Portland State came down to Eugene for an interstate "rivalry" game last Monday that isn't much of a rivalry. I was originally going to write about how nobody wanted to be here except my buddy who turned 21 that day.
Then this happened. Tuesday afternoon, my fan in my bathroom caught on fire after I took a shower. Thankfully, I was home at the time, and despite my negligence in not cleaning it -- I was getting dressed to come back downstairs to do so as the smoke detector went off -- I was able to immediately call 9-1-1 and put it out before the entirety of my house was consumed. In fact, the only belongings I lost were in my bathroom. Yeah, every item I own is barbecue-scented, but it was all a big scare.
As I was decompressing from that rather harrowing experience -- I had to go by the flames twice to get out of the house, so I was more than a little stressed -- I got to thinking. Mostly about how every item I own is barbecue-scented, but also about how I was utterly incapable of writing my #TMM8 essay, given the time constraints I had and how the time I was going to use to write it was instead spent doing 14 consecutive hours of laundry.
As I sit in an arena populated by 18 people who aren't paid to be here, watching two mid-majors go at it in some inconsequential tournament, I'm going to explain why I just told you about my house fire.
Turn the fire into a basketball game. Oregon's the homeowner. The Ducks, courtesy of Nike's Phil Knight, "own" the most opulent arena in college basketball. It's nothing at all like McArthur Court, which was the second-oldest arena in college basketball when Oregon abandoned it.
And Monday night, Portland State caught fire.
The Vikings had led throughout most of the first half of the game, but the Ducks took the game over with six minutes left in the first half and had a stranglehold on the game as the second half progressed. Portland State trailed by 14 points with fewer than seven minutes left, and all seemed lost, including my time. After all, I could have been down in the student section.
Somehow, Portland State, led by the resurgent and misspelled Chehales Tapscott, clawed back, first with an 8-0 run and then an improbable series of buckets, getting to within three with a minute left. Tapscott, who picked up two fouls on awful calls in the first 10 minutes of the game, came back in the second half to score 14 of his 16 points, single-handedly willing his team back into the game.
But try as they may, the Vikings were unable to burn down Matthew Knight Arena and cross the red line. Instead, Minnesota transfer Devoe Joseph put the fire out with six free throws in the final minute, stretching the Ducks' lead to nine, where the game finished.
Oregon's house was still intact -- it just reeked with the barbecue smell of a bad performance.
at OREGON 79, PORTLAND STATE 70 12/12/2011
PORTLAND STATE 5-4 (0-0) -- D. Williams 10-18 2-2 22; M. Harthun 4-10 0-0 10; C. Odum 4-13 4-4 12; L. McMullan 5-9 2-2 14; N. Lozeau 1-2 2-2 4; C. Tapscott 4-8 8-10 16; R. Parker 4-5 1-2 9; G. Winston 2-8 0-0 5; M. Harvey 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-56 17-20 70. OREGON 6-2 (0-0) -- D. Joseph 3-6 6-6 13; E. Singler 7-12 4-4 19; G. Sim 5-9 0-0 13; J. Loyd 0-3 0-0 0; O. Ashaolu 2-6 3-6 7; T. Woods 3-8 1-3 7; C. Emory 2-5 4-4 9; J. Jacob 4-8 0-0 8; T. Nared 1-1 0-0 3; B. Kingma 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-59 18-23 79.
Three-point goals: POST 5-19 (M. Harthun 2-4; L. McMullan 2-4; C. Odum 0-3; C. Tapscott 0-1; M. Harvey 0-1; G. Winston 1-6), ORE 7-20 (D. Joseph 1-4; G. Sim 3-6; E. Singler 1-5; J. Loyd 0-1; T. Nared 1-1; C. Emory 1-2; B. Kingma 0-1); Rebounds: POST 26 (N. Lozeau 5), ORE 33 (E. Singler 7); Assists: POST 8 (C. Odum 5), ORE 18 (D. Joseph 6); Total Fouls -- POST 21, ORE 16; Fouled Out: POST-N. Lozeau; ORE-None.