Portland State travels to Oregon State today to take on the Beavers for the first time in nine years. Oregon State leads the all time series 11-0 and is 8-0 against PSU in Corvallis. The game will be televised on Root Sports. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.
The Vikings, 6-4, will be playing their second game against a PAC-12 school. Last Monday they lost 70-79 to Oregon in Eugene. PSU is 2-4 away from home overall and the two wins were neutral site games. The Vikings are fresh off an exciting 91-87 home win over CSU Bakersfield on Thursday night. Junior Guard Michael Harthun had a career-high 22 points and led five Vikings who finished in double figures. Oregon State beat the CSUB Roadrunners, 86-62, on Nov. 12 so even if this ends up as being a fairly up tempo game as expected the Beavers still have the advantage.
Oregon State currently sits at 8-2 this season following Thursday’s win, 93-72, over Howard. The last time these teams played eachother was a Dec. 17, 2002 matchup at Gill Coliseum. The last three meetings have been tight with the Beavers winning by a combined 12 points (67-63 in 1997-98, 51-46 in 2001-02, and 53-50 in 2002-03). As a barometer, Portland State is 4-45 all-time against the current members of the PAC-12 Conference.
Jared Cunningham is leading Oregon St. with 17.2 points and 3.0 steals per game. Devon Collier is averaging 13.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. Ahmad Starks is averaging 12.0 points and has contributed 20 three-point field goals. The Vikings shot 67% from the field against CSUB but commited 17 turnovers that the Roadrunners converted into 25 points. Oregon State is forcing their opponents into over 20 turnovers per game (20.3).
Oregon St. again just needs to play Beaver basketball. PSU has effective guard play but OSU has the superior athletes across the board. Collier, Burton and Brandt should be able to establish their inside presence. That in turn should allow Starks and Roberto Nelson to start making outside shots. Throw in Cunningham’s great ability to drive to the basket and steal the ball and OSU should be setting the pace for the vast majority of this game. The only danger will be if we are unable to shoot well or if the inside game has problems finishing. With Brandt developing a nice mid range jump shot and Nelson stepping up I think we have plenty of options and are unlikely to see the major breakdown it would take to lose this game.
I again will hope to see Moreland get around 18 minutes tonight. Craig Robinson has stated he wants him to get 20 or so come PAC-12 play so he needs to get close to that level now since there is not much time left before the Dec. 29th game against the Huskies in Seattle. Moreland needs to work on finishing offensively and he will be a very valuable piece to have out there against the stiffer competition that is soon coming. Tonight though the Beavers cruise to a relatively comfortable win in a fun game with more highlights and sweet jams. OSU 87, PSU 70 is my prediction as OSU raises its record to 9-2. PSU will be scrappy but they won’t be able to quite keep up against an OSU team ready to raise their profile.
If you can make the game tonight there is a promo where you bring 3 cans of food per person and get admittance for up to 6 people at $10 a head. Each person will also get a Qdoba Queso coupon for a free appetizer.
OSU 87, PSU 70