ON COLLEGE HOOPS/BY PAUL DANZER/PORTLAND TRIBUNE/Vikings get a hard-earned victory/Multnomah gets a first/Warner Pacific has a shot at second place

The Portland Pilots continue to be competitive as the West Coast Conference men's basketball season hits the home stretch. But the learning curve for the young Pilots delivered two doses of disappointment last week in the form of two-point losses at San Francisco and Pacific.

At USF, the Pilots had the final shot and went for the win, but D'Marques Tyson's 3-pointer bounced off the rim. Two days later, three Tyson triples in crunch time had Portland up three in the final minute at Pacific. But late mistakes — fouling a 3-point shooter, then a turnover — proved costly as Miles Reynolds scored the final five points to give the Damon Stoudamire-coached Tigers the win.

Terry Porter's Pilots are eighth in the WCC at 4-10 (10-17 overall). They play their next three at Chiles Center, playing host to Santa Clara on Thursday, then welcoming Saint Mary's on Saturday (both at 7 p.m.). Saint Mary's is tied atop the conference with Gonzaga, which on Saturday avenged a home loss to the Gaels with a 78-65 win at Morgana, California. Jefferson High grad Silas Melson had eight points and two steals for the Zags.CANDA

• Bryce Canda swished a 3-pointer with 18.9 seconds remaining on Saturday to give the Portland State men a hard-earned, 80-77 win at Montana State. The Vikings (15-10, 5-7 Big Sky) trailed by 10 with 12 minutes remaining, made a 22-6 run to charge into the lead, then rallied again late for the win. Ryan Edwards made a hook shot to tie the game before a Derek Brown steal set up Canda's go-ahead basket.

Canda, a Grant High grad, has struggled to shoot consistently in conference play (in part because injuries, illness and absences have made Canda a focal point of opposing defenses). In the win at Montana State, the senior had a team-high 18 points. Senior Brandon Hollins was critical to the win with 16 points, 14 rebounds and three of PSU's 10 steals.

Portland State plays four of its six remaining Big Sky games at home (Lewis & Clark), beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday against Weber State (17-7, 10-2) and 1 p.m. Saturday versus Idaho State (11-12, 6-6).

• The Multnomah men's basketball team beat an NAIA Division II ranked opponent for the first time on Saturday, rallying past No. 21 Eastern Oregon, 86-74.

Ben Grandle made five 3-pointers en route to a game-high 26 points for the Lions in the upset. Darius Redrick had 18 points and seven assists, and Brett Blackstock had 13 points and 13 rebounds.

At 4-14 in Cascade Collegiate Conference games, Multnomah (7-20 overall) enters the final week of the regular season needing to sweep games at Evergreen (also 4-14) and Northwest (6-12) to have any chance of sneaking into the No. 8 spot in the conference playoffs.

• At the top of the CCC standings, College of Idaho clinched the regular-season title with a 64-55 win on Saturday at Warner Pacific. The Yotes, ranked No. 4 in NAIA D-II, used a 19-6 surge midway through the second half to turn the game their way.

Despite that loss, the Knights (19-8, 13-5 CCC) enter the final weekend of regular-season play tied for second in the conference with Southern Oregon. If WPC takes care of business in games at Northwest and Evergreen State, it likely will finish second as Southern Oregon travels to Eastern Oregon and College of Idaho this week.

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