Fire alarms, scuffules mark 'emotional' crosstown rivalry mens game

by: COURTESY OF STEVE GIBBONS - Thomas van der Mars, University of Portland center, had a big game Saturday night as the Pilots won at Portland State.The crosstown rivalry game between University of Portland and Portland State began with the fire alarm going off and ended with two near-brawls.

By the end of the wild night, Portland had walked out of Stott Center with a 92-76 win before an announced crowd of 1,119.

The victory marks the third consecutive win in the series by the Pilots, following four straight wins by the Vikings.

UP (5-3) hit 29 of 60 from the field (.483) and 5 of 15 from beyond the arc (.333). Guard Kevin Bailey scored 23 points, 16 in the first half. UP also got a monster second half from center Thomas van der Mars, who scored 17 of his 19 points after the break and pulled in 18 rebounds, nine offensive, nine defensive.

Portland State (4-2) was 25 of 60 from the field (.417) and 10 of 18 from 3-point range (.556). Vikings guard Tim Douglas led all scorers with 27 points.

“I was feeling it tonight,” Douglas said. “Shots were going in, so I kept shooting.”

Douglas got help from Gary Winston, who scored 13 points, and Aaron Moore, who added 12.

Just before tip-off, the fire alarm at began blaring and the lights began flashing. The game was not postponed. For the first 2 1/2 minutes the alarm continued to sound as the strobe lights flashed through the arena.

Portland coach Eric Reveno laughed at the bizarre beginning to the game.

“One time it turned off on their free throws and I thought it was done and then it turned back on when their free throws were done,” Reveno said. “I thought ‘If someone was sitting there toggling it back and forth, I’m going to have a problem with it.’ But they said play-on, play-on.”

The end of the game was just as bizarre.

The game was paused for more than five minutes at the 3:49 mark as the referees tried to sort out a shoving match between the teams that took place at the Pilots' end of the floor after a timeout. The near-fight brought Portland and Portland State coaches off the bench to break it up.

After an excessive amount of deliberation, the referees finally issued a flagrant foul on Portland's Korey Thieleke.

Then, with 9.3 seconds remaining, there was another shoving match at the Pilots' end. Once again, UP and PSU coaches had to sprint onto the floor to separate the players.

The result was four technical fouls — one each on Portland’s Alec Wintering, Portland State’s Moore and Winston and the PSU bench.

“It was two teams competing,” Portland State coach Tyler Geving said. “Both teams want to win. There were a lot of emotions in it. It is what it is. Both teams need to get under control in the end. I told my guys, ‘Play hard when you’re down, don’t wait until the last 30 seconds and then start chirping.’

"Both coaches probably could’ve done a better job getting their kids under control. It’s a lot of emotions, though.”

Said Reveno: “I don’t know what happened on both of the plays. The referees did a nice job of not overreacting to anything. I tell our guys to let cooler heads prevail and don’t get baited into anything. That’s the byproduct of two teams really competing. It happens.”

In the first half, after the fire alarm finally stopped, the action went back and forth with five lead changes. Neither team was able to pull away. The Pilots' largest lead was seven points, and the Vikings largest lead was six.

The stat lines throughout the half were nearly identical. Portland was 15 of 29 from the field and 3 of 9 from beyond the arc. Portland State was 14 of 28 from the field and 5 of 7 from 3-point range. But Portland was able to capitalize on Portland State mistakes, scoring 15 points off nine turnovers.

“That’s almost two a clip,” Geving said. “There’s no recipe for getting that solved. It was just turnover, layup, turnover, layup."

The Pilots finished the half on an 8-0 run. With time running out in the half, UP got the ball and appeared destined for an easy fast-break layup. Inexplicably, Reveno called a timeout with three seconds remaining. It turned out to be a good thing for the Pilots, though. Bobby Sharp banked in a 3-pointer from the right side as time expired, and UP went to halftime leading 47-40.

“I called timeout in the last three seconds, and I shouldn’t have,” Reveno said. “We had a layup. But we ended up with a 3. It was a lucky break. It’s one of those things that, like a tennis player, you’re supposed to apologize for the let. It was just lucky, but those things matter. Going in with seven and a little bit of mojo, it made a difference.”

The Pilots extended their lead to 16 early in the second half, when van der Mars began finding his touch offensively.

“I had some troubles in the first half getting into my rhythm,” van der Mars said. “Luckily, my teammates found me in the second half and got me into my rhythm.”

The Vikings were able to chip away at the lead and got to within 64-62. Portland pulled away in the final minutes, though.

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