PORTLAND – Chehales Tapscott had 20 points and 14 rebounds as Portland State beat Eastern Washington 69-64 Saturday to clinch the No. 3 seed and a first-round home game in the Big Sky Conference men’s basketball tournament.
Charles Odum had 14 points for the Vikings (15-13, 9-6). Renado Parker came off the bench to add 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Cliff Colimon had 19 points for Eastern Washington (13-16, 7-8) while Laron Griffin and Tremayne Johnson each added 11. The Eagles can secure the No. 4 seed and a first-round home game in the conference tournament with a win against Idaho State (7-8) on Tuesday.
“I’m very proud with how hard we battled,” said Eastern head coach Jim Hayford. “We came back to make it a close game and had a chance to force overtime. With as poorly as we shot, it’s just staggering that we were still in the game at the end. It shows a lot of heart from our players, and I want to congratulate them on that.”
Regardless of Tuesday’s outcome, and because of tie-breaker scenarios, the Eagles will face Idaho State in the tournament’s first round. Win Tuesday and the Eagles are the No. 4 seed and host the Bengals; lose Tuesday and EWU is fifth-seeded and heads for Pocatello.
“The bottom line was that a home game was going to be determined Tuesday anyway,” said Eastern’s first-year head coach. “We missed an opportunity for third, but there is another opportunity waiting there for us. To host a home playoff game for the first time in six years since Rodney Stuckey played is something for our young program to really build on.”
Eastern had 18 offensive rebounds and seven less turnovers than the Vikings, but the Eagles couldn’t overcome its 32 percent shooting from the field. The Eagles made only 5 of 22 shots from the 3-point arc and were just 15 of 26 from the free-throw line.
“We are a better 3-point shooting team than that, but we missed a lot of shots inside the paint too,” said Hayford.
The Eagles led in the second half 39-37, but a 14-2 PSU run gave the Vikings a 51-41 with 10:40 left in the game. Eastern trailed by three with less than 20 seconds left, but former Gonzaga Prep star Parker Kelly passed up a potential tying 3-pointer and passed to Johnson, whose miss inside the paint sealed the victory for the Vikings.