Portland 79, Loyola Marymount 39: Sikma scores career-high 19 points, grabs 11 rebounds as Pilots roll without Raivio
By Jim Beseda, The Oregonian
The University of Portland men's basketball team is hurting without injured senior guard and leading scorer Nik Raivio in the lineup.
The Pilots had little trouble Thursday against Loyola Marymount, breezing to a 79-39 West Coast Conference victory at the Chiles Center in their first game without Raivio, but don't be fooled by the score.
Everybody in the Pilots' locker room wants to see their senior playmaker back in uniform, and the sooner, the better.
Luke Sikma scored a career-high 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Jared Stohl, who started in place of Raivio, added 14 points, with all of his scoring after the Pilots (11-7, 2-2 WCC) had opened a 33-21 halftime lead.
"It's just a great confidence builder," Sikma said. "To hold a team to 39 points is pretty good. I don't know if it was at times the prettiest thing, but we still just scrapped and battled, and I think that says a lot about our team."
And how was it playing without Raivio?
"Nik's really the heart and soul of our team, just his competitiveness and how he likes to get after it," Sikma said. "We knew we had to really pick that up. I think it was just a given among all of us.
"We missed him, obviously, and look forward to getting him back, but our main focus was just getting after it on the defensive end."
There is no telling how long the Pilots will be without Raivio, who strained his right Achilles' tendon near the end of Tuesday's practice and missed only his second game in three seasons on The Bluff.
Judging by the walking boot on Raivio's right foot and the crutches by his side Thursday, he's probably not going to play in Saturday's home game against Pepperdine, either.
“It’s just a wait-and-see situation,” Pilots coach Eric Reveno said. “I can’t speculate on how quick he’ll be back. The nature of the strain is such that it’s pretty straightforward. Everyone heals a little differently.
“He’s wearing the boot more as a precaution to keep it immobilized and to get it to heal. Our trainer’s doing a great job with treatments, and anybody who knows Nik knows he’s focused like a bulldog, attacking that rehab and doing whatever it takes.”
But what if Raivio's injury forces him to miss next week's games at San Francisco and Santa Clara to close out the first half of conference play? And what impact will that have on the Pilots' WCC title hopes?
"On good basketball teams, there are always guys sitting there that can contribute," Reveno said. "We have guys that are waiting for their opportunity, but ... we need Nik back. We're better with Nik than without Nik, but we're a team and these guys are prepared for this.
"So, we don't talk much about losing a guy. We just talk about the team and everyone stepping up."
Sikma helped pick up the slack offensively against LMU, making 7 of 11 shots from the field en route to his third double-double of the season and seventh of his career.
Sikma also made 5 of 6 free throws, including two with 12:08 remaining in the second half to cap a 25-10 run that gave the Pilots a 58-31 lead and officially turned the game into a rout.
The Lions (11-7, 1-3) welcomed Drew Viney back to the lineup after a two-game absence with a leg injury, but the Lions played without Jarred DuBois, one of their top three-point threats, who was scratched after a bout with dehydration.
Viney, the former Oregon Duck, appeared a bit rusty early, as did the rest of the Lions, who made only two of their first 10 shots and had nine turnovers in the 12 minutes as the Pilots raced to a 20-9 lead.
The Pilots' defense deserved most of the credit as the Lions shot 25 percent (6 of 24) from the field in the first half and 21.2 percent (11 of 52) for the game -- a season low by a Portland opponent. The Lions' 39 points also eclipsed their previous season low of 63 in a loss to Montana.
"We knew that LMU was a very dangerous offensive team and capable of scoring a bunch of points," Reveno said. "We challenged the guys to have a great defensive effort and I think we did that."
-- Jim Beseda
Run 'Em Aground Pilots!
Great game Pilots...sorry the Lions didn't give you a better game. Must have gotten boring watching us building a house of bricks.
- Number of posts : 61
Registration date : 2008-01-17
The talents there,it just seemed like you really missed your big man. But with the offensive talent of Vinney, Young I think you guys could run and shoot( if your threes fall) with anybody in our conference. The Lions do own wins on the road this year against two good teams USC (They are really excellent, when their players are eligible ) and the always overated Notre Dame Fighting Irish BB team. I digress, thanks for posting Ironlions and good luck with the rest of the WCC. Max seemed to do whatever he could, but he just couldn't solve the poor shooting. I think he does a great job getting the Lions to run a play with a couple of kids like Young and Vinney who think they have to shoot everytime they touch the ball. Kuddo's to Max Good I hope he picks up some more good wins this season.They need a steady but @yO@e$ man at the helm in LA.
- Number of posts : 1104
Registration date : 2007-04-28
Wow, it sounds like a combination of us playing great and them playing horribly and short-handed in this one. I'll take 85% from the line anytime. I don't think that last years' team could have done this well. Rev definitely has the team in the groove again.
- Number of posts : 2203
Age : 45
Location : Seattle, WA
Registration date : 2008-10-05
- Number of posts : 944
Location : Under the St. Johns Bridge
Registration date : 2009-03-11
How sweet is it that we get video highlights of every home game?!
Run 'Em Aground Pilots!
And here are many high quality photos of the game:
Run 'Em Aground Pilots!
Does that pic come in 3D?
- Number of posts : 3576
Location : Boston, MA
Registration date : 2007-05-01
Nope, just a little Photoshop blurring. Pretty sweet shot, though!
- Pilot Nation Regular
- Number of posts : 489
Location : Check behind the basket or in the drum squad. I probably have a cowbell.
Registration date : 2007-11-18
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