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Viking Watch

Men’s basketball

After a road split last weekend, Portland State still has a shot at a Big Sky tournament berth, and the outcome is almost entirely in the Vikings’ hands.

“We’re making it interesting, that’s for sure,” coach Tyler Geving says

PSU concludes the regular season with two home games this week — 7 p.m. Thursday against Weber State and 7 p.m. Saturday versus idaho State.

The top seven teams advance to the conference tourney, and PSU began the week tied for seventh at 9-9 with Eastern Washington and Sacramento State. Sixth-place Montana State was 9-8 going into a Monday night game at Montana.

Northern Colorado and Northern Arizona were tied for fourth at 10-8 through last week.

“At this point of the season, when everybody knows everybody and has seen what everybody else likes to do, it comes down to who’s going to play harder and who’s going to make plays,” Geving says.

Last week, the Viks lost 83-73 at North Dakota, then rallied in the second half for a 77-68 victory at Northern Colorado.

Among the weekend highlights for PSU: junior guard Gary Winston had a career-high seven assists and a team-best 22 points at Northern Colorado; senior forward Kyle Richardson had 19 points and career highs of 14 rebounds and five blocks at North Dakota, and junior guard Andre Winston Jr., led with 20 points at UND.

The Vikings lost to Weber State by 17 and to Idaho State by nine in early January, but since then Richardson and Gary Winston have come on for PSU.

“So now we have two guys who are going to give us a lot more,” Geving says.

Women’s basketball

The Viks are 7-20 overall and 5-13 in the Big Sky going into their final weekend. Portland State will play at Weber State (6 p.m. PT Thursday) and at Idaho State (1 p.m. Saturday).

Last season, the Vikings finished 12-17, 6-14.

PSU snapped a five-game losing streak on Saturday, beating Northern Colorado 57-51 at Stott Center. Senior guard Kate Lanz got her third double-double of the season — the first by a Viking since Jan. 9. She grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds, including two crucial ones in the final 30 seconds, and had 13 points.

Freshman point guard Delanie Parry’s jump shot put the Viks ahead for good, 50-48, with 31 seconds left, and sophomore guard Emily Easom sank three of four free throws in the closing seconds.

Softball

The Vikings were able to play only two of five scheduled games last weekend, as rain caused major problems at the Cal State Northridge tournament.

After two idle weeks, PSU split, beating Rutgers 2-0, then losing 5-3 to the host Matadors, both on Sunday.

Senior Crysta Conn’s two-run homer in the fourth inning backed sophomore pitcher Karyn Wright, who earned her first win of the season with her first career shutout, scattering five hits.

PSU has five games on tap at the Stanford Louisville Slugger Classic Friday through Sunday.

Track and field

Sophomore Sheldon Prince, from Aloha High, and freshman Gifton Okoronkwo gave PSU its first pair of Big Sky champions in the same season at the conference indoor met last week at Pocatello, Idaho.

Prince won the 400 in a school-record 47.86 seconds.

Okoronkwo captured the triple jump with a personal-best leap of 48 feet, 5 1/4 inches.

Prince also took fifth in the 200 (22.09), sophomore Michael Kubisiak placed third in the 60 (6.88), and senior Nevin Lewis tied for fifth in the high jump.

The PSU women finished sixth, and the men were eighth.

Jazmin Ratcliff, a junior from Benson High, was second in the 60 hurdles (school-record 8.35 in the prelims), nabbed third in the 60 (7.50, tying her PR) and ran seventh in the 200.