Oregon schools take a beating Thursday night

Ducks, Beavers, Pilots and Vikings all lose conference games
Jan. 15, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
Gary Winston scored a season-high 25 points for PSU Thursday, but the Vikings lost at home to Eastern Washington.
Photo by Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

It was just four days ago that Oregon State celebrated its first men's basketball upset of a Top-10 team in 15 years with a massive celebration on the Gill Coliseum court. Thursday, it was back to business in the Pac-12 at Washington, and the Huskies brought the Beavers back to Earth.

And two of their in-state brothers, Washington State and Eastern Washington, also scored wins over their Oregon rivals - the Ducks and Portland State Vikings, respectively.

Add in the University of Portland's loss to Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles, and the state went 0-4 in Div. I basketball Thursday, something that hasn't happened in ... a time that some guys from STATS, Inc., would have to look up.

Oregon's four Div. I schools are successful enough these days that having all four lose on the same day is a big unusual, although none of them have stood out during the regular season to a Top 25 level for any length of time. Oregon played close to that level, and then won the Pac-12 Tournament title two years ago, but got seeded lower in the NCAA Tournament than it did last year when it didn't hit the level of play from 2013.

So, what is the state of basketball in Oregon? Currently, it's pretty routine, although that's not a bad thing as none of the four schools is going to play its way into the NCAA Tournament in January. They're each going to focus on winning their conference tournament and getting an automatic berth.

Here's a brief look at the four schools.

Oregon, which has been to the NCAA Tournament the past two seasons, is 14-5 overall, and 2-2 in Pac-12 play having beaten Oregon State in its conference opener, split with the Arizona schools, and lost to Washington State in overtime Thursday. The Ducks got run over by Arizona last week, but have played at a level that makes them at least a consideration to score a significant coup by winning the Pac-12 Tournament when it plays out in Las Vegas beginning March 11 at the MGM Grand Arena. Oregon has never been to the NCAA Tournament three years in a row.

Oregon State is 11-5, 2-2 after its loss at Washington, and has the challenge of beating the rest of the conference with only eight scholarship players in coach Wayne Tinkle's first season. That number got hit, too, on Thursday when it's third-leading scorer, Victor Robbins earned a 10-game suspension for violating a team rule. Ten games, though, still gives him a few games to get back into the system before the tournament, and showing off their win over No. 7 Arizona last week makes a case the team can play with anyone in the conference on its best days. A tournament title would end a 25-year streak of missing out on the Big Dance.

Portland is 11-7, 2-4 in the WCC after a 80-69 loss at LMU, but the Pilots have some energy available in the form of Kevin Bailey, the team's leading scorer who missed most of December and the first week of January with a foot injury. He's returned, but is working to relocate his form. In Thursday's loss, he hit just one of 10 shots from the field, and finished with five points. But, the conference tournament is seven weeks away, and that's when the team needs to hit on all cylinders - starting March 7 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

And, Portland State is 8-7, 2-3 in the Big Sky Conference after a 92-85 loss at home to the Eagles. The Vikings are the longest-shot to win their conference title, as their roster is thin in the paint, and the team hasn't won back-to-back games against Div. I schools since November. The BSC Tournament begins March 12 at the regular-season champions home gym. PSU needs to finish in the top eight of the 12-team standings in order to qualify to the tournament.

 

 

 

 

 

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