In a game that came down to free throws, Eastern Washington didn’t make the most of its few chances Saturday night.
The Eagles missed two chances to take a four-point lead in the final seconds of regulation. Portland State capitalized with a 3-pointer that kept the Vikings alive en route to a 78-76 overtime basketball win at Reese Court.
The Vikings’ Charles Odum scored the last of his team-high 20 points on a short jumper with 2 seconds left in overtime to win the game. Eastern had forced a 76-all tie on a 3-pointer by Collin Chiverton with 31 seconds left.
“It’s tough, because the only thing that could hurt us (at the end of regulation) was a 3,” EWU coach Jim Hayford said. “But at least we guarded it close well enough to foul them.”
The loss – Eastern’s third straight – came despite a huge night for reserve forward Tremayne Johnson, who scored a career-high 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
“It felt good, because Coach has been on me, staying in my ear and telling me to work harder,” said Johnson, whose previous high this year was 14 points.
“Tremayne had a breakout game,” Hayford said, “And that’s something we can build on.”
Johnson was almost the difference in the game. He put the Eagles ahead 63-60 on a short jumper with 24 seconds left in regulation and drew a foul, but missed the free throw.
Chiverton led all scorers with 22, and made the first of two free throws to put Eastern ahead 64-61 with 16 seconds left.
But he missed the second, and Portland State’s Lateef McMullan broke free and pulled up for a 3-point shot. The shot was good with 9 seconds left, and EWU guard Cliff Colimon picked up his fifth personal foul on the play. McMullan missed the free throw, forcing overtime.
Parker Kelly gave Eastern a quick lead in the overtime with a 3-point shot. Cliff Ederaine’s slam and Chiverton’s two foul shots gave Eastern a tie at 71 with 1:39 left. A steal, layup and foul made it 74-71, PSU with 56 seconds left.
Johnson’s two free throws with 44 seconds left cut the deficit to one, but McMullan made two free throws at the other end to push the lead to three.
Both teams shot poorly from long range: Eastern made 6 of 25 3-pointers and Portland State hit just 3 of 13.
Portland State went to the line 43 times and made 29. Eastern went to the line 24 times, making 14.
“Obviously, we’re fouling way too much, sending the other team to the line way too much, but I liked our rebound efforts,” Hayford said.
Eastern won the rebounding battle 40-38 thanks to a season-high 13 boards for Laron Griffin.
The second half began raggedly – reserve Jordan Hickert picked up his fourth foul after barely 6 minutes. Chiverton put the Eagles up 37-32, but Portland State answered with six straight to lead 38-37 with 13:10 left. Johnson stole and scored to go up 39-38.
Portland State led 16-9 early and later 19-15, but EWU rallied and took its first lead of the game at 20-19 on a free throw by Chiverton.
The loss drops the Eagles to 3-4 in the Big Sky Conference and 9-11 overall, while PSU improves to 4-3 and 10-9. The Eagles are tied for fifth place with Idaho State and Northern Colorado.
The top six teams will qualify for the Big Sky tournament.
The Eagles’ homestand continues Thursday against Montana and two days later against Montana State. Both games will tip off at 6 p.m.