Late Game Charge Leads Viks to Victory
View our Flickr slideshow from the game here
On a night when infamous and oft-injured Trail Blazers center Greg Oden was in the house, it was Charles Odum who stole the show, scoring 10 quick points in a late game flurry to help lead the Portland State Vikings to a much needed win over the Montana State Bobcats Saturday night at the Stott Center.
Odum, the Viks’ leading scorer on the season, had contributed just four points to the cause heading into the game’s final eight and a half minutes. But with his team down 10, 53-43, the junior guard went into attack mode, knocking down consecutive three-pointers to cut the Montana State lead to 55-49 with 6:30 to play. Following another long-ball from teammate Melvin Jones to trim the Bobcat advantage to 57-52, Odum again went on a personal min-run, connecting on back-to-back slashing drives to the rim to diminish what had been a 10-point second half deficit down to just one with 3:50 remaining on the game clock.
“He’s such a competitive kid,” said PSU head coach Tyler Geving of Odum after the game. “I sometimes give him a hard time…because he’s so stubborn at times. But that’s what makes him good, because he’s a stubborn kid that’s gonna will his way to a win. He’s not gonna back down to anybody or take no for an answer.”
Odum would cool off, but his teammates would pick up the slack down the stretch thanks to stingy defense and heady senior play. With the contest tied at 59 a piece with 2:15 remaining, Jones — a senior point guard playing in his final game at the Stott Center — drove to the basket, was fouled and connected on two free throws. Following a stop by Portland State at the other end, Thomas would again put his head down and make his way into the paint, but this time he kicked out to senior center Phillip Thomas, who canned the medium range jumper to put Portland State up 63-59 with 54 seconds left and essentially seal the deal.
Thomas and Jones played well on senior night and finished with 14 and 10 points, respectively, while Odum once again topped all Portland State scorers with 16.
Before Odum caught fire, though, it looked like the Vikings would suffer yet another heartbreaking loss in a season that has been filled with injury and disappointment.
Portland State led 30-23 at halftime, but Montana State started off the second half on a 10-2 run to retake the lead and momentum. Danny Piepoli led the charge for the Bobcats, connecting on six of eight attempts in the second half — including three makes from behind the three-point arch — on his way to a team-high 19 points. But right after Piepoli swished his final three-pointer of the night to put his team up 10, Odum put on his hard hat, went to work and willed the Viks back into the game.
"We found a way to win and grind one out," added Geving. "Hopefully we can be a good team next year, and that’s what good teams do. I hope the guys coming back next year can remember that. You can find a way to win, even when you aren’t playing your best, and they did that tonight."
Portland State (13-15, 5-10 in conference) matched their win total of last season with two more road games remaining against Northern Arizona and Seattle. Montana State fell to 12-17 on the season, but remain one game ahead of the Vikings with a 6-9 conference record.