Vikings Nearly Knock Off Ducks

This was not what the No. 19 Oregon Ducks had in mind when they pulled into Portland today. Wednesday night's game wasn't even supposed to be close. The Portland State Vikings were 3-12 coming into this game and had a lot of turmoil inside the locker room earlier in the season. Oregon was supposed to run away with this one.

Portland's Memorial Coliseum has certainly seen better played basketball games over the years, but tonight's game was nearly one of the biggest upsets in the Glass Palace's recent history. Neither team really showed too many signs of life, but Portland State put out a great effort for much of the night, keeping the game close, but eventually losing to the Ducks 69-63.

Despite their lack of motion and screens on offense, the Vikings found a way to stay in the game. Key three point shooting from Jeb Ivey along with rebounds and put backs by Seth Scott allowed PSU to keep the game within reach late into the game.

Early in the second half, Portland State cut the Oregon lead to two points at 46-44 after Scott hit a huge bucket and free throw after an Ian Crosswhite foul. Oregon would push a lead back out to ten or so but PSU would claw right back into the game. It went back and forth for the rest of the ballgame with the Vikings putting together a run here and there, and Oregon responding but never putting the game away.

With less than two minutes to go in the game, the Vikings made one final push to win the game. Seth Scott scored six big points, bringing the Vikings to within five points. Luke Ridnour came right down the court and found his way to the hoop for a layup, ending PSU's thoughts of victory.

"We did not play the way we wanted to, but we got a win," Oregon Coach Ernie Kent told OSN.

Oregon struggled on the boards once again today, as they have for much of the season. The smaller Portland State squad out rebounded the Ducks 27-25. Seth Scott grabbed 11 rebounds for the Vikings. Oregon's big men struggled to get any rebounds at all. Robert Johnson finished with only two rebounds, Ian Crosswhite had two as well and Jay Anderson grabbed five boards.

Both teams found their way into the turnover column of the score sheet early and often tonight. The Vikings finished with 17 and the Ducks had 15. Matt Short was the only Duck without a turnover.

The Vikings were led by forward Seth Scott in the scoring department in this contest. Scott, the 6-10 transfer from Utah Valley State Junior College scored 25 points in 39 minutes to go along with his 11 rebounds. Kevin Briggs and Brandon Haughton added 13 and 11 points respectively.

(PHOTO RIGHT)Oregon's Andre Joseph (35) drives to the basket past Portland State's John Giannoni, left, during the second half Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2003, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Brian Hendrickson)

Oregon was led by Luke Jackson's 21 points and eight rebounds tonight. It was important for the Ducks to see Jackson get out of his recent slump. Crosswhite, another Duck who had been slumping recently, scored 17 points in 24 minutes. Ridnour contributed 15 points to the Oregon effort.

The 3-13 Vikings will next face Northern Arizona in Portland at the Stott Center on Saturday. Tipoff will be at 7:05.

After tonight's win, Oregon's record improves to 11-4. The Oregon State Beavers will make their annual trip to Mac Court in Eugene on Saturday. The Beavs are coming off of a 78-73 loss at California last Saturday. Phillip Ricci leads the Beavers in scoring and rebounding with 17.4 points per game and 7.8 rebounds in each contest.

The Ducks will have to do a better job on the boards than they did tonight in order to win on Saturday. Interior defense will also be a concern for the Ducks as much of Oregon State's offense runs through Ricci's six foot seven, 250 pound frame.

Saturday's game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Net with tipoff at 2:00. Oregon will need a win to get going again in Pac-10 play.

"If we can get through the next three games we will be right back in things, but first thing is first, and that is the Civil War," Kent said.

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