PORTLAND, Ore. – In a game that featured 10 lead changes and nine ties, it was Portland State that made the plays down the stretch to post a 72-70 Big Sky Conference victory over Montana State on Saturday afternoon in Viking Pavilion.
Trailing 65-63 with 2:39 seconds remaining, Montana State (5-5, 2-2) had possession. Portland State’s (4-4, 3-3) Nakia Boston intercepted the pass on the in-bounds and converted an uncontested layup to the give the Vikings a four-point advantage.
It proved to give PSU just enough wiggle room to hold the lead in the waning moments. The Vikings connected on five-of-six from the line in the final 13 seconds to secure the victory.
“We had a hard time getting stops,” MSU coach Tricia Binford said. “I’m happy we scored 70 points, but we can’t afford to give up 72. I think consistency is our biggest weakness right now. If you want to go from good to great you have to repeatedly do the things it takes to win.”
The Vikings outscored MSU 15-2 in fast-break points.
MSU had another balanced attack as Tori Martell posted a team-high 20 points, including a six-of-eight effort from 3-point range. Gabby Mocchi and Lexi Deden did the job down low notching 18 and 15 points. Both were career-highs.
“Gabby’s been our most consistent post player,” Binford said. “And we got Lexi to slow down and square-up and she had a nice weekend.”
Desirae Hansen led the Vikings with 20 points.
Montana State will host Northern Arizona at 7:05 p.m. Thursday in Worthington Arena.