PSU regroups, aims for better shots and fewer turnovers

The Portland State men’s basketball team had a rough start to Big Sky play last week, falling to 0-2 after road losses to Idaho State and Weber State.

“We were a little inconsistent,” Vikings coach Tyler Geving says. “When we did the things we were supposed to do, we executed well. But when we were bad, we were so bad it just killed us.

“We self-destructed a little. It seemed like one bad play after another. When you’re on the road, you can’t do those things.”

Heading into a two-game homestand against Montana State (7 tonight) and Montana (7 p.m. Saturday), Geving wants to see his team improve its shot selection as well as cut back on turnovers.

“Last weekend, our shot selection was poor,” Geving says. “When you have poor shot selection and you turn the ball over, it destroys your defense because you never get a chance to set up your defense.

“It’s like a pick-6 in football. You’re putting your defense in a bad position. If you turn the ball over and they go the other way and lay it in, your field-goal percentage defensively is bad.”GEVING

Portland State also will have to find a replacement for starting forward Aaron Moore, who is no longer with the Vikings because of what Geving called “conduct detrimental to the team.”

Geving says Moore’s position will be filled by a variety of players.

“It’s next man up,” Geving says. “Somebody has to step up and give us his minutes. Nobody has to save the world. Everybody just has to do a little more. It will be by committee. We just need a good team effort.”

As Portland State tries to get its season and its roster back on track, Geving says it is imperative for the Vikings to take care of business at home.

“Last weekend, the (Big Sky) home teams went 11-1. You’ve got to win at home. I don’t care if it’s this weekend or three weekends from now. If we can get on the road and steal one, we can make up some hay.”

• The Viking women will play five of their next seven games on the road, starting with Montana State and Montana this weekend.

“We would love to get two games, but you have to get a split,” coach Sherri Murrell says. “You have to take it as a one game at a time approach.”

Portland State has given itself a bit of a cushion with a fast start to the season. The Vikings are 2-1 in conference play with wins over Eastern Washington and Weber State and a loss to Idaho State. The 86-74 road win over Eastern Washington is especially encouraging given that Eastern Washington was the preseason pick to win the Big Sky.

“The Eastern Washington game was a big win for us,” Murrell says. “That gives confidence. I’ve seen teams that have been winless on the road, and it gets into your head right away. That will help us have the confidence that we need. If we can beat Eastern Washington on the road, then we can beat everybody.”

The biggest challenge for the Vikings will be to put two halves together each night.

“We’ve been a second-half team, and the players know that’s the issue,” Murrell says. “We’ve got a game plan for doing it earlier. They players are trying their best to get it taken care of.”

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