 minutes of playing time. That effort ended a six-game streak of scoring in double figures for Dickson. Also proving to be reliable scorers this season are Mikh McKinney (13.2 ppg), Dylan Garrity (12.6 ppg, 5.2 apg) and Konner Veteto (10.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) with Garrity also the second best distributor in terms of assists in the Big Sky.
After being dominated in the first half against Montana, Portland State managed to put up a fight in the second half by shooting at a 54.2 percent rate in the final 20 minutes. However it was too little, too late for the Vikings who were outscored 26-12 on points in the paint and 18-11 from the free-throw line.
In comparison to Sacramento State, Portland State has been the more efficient offensive squad as it connects on 45.0 percent of its shots from the floor. However the Vikings are only the eighth-best scoring team (65.9 ppg) and one of the two worst teams on the glass (29.6 rpg). In fact the Vikings' rebounding efforts are among the 20 worst in the country. There is a quartet of players scoring in double figures for the Vikings. Renado Parker (11.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg) is the leader and has scored double digits in five of the last six games. Aaron Moore (10.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg) is the team's top rebounder and Michael Harthun (10.3 ppg) and Lateef McMullan (10.0 ppg, 3.3 apg) can also put up points.
It is not as if Portland State has been run off the court in league play and a return home should help the Vikings get back in the win column.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Portland State 68, Sacramento State 64
01/10 10:35:32 ET