Portland State will try to end December on a positive note and create some momentum heading into the Big Sky Conference schedule when it opens on Saturday.
The Vikings host Cal State Fullerton on Tuesday night in its final non-conference game at the Stott Center. In that game, the 3-7 Vikings hope to stop a five-game losing streak and winless month of December. Meanwhile, the Titans of the Big West Conference have a very respectable 6-5 mark, but bring a four-game losing streak into the contest as well.
PSU is 2-2 in home game this season with losses in their last two at Stott. The last time Portland State has lost as many as five in a row in the same season was an eight-game losing streak during the 2012-13 season.
Cal State Fullerton has had a slightly odd run to its preseason. The Titans won six straight games between Nov. 17 and Dec. 4, but have lost four straight since then. CSUF is 3-4 in road games this season.
Portland State and Cal State Fullerton have one common opponent, the University of Portland. The Vikings lost to the PIlots 78-72, while the Titans lost to the Pilots, 65-60. CSUF also has one win over a Big Sky Conference school, Southern Utah, 80-66.
Tuesday’s game is a 7:05 p.m. tip. Live video, audio and stats can be found at GoViks.com by clicking on the Game Day box.
Big Sky Conference play begins on Jan. 2 when the Vikings host Sacramento State at the Stott Center. After that, the Vikings will play five of their next seven games during the month of January on the road. The Big Sky Conference schedule includes 18 games leading into the Big Sky Tournament, Mar. 8-12 in Reno, NV.
GAME NOTES: PORTLAND STATE vs. CAL STATE FULLERTON
• ALL-TIME SERIES: Cal State Fullerton leads the all-time series 5-3. The series is tied 2-2 during Portland State’s Big Sky era. CSUF is 4-0 against the Vikings at home… the most recent meeting was a 92-86 win by the Titans at home in 2011… the last three meetings have been decided by a combined 10 points.
• COACHES: Vikings Coach Tyler Geving (87-105, 7th season) is 1-1 all-time against CSU Bakersfield. Titans Head Coach Dedrique Taylor (26-47, 3rd season) is facing Portland State for the first time. Taylor was an assistant coach for the Vikings for three seasons (2002-05) under Heath Schroyer.
• VIKINGS VS. THE BIG WEST: Portland State is 25-34 all-time against current members of the Big West Conference. Head Coach Tyler Geving holds a 6-3 record against the Big West (1-1 vs. CSUN, 1-0 vs. UCD, 1-0 vs. Cal Poly, 2-1 vs. UCR, 1-1 vs. CSUF).
CAL STATE FULLERTON TITANS
• Cal State Fullerton was 9-22 last season, 1-15 and ninth in the Big West Conference.
• The Titans are 6-5 this season, including 3-4 on the road. They have lost their last four games in a row.
• Cal State Fullerton makes 7.8 three-point field goals per game, shooting at a .372 clip. Otherwise, team shooting has been mediocre at .417 from the field and .663 at the free throw line.
• Guard Tre’ Coggins averages 15.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. He has made 34 three-pointers and shoots .405 from distance.
• Guard Malcolm Brooks averages 13.5 points per game. Guard Kahlil Ahmad averages 12.3 points. Both shoot over 42% from three-point range.
• Forward Jamar Akoh (6.1) leads the team in rebounding.
WHO IS HOT?
• JR G Calaen Robinson is 10-17 from three-point range in his last two games (.588). He ranks seventh in the Big Sky in three-point percentage (.439).
• SO F Isaiah Pineiro is shooting .564 from the field to lead the Vikings and rank seventh in the Big Sky Conference.
• GR G Donivine Stewart has only five turnovers in 183 minutes of play this season. His assist-to-turnover ratio is 22/5.
WHO IS NOT?
• Portland State is shooting .632 from the free throw line this season. The Vikings have shot .605 at the line during their five-game losing streak.
• The Vikings have lost five in a row.
• PSU’s top returning scorer from last season, JR F Braxton Tucker has missed the entire season while recovering from a knee injury.
HANDLE IT!: Turnovers have been a concern for Coach Tyler Geving this year. The Vikings are averaging 14.5 turnovers per game. Last season, that number was only 11.1 per game. The high turnover total is one reason Geving inserted GR G Donivine Stewart into the starting lineup at point guard the last two games. Stewart has only five turnovers this season.
A DIFFERENT LOOK: Head Coach Tyler Geving started his sixth different lineup in 10 games last week at CSU Bakersfield. The only constant has been SR C Collin Spickerman who has started all 10 games. Eight different players have started games and those players average between 17 and 27 minutes per game… last season the Vikings had 10 different starting lineups in 29 games with 10 different players earning starts.
MR. ROBINSON’S NEIGHBORHOOD: JR G Calaen Robinson has alternated between playing the point and shooting guard this season as Coach Tyler Geving looks for the right fit. He has excelled at the shooting guard role the last two games, making 10-17 three-point field goals.