Good news! Sounds like next week’s game against Cal-Poly will be played back at the Stott. Vikings are 20-18 overall against the Pioneers. Hopefully, they will never be close to .500 again in this match-up.
Starting Lineups:
PSU: Morrison JR Moore, Mara, Huff, Murray, Dominguez
L&C: Joey Toboni, Gene Rivera, David Berggren, Josh Kollasch, Thomas Tillery
Morrison will sit this one out due to a lingering back problem. It sounds like he’ll be back for the Washington State game, and that there’s still a chance we’ll see Tiefenthaler and Hammond. According to Coach Bone, this is probably the last time he’ll get a chance for two days off in a row. Murray gets the start over Lucas. Hopefully this leads to the bench energy I mentioned in the preview.

First Half
JR Moore started off the game by drawing a foul on Kollasch and hitting a pair of free throws. Tillery got by Dominguez early to draw a foul. Huff missed two early three balls, making him 5-23 on the year. Luckily for the Vikings, the Pioneers also started shooting very cold, missing their first 7. First Timeout: 5-0 Vikings After the break, the Pioneers subbed their entire lineup. They put in Waagmeester, Papenfuss, Robinowitz, Thierry, Allen. Papenfuss scored the first two for the Pioneers inside, and after a Mara 3 for the Viks, Robinowitz answered. Just as I had guessed, 7 minutes into the game Dominguez got collared with his second foul. Off the inbound, Papenfuss muscled inside again for another L & C basket. After the Pioneers had closed to one, the Vikings pulled off a run of their own. Second Timeout: 14-7 Vikings Andre Murray started the game 4-5 after hitting back-to-back jumpers. The Pioneers ran an offense which played their point guard Tillery posting up, and though he had a height advantage, it didn’t work well early. Ahead of a Berggren jumper that made it 18-9, Dupree Lucas missed another jumper causing a quick sub. Even in this game, things aren’t looking up for him. Hopefully he’ll soon find a way out of the funk he’s in now. Third Timeout 20-11 Vikings The decidedly pro-Pioneer crowd was unhappy with the referees multiple times in the first half, and for a good reason. Instead of allowing the game to come to him, Lucas continued to force offense (0-5), and with poor results. To start the game, he and Huff shot a combined 1-10. The Pioneers were losing big early, but not because of the skill difference. Instead, it was a result of many turnovers, and taking bad shots. The only reason it was as close as it was was 2-15 3 point shooting by the Vikings. Late in the half, the Pioneers went on a run. Berggren hit a three ball, Papenfuss put in another inside bucket, and Berggren converted an inside shot. Fourth Timeout 26-18 Vikings Unfortunately for the Pioneers, Berggren is a 33% free throw shooter.

Halftime 32-20 Vikings
The Pioneers kept this one close by playing good defense against a talented Viking team. Unfortunately, they were unable to keep up with Andre Murray, who had 12 first half points. The Vikings should be happy the spread was as large as it was with one of their starters out with an injury, and two others went 2-12 from the field.
L & C: 29% first half shooting

Second Half
Murray starts the second half with a strong board to get him 1 away from his first double-double at PSU. For some reason, he was yanked right away in favor of Lucas. Tillery then drove the ball down the lane and met his high school teammate JR Moore who drew a charge. Lucas finally hit his first field goal, but promptly missed another. First Timeout 36-21 Vikings The next segment of the game was characterized by terrible shooting and 4 fouls on Nick Thierry. Deonte Huff continued his great free throw shooting, and Papenfuss cut the lead to 13 with 2 more inside buckets. Second Timeout 42-29 Vikings Papenfuss continued his strong play, and the Pioneers slowly continued their assault on the lead. Third Timeout 48-36 Vikings At 50-39, the Pioneers had a chance to cut the lead to single digits, but they threw away their first chance. However, on their second opportunity, Mark Robinowitz hit a 3 ball to cut the lead to 8. The Pioneers made 3 out of their first 5 from the outside in the second half. JR Moore answered with a layup, but Papenfuss came right back with one of his own. Moore did okay, but appeared overworked due to his limited practice time. Andre Murray came down with an ankle injury with around 4 minutes to go. After the injury, 56% free throw shooter Gene Rivera hit two big ones to cut the lead to 6 before Papenfuss drew his fourth foul. It didn’t cost them, as 86% free throw shooter Tyrell Mara clanked both of them. Huff got an offensive board and put it back in, but fouled out right afterwards. Brian Curtis came in for Huff seeing rare late minutes. Ditto for Julius Thomas who played well inside, albeit against lesser foes. Final Timeout 56-48 Vikings JT hit another big layup coming off the timeout to run his tally to 9, but Tillery came back down for the Pioneers, converting an and-one which cut the lead back down to 7. He then hit a pair of throws to cut the lead to 5. If the run had started earlier, they probably could have won the game. Rivera also played well cutting the lead to 3 with 30 seconds to go. The Pioneers put Brian Curtis on the line, who converted 1 of 2 with 23 seconds left. Tillery converted another and-one to cut the lead to one with 15 seconds left. The Pioneers stole the ball from JD, and had a good look to win the game. Fortunately for the Viks, they couldn’t convert.
Final 61-60 Vikings

David Berggren who’s averaged in double figures the last two years, is only averaging 8 this year, and had a tough game tonight. On the bright side, Tyson Papenfuss was very good, scoring in double digits for the Pioneers. Robinowitz also scored 10 in the second half. I’m not sure this game would have been close if Morrison had played, but the team was clearly fundamentally sound. Thomas Tillery really turned it on late, scoring 8 points in the last 4 minutes.

For the Vikings, Andre Murray was very good. He had 14 in the contest, and also rebounded well. Dupree Lucas continued his horrendous senior season shooting 1 for 11. The Vikings shot only 6-12 from the charity stripe, and their best shooter fouled out with 4 minutes to go. Julius Thomas played great late minutes, contributing 11 points. None of the starters outside of Murray really played a good game. Outside of the terrible shooting from their stars, Dominguez and Mara could not duplicate their early season form.

Realistically, this result is unacceptable. The game should never have been that close. In the Stott Center, with Morrison, this game wouldn’t have been close. Dupree Lucas needs to contribute for the Vikings to win. Losing Murray late made this game very dangerous.