Game #9-167: Portland Bible at Portland PilotsDecember 14, 2012 10:30 pm
We see them on our favorite team's schedule, usually as exhibition games in the weeks before the games actually count, occasionally during the non-conference schedule itself. Some of us don't really like playing those games: "Another non-D1? Boring!" Sometimes we don't like these games because the Division I team isn't very good and a Black Line Upset could be a definite possibility (Western Oregon and pre-D1 Seattle have done it to the Pilots in exhibition games). Some of us go not to see a competitive game, but to see how different lineups will look , or how the bench players fare in a game situation. One reaction you don't see is, "Wow, Concordia/Evergreen/Lewis and Clark/[your local Non-D1], that's one I have to see!"
Friday night the Portland Bible College Wildcats were the latest school from below the Black Line to play the Pilots. I heard some Portland fans weren't happy about playing this game against a school not in the NCAA, or even the NAIA, but the National Christian Collegiate Athletics Association. I didn't even know this school existed and I think I have a good idea of the colleges in the Portland area. It may not have been the ideal opponent, and I would prefer to play D1 teams during the season, but if you read this site you know scheduling is hard below the Red Line. Finding an opponent you want to play who's also available on the date you want to play is not as easy as it looks. The Pilots must have had an open spot left on their schedule and PBC must have been willing to take the game. For them it would be a chance to test themselves against an NCAA D1 school in a D1 arena.
I could try to write a summary of this game and talk in depth about how certain Pilots looked good, and what they still need to work on. (Kevin Bailey scored 22, Riley Barker came off the bench for a double-double, turnovers were a little high at 16). The truth is, though, it's already been recapped here plenty of times the past two seasons. Portland was too big and athletic for PBC to handle inside. One result was a large amount of omgdunx, more than I think I saw out of the Pilots all of last season. The Wildcats did the best thing they could, taking outside shots and getting a few superhoops to fall. They didn't shoot it nearly well enough, however, and the Pilots cruised to a 95-66 win to break a three-game losing streak, all to above the Line opponents (Washington State, UNLV, and Kentucky).
Teams below the Black Line might be quickly forgotten by fans of the D1 teams that often beat them, but they have seasons, conferences, rivalries, and national championships of their own. When they play each other the game can be as exciting as a game above the Black Line, sometimes even more so. The night after watching the Pilots and Wildcats I was able to see a good example of this. Concordia, the Pilots' first exhibition opponent this season traveled from its campus in Northeast Portland to Bart Valentine Court at CC Perry Gymnasium at Warner Pacific College in Southeast Portland for a crosstown rivalry game. The CU Cavaliers and WPC Knights are both members of the NAIA D2 Cascade Collegiate Conference, and both have quality programs of their own. CU played four exhibitions against D1 schools in the Northwest, all on the road, and all but one blowout losses (they did only lose 93-96 to Portland State). Since their actual season started they went 3-5 heading into the WPC game with a very young team. Warner Pacific was 8-3 going into the game, good enough for a #14
national ranking. As basketball conferences go the CCC is actually a pretty good one, with multiple teams ranked last season and 2012 NAIA national champion Oregon Tech as a member.
at PORTLAND 95, PORTLAND BIBLE 66
I first went to a Knights game last season when the Pilots weren't in town and was immediately drawn in by the gym. It's small, with the stands a couple yards from the sideline. The ceiling is low and holds the noise from the crowd, which is often enthusiastic and loud. The die-hards know the game and get along like family. And you get all this plus good basketball for $5 (check out the seat you can get if you show up early!). As a bonus, during the conference season the women play before the men so you get two games for the price of one.
Warner may have been the big favorite based on record but as so often happens in rivalry games that went out the window. When the Knights started hitting superhoops and forcing turnovers with a high pressure defense it seemed like the game would be out of hand early. CU got back within 5 but Warner held a solid 34-27 halftime lead.
In the second half, though, the Cavaliers began hitting their shots and the Knights went cold. Willy Ligon hit four superhoops to erase the lead and when he hit one to put CU up by one, then two free throws for a technical foul on a WPC player immediately after that shot, Concordia had all the momentum with 10 minutes to go. Warner regrouped and after a period of trading baskets began to string together defensive stops to pull away in the last five minutes for a 69-59 win. It may have seemed convincing on the scoreboard but the Knights showed a great deal of poise in the win to build the lead back to where they had it. Watching their bench I give credit to Jared Valentine, WPC's second-year coach. He doesn't get flustered and stays calm while the rest of his bench might show their displeasure with an official's call or a bad possession. He played for and coached with his father Bart (you may have noticed his name on the wall) and seems to have learned well.
In the time I've been watching the small colleges in Portland it hasn't taken long for me to see they can produce very good games when they play each other. If you're looking for a game to see when your local mid-major is on the road see if your local small college is in town. When you look at small colleges as more than exhibition opponents to forget about until next fall you might stumble on a well-kept secret and another team to follow.
PORTLAND 4-6 (0-0) -- K. Bailey 8-9 4-4 22; D. Carr 3-9 0-1 8; T. van der Mars 5-8 2-2 12; R. Barker 5-7 0-0 10; B. Pressley 1-3 0-0 2; D. Rodgers 2-4 0-0 4; J. Ehlers 0-4 1-2 1; K. Thieleke 1-2 0-0 2; R. Nicholas 4-5 0-0 9; O. Reinfelds 2-5 0-0 4; T. Riley 7-11 0-0 18; J. Bailey 1-2 1-2 3. Totals 39-69 8-11 95.
Three-point goals: - , PORT 9-22 (T. Riley 4-8; R. Nicholas 1-1; K. Bailey 2-3; D. Carr 2-5; J. Ehlers 0-1; B. Pressley 0-1; O. Reinfelds 0-3); Rebounds: , PORT 46 (R. Barker 10); Assists: , PORT 25 (D. Rodgers 5); Total Fouls -- , PORT 13; Fouled Out: -; PORT-None.