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RiverCity Rivalry

December 2, 2002 Columns No Comments

RiverCity Rivalry

by Jed Tai

Portland State University and the University of Portland might share the name of the Rose City in their titles, but that’s about all they share in common.

Portland State is a public school, filled with local commuter students, and is located in the heart of downtown. Portland is a private, Catholic institution, with students from all over the world, and its plush campus is located in the hills of the upper northwest side of town.

Basketball-wise, they’re different as well. Portland competes in the WCC, while Portland State is in the Big Sky Conference. The two teams also differ in style. The Pilots play an up-tempo brand of basketball and shoot lots of threes. The Vikings prefer a more halfcourt, defensive-oriented approach, and like to pound the ball inside to their big guys.

Put all those differences together and it’s no surprise you have a strong rivalry between the two schools.

Dubbed the RiverCity Rivalry, the Portland-Portland State basketball games are actually a part of an multi-sport series between the two schools. The two institutions compete in 13 sports, including men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball, tennis, and golf. Points are awarded to each team for a victory, and a season-ending trophy will be presented to the winner of the rivalry.

Coming into the game, Portland led this year’s rivalry, six points to two, thanks to some big performances by their cross country teams. The Pilots hoped to add to their tally with a basketball win at home, looking to build on a big victory over San Diego State three nights earlier.

Both teams started off tight in front of a crowd of 1,334 at Portland’s Chiles Center. It would take almost two minutes until Pilots center Ghislain Sema broke the ice with a basket inside. Portland came out trying to force tempo, but was not quite able to get things going, despite the hot hand of Casey Frandsen, who scored 12 points at the half. Instead, the game was played at a pace more to the liking of PSU. After falling behind as many nine points, the Vikings fought back and tied the score at 25 with 3:33 left in the period after Jeb Ivey converted a tough drive in the lane over two defenders. The half would end with a Pilot advantage at 30-28.

In the second half both teams tussled for the first seven minutes of the game. Portland began taking control. Consecutive three-point plays by Frandsen gave the Pilots a 46-40 at the 12:35 mark. PSU fought back behind Troy Devries and cut the lead to three at 48-45 with 11:22 remaining. But that’s as close as the Vikings got. Portland went off on a 9-2 run, capped off by freshman Donald Wilson’s baseline jam with 6:48 left, giving the Pilots a 10 point lead. The Vikings got no closer than six the rest of the way, and a long 25-foot bomb by Pilots point guard Adam Quick sealed the Vikings fate, providing the final margin of twelve as Portland won 66-54.

“It was the type of game we expected,” said Portland head coach Michael Holton. “It was intense and had a rivalry feel to it. I thought they outplayed us in the first half and played harder than we did. But after our halftime conversation I thought we got some offensive rhythm which is what we’ve been trying to do. We realized we had to settle down, execute, and play better defense.”

Frandsen led the way for Portland with a season-high 23 points. Frandsen’s backcourt partner in crime, Adam Quick, finished with eight points and eight assists without a single turnover. The Pilots also got a big game out of starting center Ghislain Sema, who chipped in with 12 points in the paint.

“He’s really our low post presence on both sides of the floor,” said Holton. “When he’s in there and we get a chance to throw it to him, we all feel pretty good something positive is going to happen.”

Portland State placed four players in double figures, with junior forward Seth Scott and sophomore guard Troy Devries leading the way with 13 points each. Senior guard Jeb Ivey also put in a gutsy effort, scoring 12 points, grabbing six rebounds, and dishing out eight assists while playing all 40 minutes.

But in general, it was a frustrating night for the Vikings, who committed 21 turnovers and shot 39.5 percent from the field.

“We had a hard time scoring,” said Portland State head coach Heath Schroyer. “We never really established an inside game like we wanted to. We were just out of sync offensively all night.”

“But I give (Portland) all the credit. They played a really good game.”

Portland improves to 3-0 and will now face their toughest stretch of the pre-conference season, playing against Oregon, Oregon State, and UCLA in consecutive games. Portland State falls to 1-2, but will get somewhat of a breather with two home games against non-Division I opponents in Cascade and Linfield in two of their next three contests.

Calling All Portland Basketball Fans

Sick and tired of the shenanigans of the Trail Blazers? Want to watch basketball played at a high level where the players actually care and go all-out on every possession?

If you missed Part One of the RiverCity Rivalry between Portland and Portland State, you’ll have a second chance. The two teams will square off again on Dec. 23, this time at the Stott Center, home of the Vikings.

“I think (the rivalry) is good for the city of Portland,” said Holton. “I think both teams play hard and it’s entertaining.”

“At this point I think it’s a shame that more people aren’t seeing it.”

All Hooped Out

The Portland/Portland State game finished off a hoops-filled holiday for yours truly. In-between that game and the Portland/San Diego State tilt on Wednesday evening, I had the opportunity to also catch a girls’ youth basketball tournament in the Portland suburbs. If you haven’t had an opportunity to catch this sort of action, I would recommend checking it out.


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