With less than four minutes to play in Saturday night's game, the Portland State Vikings trailed by nine and were left for dead. A full hour later, at the end of triple overtime, junior guard Gary Winston delivered a reviving shock to the system with a game-winning three-point field goal and the Vikings beat Montana, 81-78.
To say Winston was the hero is no overstatement. He scored all nine Viking points in the third overtime. The most important came on the final play as he ran a pick-and-roll with Tim Douglas. Winston, the screener, popped open on the right wing and Douglas hit him with a perfect pass. All that was left to do was rip the net with 2.6 seconds left.
The shot sent the Stott Center into pandemonium as Montana rushed the ball upcourt. But Kareem Jamar's half-court heave didn't come close.
It was a remarkable comeback and win with a game full of heros for the Vikings. The first was Winston, with his career-high 21 points and the game winner. Also coming up big was Marcus Hall, who netted a career-high 21, including 5-6 from three-point range and 6-6 at the line. Douglas added 18 points, five rebounds and four assists.
The victory against defending Big Sky Champion Montana was much-needed for the Vikings who had lost their first three league games. PSU is now 6-7 on the season, 1-3 in the Big Sky.
Trailing 54-45 with 3:50 left in regulation, PSU was down but not out. The Vikings went on a 12-3 run to close out regulation and send the game to overtime. Hall, Winston and Douglas all scored in the run with Douglas getting five, including a go-ahead jumper with 29 seconds left, making it 57-56 Vikings.
Montana's Keron DeShields made 1-2 free throws with 16 seconds left to tie the game and get it to overtime.
PSU center Brandon Cataldo sent the game to a second overtime with a tip-in basket with 47 seconds left in the first OT. That tied it at 62-62. Each team had a possession to follow, but Montana could not covert with a missed free throw and a lane violation. Douglas then had his shot blocked by Mario Dunn at the buzzer.
Portland State led 72-65 with 2:30 left in the second overtime but didn't score again. The Griz battled back with seven in a row to tie. Jamar had a three-point attempt for the win at the end of the second overtime but missed to leave it tied at 72-72.
In the closing frame, Winston hit a pair of three-pointers and three of four free throws. His final dagger had the Stott Center rocking.
Portland State, which play four guards on the floor at all times, had a huge rebounding deficit early in the game but battled in the late-going getting all the key rebounds. PSU had an 11-5 rebound advantage in the three overtimes, including 3-0 in the last OT. PSU ended up outrebounding Montana, 32-31, for the game.
PSU shot .460 from the floor, hitting a season-high 12-27 three-pointers. The Vikings also had an excellent 23-28 performance at the line (.821).
Jordan Gregory had a game-high 25 points for Montana (6-7, 1-3). Jamar added 19 points and six rebounds.
GAME NOTES: The last time Portland State played a triple overtime game was Feb. 21, 1998 when the Vikings beat Montana State, 101-100 in the Rose Garden… Winston also had five assists to lead the Vikings… Marcus Hall has made 10-13 three-point field goals in the last two games. He is 14-22 from three-point range in Big Sky Conference games (.636)… PSU is now 24-23 all-time in overtime games… PSU ended a nine-game losing streak to Montana that dated back to the 2008-09 season… Portland State goes on the road next week, playing at Sacramento State on Thursday night.