Weber State (5-3) at Portland State (3-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 22, 10:35 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Peter W. Stott Center (1,500) -- Portland, Oregon. Television: None. Home Record: Weber State 3-1, Portland State 3-1. Away Record: Weber State 2-2, Portland State 0-4. Neutral Record: Weber State 0-0, Portland State 0-0. Conference Record: Weber State 1-0, Portland State 1-0. Series Record: Weber State leads, 30-11.
GAMES NOTES: The Weber State Wildcats and the Portland State Vikings will look to stay atop the Big Sky Conference standings when they collide at the Stott Center on Saturday night.
Weber State, which was the runner up in the Big Sky Conference last season, got off to a great start in league play this year with a 74-53 rout of Eastern Washington on Thursday. The win was the fourth in the last five games for the Wildcats, who have improved their record to 5-3 overall after a sluggish 1-2 start to the season. Weber State has split its four away games but will be at home in its next three contests following this matchup.
Also gaining a win in its league opener was Portland State which easily got past Idaho State 63-49 on Thursday night. The Vikings have had less success overall though with just a 3-5 overall record, although they have won each of their last two contests. This is the final tilt of a four-game homestand for Portland State which travels to face Montana State on Jan. 3.
In previous years this has not been a particularly competitive conference rivalry. In fact Weber State has the best record (30-11) of any Big Sky opponent against Portland State with wins in the last four meetings.
Weber State had very little trouble with Eastern Washington on Thursday. The Wildcats limited the Eagles to just 34.0 percent shooting in the game and doubled them up on points from beyond the arc (24-12), while shooting 47.9 percent themselves. Jordan Richardson nailed three triples and had a team- high 15 points.
Picking up wins in league play should be something the Wildcats are able to do consistently this year thanks to strong play on the offensive end. Weber State is ranked both second in the conference in scoring (73.8 ppg) and field goal percentage (.467). The Wildcats also hand out the second-most assists (14.5 pg) while holding a +4.0 edge on the boards. Davion Berry (13.6 ppg, 3.2 apg) has done his best to take over for the prolific scoring of Damian Lillard from a year ago. Scott Bamforth (10.2 ppg) and Kyle Tresnak (10.2 ppg) also score in double figures, while Joel Bolomboy (7.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg) has really cleaned up the glass
It was a similar scene in Portland for the Vikings in the win over Idaho State. The Vikings outscored the Bengals 21-6 from beyond the arc and shot at a 53.2 percent clip overall, while using an 11-0 run in the second half to get separation for the win. Lateef McMullan netted 20 points to lead the Vikings.
The Vikings have shot better than any other team in the Big Sky (.468 percent) but have only managed to score at the eighth best rate (67.8 ppg). The Vikings are also very weak on the boards (28.5 pg) and are getting lit up for 71.0 points per game on 48.7 percent shooting. Michael Harthun (11.2 ppg) and Renado Parker (11.6 ppg) are the primary scoring options. McMullan (10.0 ppg) has heated up recently, scoring in double figures in three straight games after failing to do so in the first five games.
Weber State is the more balanced team in this matchup and despite playing on the road, should stay perfect in conference action.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Weber State 75, Portland State 65
12/22 10:35:59 ET