Gonzaga impressed by Jeter, Pilots effort
Making the rounds of the state's Division I teams, trying to determine the contenders and pretenders from the dead-enders. Here's what we know:
Portland (8-10, 2-3 WCC)
Gonzaga coach Mark Few paid the Pilots a big compliment after his team's 80-65 win: 'The best thing you can say is they played hard for him,' meaning coach Michael Holton. É The Pilots led 54-53 with 10:21 left. 'We've got to find a way to not run out of gas,' Holton says. 'We didn't have any energy and snap late in the game.' É Gonzaga's Blake Stepp marvels at UP point guard Eugene Jeter, who had 18 points, his average. 'You almost think he can't get shots off, because he's a little smaller than everybody else,' Stepp says. É Freshman Dreshawn Vance has blocked 14 shots and made 17 of 25 shots in the past seven games. É Pilots are shooting 40.3 percent from 3-point range, but, although improved, they're still minus-6 in rebounding margin. É Strength of schedule: 46th, which means the Pilots make the NCAA Tournament Ñ if they, say, win their next 11 or 12 games in a row. É Next up: at Santa Clara on Thursday, at San Diego on Saturday.
Portland State (8-10, 2-3 Big Sky)
First 7:20 of second half against Eastern Washington: Five shots taken, 0-2 on free throws, eight turnovers and eight fouls. A lead slipped away, and Eastern won 71-63. É As scorers do, Blake Walker went cold, making 3 of 14 shots for nine points, eight below his average. Backcourt mate Will Funn had no shots, one point, two assists, three turnovers and four fouls. 'We're out of sync without Will on the floor,' coach Heath Schroyer says. É The Vikings had six players with four fouls each, including Seth Scott, who played well with 12 points against Eastern. But Scott averages one foul every five minutes, even worse than Nguye Kaladokubo. É Bright spot: Marshal Hartman hit two of three 3-pointers, after entering Game 7 of 31 on 3's. The Vikings desperately need a consistent outside threat, but he hasn't shot well enough for PSU to count on him. 'He's playing well in practice,' Schroyer says. 'But he was in a slump.' É Next up: Weber State on Thursday, Idaho State on Saturday, both in the Stott Center.
Oregon State (8-9, 2-5 Pac-10)
Coach Jay John purses his lips when talking about referees after an 83-79 loss at ASU. 'I'll get in trouble' by criticizing refs, he tells the Corvallis Gazette-Times. He thought the officials protected Ike Diogu too much. At one point, David Lucas picked up a technical for slamming the ball after a foul call. É Lucas scored 27 points, after not reaching double figures against Arizona. É Pattern from the UA and ASU losses: outrebounded 39-28 by Arizona, 34-27 by ASU; made 9 of 29 3-pointers vs. UA, 4 of 16 vs. ASU. É Portlander Chris Stephens has scored 15 or more points in 12 of the past 14 games, including tying his career-high with 23 against UW. É In six Pac-10 games, not counting the slow-down WSU game, the Beavers have given up an average of 90.5 points. The worst: allowing 109 points and 63 percent shooting to Arizona. É Nick DeWitz, an Iowa transfer, joined the team and will be eligible Dec. 11. É Lucas leads in scoring (16.2) and rebounding (6.1), while Stephens averages 15.5 points. É Says point guard Lamar Hurd, in the G-T: 'We've got a lot of young guys and I don't know if you can really measure success by wins and losses. With the fight that these guys showed, I can't really ask more of my teammates. It feels really good.' É Next up: Stanford on Thursday and Cal on Saturday at home.
Oregon (9-5, 4-3 Pac-10)
Oregon has 11 games left before the Pac-10 tournament. Do the Ducks need to go 9-2, 10-1 or 11-0 the rest of the way to make the NCAAs? Or do they need to win the Pac-10 tourney? É The Ducks trailed Arizona 52-27 at halftime, before losing 90-66. They had 13 turnovers, while the Wildcats had just one in the first half. 'They had the best first half that I have seen in a long time from them,' UO coach Ernie Kent told reporters afterward. Defensively, the Wildcats held down Luke Jackson with Andre Iguodala and James Davis with Portlanders Chris Rodgers and Salim Stoudamire. Davis and Andre Joseph went scoreless in the first half; Jackson finished with 20 points. É Iguodala tells the Arizona Daily Star: 'Oregon looked a little ragged and distracted. But I still respect them.' É Oregon gets its rematch Feb. 19 at McArthur Court. É Davis, playing more point guard with Aaron Brooks injured, went into the game shooting 51.2 percent from 3-point land, but went 1 of 7. É UA outrebounded UO 42-30. É Jackson's stats: 22.3 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists, shooting .510 (.449 3-point). É Next up: Cal on Thursday and unbeaten Stanford on Saturday at Mac Court.