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  • 27 Nov 2014

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MEN'S COLLEGE HOOPS: Small adjustment makes big difference for Portland State

by: COURTESY OF LARRY LAWSON - DaShaun Wiggins' 21 points helped Portland State rally for a Big Sky victory at home Monday night against Eastern Washington.For one half, the Portland State men’s basketball team appeared overmatched Monday night against Eastern Washington.

The Eagles looked like they couldn't miss, shooting .696 from the field to take a 40-30 halftime lead.

In the second half, the Vikings went small, putting five guards on the court for a long stretch.

That group turned the game into a track meet, and the Viks pulled away for a 92-83 home win at Stott Center.

Defense was the difference, Portland State guard Tim Douglas said.

“They shot 70 percent in the first half, which is unacceptable," he added. "You’ll never win a game like that."

After the break, "we locked in on defense,” Douglas added.

Trailing 42-34 early in the second half, Portland State coach Tyler Geving decided to put five guards on the floor. Over the next 12 minutes, the Vikings outscored the Eagles 34-18.

Portland State tied the game 44-44 with 14:35 left on Gary Winston's 3-pointer from the corner.

With 10:57 remaining, Douglas hit a 3 that gave PSU the lead for good.

“I’ve really been slumping lately, but I never lost my confidence,” said Douglas, who finished with 17 points and four assists. “I knew the shots had to fall at some point. Tonight was one of those nights.”

The Eagles spent the final two minutes putting the Vikings on the line. But Portland State hit its free throws and raised its Big Sky record to 4-4, good for a fifth-place tie.

EWU fell to 3-5 in the conference.

After allowing the Eagles (8-11 overall) to put up their gaudy shooting number in the first half, the Vikings held them to .361 in the second half for .492 after 40 minutes.

“I told the team at halftime that if we could hold them under 40 percent, which we did, that would be the difference,” Geving said.

The Vikings, who shot .393 in the first half, made .655 from the field the rest of the way. They wound up 30 of 57 (.526).

Junior guard Andre Winston Jr., scored 23 points to lead PSU scorers.

“It got started on the defensive end,” Winston said. “I was flying around with my teammates and trying to make stuff happen and just get a couple of steals, get on a break. My teammates were pushing it and found me in the open spots. I was running the lane.”

DaShaun Wiggins had 21 points and five assists off the PSU bench, and Gary Winston and Kyle Richardson each added 12 points.

Ognjen Miljkovic of Eastern Washington scored a game-high 32 points. Tyler Harvey had 18.

The Eagles built a 12-point lead with 6:55 remaining in the first half. PSU got within 33-30 with less than two minutes to go, but the Eagles scored the final seven points of the half to take a 40-30 lead to intermission.

The Eagles did much of their first-half damage from beyond the arc, going 6 of 10 from 3-point range behind Miljkovic, who connected on 3 of 4 3-pointers on his way to 17 first-half points and Harvey, who also connected on 3 of 4 3-point attempts on his way to 11 first-half points.

“They were hitting shots,” Geving said. “And they can do that. They’re explosive offensively. Luckily, we just weathered the storm.”