PSU men must win on the road

Portland State’s men’s basketball season is on the line.

The Vikings need to make up some ground in order to make the Big Sky playoffs, and they’ll need to snap a four-game losing streak during a four-game, 10-day road stretch that starts Thursday night at Southern Utah.

“We’d better man up over these next two weeks,” PSU coach Tyler Geving says. “It’s probably going to take us going 4-2 from here on out (in the regular season) to get into the conference tournament. So the bottom line is we’ve got to win a couple on the road.”

PSU, only 1-7 in road games, gets to start with a Southern Utah team that is 0-14 overall in the Big Sky. But that’s far from any consolation to Geving.

“That’s scary,” he says, “because they’ve had their chances to win quite a few of those.

“We can’t look at anybody’s record. This isn’t high school or junior college. This is Division I.”

The Viks have scored 64, 63 and 65 points in their past three games, shooting a combined 44.7 percent from the field and 18 of 53 (34.0 percent) from 3-point range. That’s not enough production to win COURTESY OF PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY - WIGGINS

“We’ve struggled offensively the last three games,” Geving says.

Part of that was the loss of the team’s second-leading scorer, DeShaun Wiggins, who hurt an ankle late in last Thursday’s 65-63 homecourt loss to Northern Arizona, then couldn’t go on Saturday, when the Viks compounded the problem by falling at home to Sacramento State 72-65.

But PSU was its worst enemy in the first half against Sac State. The Viks trailed 43-29 at intermission.

“We had a tough loss on Thursday, and some of that carried over, and we just didn’t play very hard in the first half against Sacramento State,” Geving says, adding that, “you don’t have time to go through the motions anymore. And there are only so many motivational speeches a coach can use to get his guys going.”

Wiggins will be “fine” for the Southern Utah game, Geving says. The coach hopes he can say the same thing about his team as a whole.

“We’ve just got to be a little tougher,” he says.

• Stott Center will be the site of two Portland State women’s basketball games this week. The Vikings (4-10 Big Sky) take on Southern Utah (10-4, tied for second) at 2 p.m. Saturday, then face Eastern Washington (8-6, tied for fourth) at 7 p.m. Monday.

PSU beat EWU 86-74 in their conference opener on Dec. 29 at Cheney, Wash. That is the Vikings’ only road win in 11 tries.

• Portland State softball suffered three one-run losses and went 0-5 last weekend at the Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas, Nev. The Vikings (2-8) are off until Feb. 27, when they open a three-day run at the Cal State Northridge tournament, with three games against Rutgers and then two against the host Matadors.

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