BEAVERS FEND OFF COUGARS
Portland State pulled out a key, rare road win, riding guard Gary Winston's career-high 26 points to an 86-79 victory at Southern Utah, which is winless in the Big Sky.
San Diego edged the visiting Portland Pilots 61-59 in a battle of teams of teams fighting for playoff position in the middle of the West Coast Conference standings.
Oregon State won at home over Washington State 68-57 and improved to 6-7 (seventh) in the Pac-12.
Gary Winston scored 21 of his career-high 26 points in the second half, as both Portland State and Southern Utah turned up the offense in a game at Cedar City, Utah, that the Vikings didn't secure until during the final minute.
PSU beat the Thunderbirds, still looking for their first Big Sky win of the season, 86-79, by outscoring them 11-3 over the final 1:02.
Brandon Cataldo's tip-in gave the Viks a 77-76 lead. After a steal by guard Tim Douglas, Winston canned a jumper that pushed the advantage to 79-76 with 50 seconds to go. Then Cataldo was fouled after a defensive rebound and sank two free throws for an 81-76 edge with 34 seconds left.
PSU led 29-26 at the half, then won the second half 57-53.
Southern Utah shot 52.1 percent from the field, while PSU hit 47.3 percent.
The Viks held their own in the paint, with the Thunderbirds outscoring them inside 38-34, and PSU had a 15-5 lead in points off turnovers, making only six to SU's 13.
Both teams made 27 free throws in the foul-plagued game, with PSU shooting 90 percent (30 attempts) and the T-Birds sinking 75 percent (36 attempts).
Guard DaShaun Wiggins, coming back from an ankle injury, added 19 points for Portland State, and Andre Winston Jr., scored 13.
The road win was only the second of the season for the Vikings, who are 12-12 overall.
Portland State still is on the outside looking in at a potential Big Sky playoff berth. The Vikings are tied for ninth with Idaho State at 7-8, and the top seven regular-season finishers advance to the conference tournament.
But eighth-place Eastern Washington is 7-7, and five teams are tied for third at 8-7 Montana, Montana State, Sacramento State, North Dakota and Northern Arizona.
Southern Utah fell to 0-15 in the Big Sky and 1-23 for the season.
Portland State's next game will be 6 p.m. Monday at Eastern Washington.
Pilots lose down stretch
The University of Portland recovered from an early 10-point deficit but couldn't catch the Toreros in the final minute at San Diego, losing 61-59.
David Carr's basket with 20 seconds left brought the Pilots to within two points. After San Diego's Dennis Kramer made one of two free throws, UP's Ryan Nicholas missed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds. Kramer went to the line again and missed both foul shots, giving Portland a chance with 3.2 seconds to go.
San Diego intentionally fouled UP guard Bobby Sharp before he could attempt a shot. Sharp made his first free throw and then intentionally missed his second, but the Toreros rebounded as time ran out.
Sharp, a junior, scored 16 points to UP, helping fill the void left by injured Kevin Bailey, who missed his third game in a row with a calf injury.
Junior center Thomas van der Mars had 18 points and seven rebounds for the Pilots, and sophomore guard Bryce Pressley had 11 points, six rebounds and five assists.
UP dropped to 15-12 overall, while USD improved to 15-14.
In the WCC, the Pilots are sixth with a 7-8 record, and San Diego is seventh at 6-10.
Portland's four-game road stretch continues with a 6 p.m. Saturday game at BYU (11-5, second in the WCC, and 19-10 overall).
Beavers hold off Cougars
Oregon State led most of the way and defeated Washington State 68-57 at Gill Coliseum.
For the Beavers, Angus Brandt had 16 points, Devon Coller 14 and Roberto Nelson 12, with seven assists.
It was OSU's first season sweep of the Cougars since 2006.
Oregon State won the scoring battle in the paint 32-16.
Washington State trailed only 30-26 at the half, after OSU shot 38.5 percent from the field.
WSU fell to 2-12, a half-game ahead of Utah, which is last at 1-12.
Oregon State returns to the floor at 1 p.m. Saturday for a home game against Washington.