Portland, OR – Gabe Taylor hit a three-pointer with 2.2 seconds remaining to give the Portland Pilots a hard-fought 85-82 victory over a scrappy South Dakota squad in the first game of the Dam City Classic tonight. South Dakota’s Tyler Flack’s three-point attempt to tie the game at the buzzer rolled off the rim as Portland escaped with the win. 6-0 point guard Alec Wintering led the winners with 24 points and eight assists. Taylor notched a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds. 5-10 Jazz Johnson added 21 points and six assists for the winners. 6-3 Matt Mooney led six players in double-figures for South Dakota with 15 points.
Portland led by 12 points with seven minutes remaining before South Dakota made a strong comeback. 6-5 freshman Brandon Armstrong led the surge for the Coyotes scoring ten points late including two three-pointers. South Dakota tied the game at 80 on a three-pointer by Mooney with 1:13 left. Wintering hit a jumper, then Mooney tied the game again at 82 with 25 seconds left before Taylor converted on his game-winning three-pointer.
Wintering, who ranked 18th nationally in scoring (22.3 ppg) going into the game, can score from all three levels. He’s small, but tough enough to score some on drives or pull-up jumpers after penetration. He’s shooting well from long distance (39%) but spent much of this game scoring off penetration and drawing contact (7-of-10 FT’s). At times he got himself into trouble on penetration and had seven turnovers. He’ll continue to score at a high level in WCC play. The 6-8 Taylor, a junior, showed a versatile inside-out game and was solid on the boards. His shooting percentages were somewhat low coming into the game but has averaged 13.0 points and 6.8 rebounds thus far this year. Wintering and Johnson are the No.3 scoring backcourt in the nation and will help the Pilots make some noise in the WCC. While they are below St. Mary’s, BYU and Gonzaga in talent they should compete well against the other WCC schools and put themselves in the mix for one of the second-level post-season tournaments.
South Dakota played hard and impressed with their comeback. They will compete in the Summit League. 6-7 senior Tyler Flack (13.9 ppg, 7.7 rpg) looks like the best of their roster. Flack, a “4”, playing out of position as a “5” didn’t shoot particularly well in the game (6-of-17, 0-of-4 on 3’s) but has a nice looking shot and will have some strong games going forward. He was tough on the boards tonight, pulling down 10 rebounds, including six off the offensive glass.
The Dam City Classic continues with (3-7) Oregon State facing (2-10) Long Beach State in the nightcap. Long Beach State has played one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation with losses to Wichita State, North Carolina, Louisville, UCLA, Washington, Kansas, New Mexico State and Texas.
This article was written by Carl Berman, Managing Partner of NetScouts Basketball. You can subscribe to our RSS feed from the upper right corner of our home page, follow us on Facebook, or on twitter.
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