Thursday, January 16, 2014, 7:05 p.m. •
The Hornets Nest (1,200), Sacramento, CA
PORTLAND STATE VIKINGS
Record/Big Sky: 6-7, 1-3
Head Coach: Tyler Geving (58-77/5th year)
SACRAMENTO STATE HORNETS
Record/Big Sky: 5-8, 1-3
Head Coach: Brian Katz (51-110/6th year)
THE OPENING TIP
Portland State hopes to use the momentum of an exhilarating triple-overtime win against the defending Big Sky Conference champions as it goes back on the road for a pair of games this week. The Vikings (6-7, 1-3) play at Sacramento State (5-8, 1-3) on Thursday night, then travel to Northern Arizona (5-9, 2-1) for a Saturday afternoon contest.
The Vikings beat Montana, 81-78, in triple overtime on Saturday in the Stott Center to stop a three-game losing streak. Now, PSU must end an ugly road losing streak that dates back 20 games. The first chance to do so is Thursday at the Hornets Nest. The game tips off at 7:05 p.m. Live video, audio and stats for Saturday's game can be found on-line at GoViks.com, starting at 6:45 p.m. Just click on the appropriate link in the Game Day box.
PSU outlasted Montana in a tense struggle in which neither team lead by double-digits. The Vikings came back from a nine-point deficit with less than four minutes left in regulation to tie the game. The teams then tussled for three extra stanzas before JR G Gary Winston hit a game-winning three-pointer for the Vikings with 2.6 seconds left in the third OT.
It will be a different challenge as the Vikings play on the road this week. PSU has won 11 of the last 13 meetings with Sacramento State. But the Hornets won in the series' last meeting, 77-71, Feb. 9 in Sacramento.
The Vikings are 0-4 on the road this season, but also have the weight of an overall 20-game road losing streak on their shoulders.
Sacramento State is 3-1 at home this year, but has not had the benefit of a Big Sky home game. The Hornets played their first four league contests on the road.
THE SERIES: PORTLAND STATE VS. SACRAMENTO STATE
• ALL-TIME SERIES: Portland State leads 25-11. Sacramento State leads 10-8 in Sacramento.
• BIG SKY SERIES: Portland State leads 24-10. Sacramento State leads 9-8 in Sacramento.
• STREAK: The Hornets won the last meeting, but PSU has won 11 of the last 13 games in the series.
• LAST SEASON: The Vikings routed the Hornets, 87-69, in Portland, hitting 12-18 from three-point range... Mikh McKinney scored 30 points (13-18 FG) in the Hornets' 77-71 win in Sacramento.
• Viking Coach Tyler Geving is 6-2 all-time against the Hornets... Sacramento State Coach Brian Katz is 2-8 all-time against the Vikings.
• The Vikings have swept the season series eight times in 17 years. The Hornets have swept the series once.
SACRAMENTO STATE HORNETS: Like Portland State, Sacramento State joined the Big Sky Conference in 1996-97 and is in its 18th year as a member. The Hornets have never won a Big Sky Conference championship or appeared in the NCAA Tournament... last year, the Hornets were 14-15 overall, 8-12 and tied for sixth in the Big Sky Conference... two starters and eight letterwinners return from that team... guard Mikh McKinney leads the Hornets in scoring (13.8), assists (3.3) and steals (16)... the Hornets other starter at guard, Dylan Garrity, averages 12.5 points and 3.2 assists. Garrity has also made 34 three-point field goals and shoots .472 from distance to rank third in the league. He has the best assist-to-turnover ratio in the league (2.4, 41/17).
COMING UP: Portland State plays at Northern Arizona on Saturday in a 2:05 p.m. game. The Vikings and Lumberjacks split the season series last year. The game will be televised on Fox College Sports, Fox Sports Arizona and Fox Sports Pacific. Following that game, PSU comes home for four in a row through Feb. 1.