PSU Vikings

Portland State names Valerie Cleary as new Director of Athletics

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Portland State names Valerie Cleary as new Director of Athletics

Portland State University President Wim Wiewel has named Valerie Cleary the new Director of Athletics for the Vikings program. Cleary returns to Portland State after spending the past two years as AD at Willamette University in Salem.

Cleary replaces Mark Rountree, who is moving on to a role as Deputy Athletics Director of Georgia Tech.

"As our former associate athletics director who served as interim director before Mark was hired, Valerie Cleary has a keen understanding that academics and community engagement are a central part of the values of Portland State University athletics," said President Wiewel. "She also has deep experience and knowledge not only of athletics and athletes but of Oregon and the Northwest. We are thrilled that Valerie is returning to our campus as PSU's new athletics director."  

Previously, Cleary was the senior associate athletics director and senior woman administrator at Portland State. She served in that capacity from September 2013 until she was named PSU's interim athletics director in the fall of 2014 as PSU was completing an AD search that led to Rountree's hiring. Cleary was named AD at Willamette in the spring of 2015.

"I am excited and humbled by the opportunity to return to Portland State," Cleary said. "I feel fortunate to return to a campus and department where I learned so much and developed lifelong friendships. Most importantly, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to build upon the work of Mark Rountree and the fantastic staff in supporting exceptional Viking student-athletes."

Cleary takes over leadership of a Viking program that has won 28 conference team championships and made 18 NCAA post-season appearances since 2003. She will step into the development process of the Viking Pavilion, the academic and athletic center that will soon house the department upon its completion in approximately 14 months.

Cleary already has a working knowledge of the Viking program and most of its staff from her previous stint on the Park Blocks. During her tenure as interim AD in late 2014, she gave Bruce Barnum his initial one-year contract to be Head Football Coach and established other personnel changes.

Cleary has a significant range of experience. In addition to her time at Portland State and Willamette, she did admissions work at Pacific University, and director of student-athlete enhancement programs at Boise State University.

Cleary earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2000 from California State University, Chico, with a major in social science and an emphasis in sociology, multicultural and gender studies. In 2003, she received a Master of Science degree from California State University, Long Beach in counseling with a focus on student development in higher education.

While working at Boise State from 2002 through 2008, Cleary held several positions.

She was an educational specialist helping with BSU's Educational Talent Search for one year, then worked for three years as the coordinator of the TRIO Dissemination Partnership. She became the academic advisor and BroncoLIFE coordinator for the Athletics Department in 2006. Cleary was named the director of student-athlete enhancement programs in 2008.

At Pacific, she was the assistant director of undergraduate admissions from September of 2010 through October of 2012. She was promoted to associate director of undergraduate admissions in October of 2012.

Cleary is scheduled to begin at Portland State on January 1. Rountree will be leaving PSU on Dec. 16. Deputy AD Matt Billings will serve as interim athletics director during the two-week span.

PSU walk-on Mitchell Thompson proves it's not the size of the dog in the fight, earns scholarship

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PSU Vikings

PSU walk-on Mitchell Thompson proves it's not the size of the dog in the fight, earns scholarship

Portland State football's 2016 schedule includes the usual number of 11 opponents. But there is one hidden opponent the Vikings don't see on that schedule and they will come up against every week of the season: Expectations.

The excitement of a break-through 2015 season for PSU lingered through the off-season in the Portland area. Now the Vikings must back up that performance. 

That process went into action on Tuesday as the Vikings opened their 2016 camp. Second-year Head Coach Bruce Barnum led the team through two hours of drills during a misty morning session.

Portland State finished 9-3 overall, reaching the NCAA playoffs, and compiling its best record ever in 20 seasons of Division I football. Now the Vikings must avoid the rebound effect that sometimes occurs when a team in any sport exceeds expectations in a given season. Fortunately, the Viking football program has just the answer for handling the inflated expectations for 2016, a head coach with a calm, steady hand to guide the way.

Barnum, the Big Sky Conference and FCS National Coach of the Year in 2015, led the Vikings to a handful of landmark wins over Washington State, North Texas, Montana, Montana State and Eastern Washington. Now he must find a way for his program to live up to the lofty expectations of 2016.

"The game has changed for this team," Barnum said. "All of a sudden Portland State football has become relevant and now they must live up to it. This is why we do it. It sure is a lot more fun.

"Our expectations are for our kids to be great. They know that and we prepare them for it. And that's not just football. That is from going to class to community service to how they act and represent their school and their team. That is how we reach our expectations as a football program."

Running back Mitch Thompson walked on to Portland State from Oregon City High School in 2013. Thompson, a diminutive 5-7, 170 pounds, spent a year on scout team, played in one game in 2014, then earned time at special teams and running back in 2015. He had a total of nine tackles on special teams and rushed a total of nine times for 92 yards. His 68-yard breakaway touchdown run in a 66-7 win at North Texas was a highlight in a Viking season filled with highlights. As a result of his growing contributions, Head Coach Bruce Barnum surprised Thompson by presenting him with a scholarship on Sunday night in the team's first meeting of the season. The presentation brought a raucous celebration from Thompson's teammates.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

 

PSU football player Kyle Smith passes away, second Viking this offseason

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PSU football player Kyle Smith passes away, second Viking this offseason

Portland State Athletics is deeply saddened to announce the passing of student-athlete Kyle Smith on Wednesday evening. Smith, a senior-to-be offensive lineman on the Viking football team, died in his apartment near the PSU campus. 

Kyle is a native of Elmira, OR. He was a first-team All-State performer as an offensive and defensive lineman at Elmira High School. After taking a redshirt season at Portland State in 2012, Kyle started 36 straight games Portland State, playing the vital position of left tackle. He was a second team All-Big Sky Conference selection in 2015.

"I feel we have the most united, close-knit football team in America, and we just lost a major piece of that team in Kyle. Right now we have two concerns, Kyle's family and our football players," said Viking Head Coach Bruce Barnum. "The program is being tested but we will come out of this on top."

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Kyle Smith," said Director of Athletics Mark Rountree. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.  I would ask the Viking family to support our student-athletes and coaches with love and caring during this difficult time. We must all must show resolve to cope with this tragedy as best we can."

Tragically, Kyle is the second Viking football player to pass away this off-season. PSU lost linebacker AJ Schlatter on Jan. 17 due to complications following surgery.

The thoughts and prayers of everyone in the Portland State program are with the Smith family. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Vikings take top-seeded Weber State to the brink, but lose 78-74

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Vikings take top-seeded Weber State to the brink, but lose 78-74

The Weber State Big Sky Tournament jinx lives on for Portland State, but not for lack of effort by the Vikings. Portland State took top-seeded Weber State to the brink in a tournament quarterfinal game before finally succumbing, 78-74. 

The eighth-seeded Vikings put on a masterful second-half defensive effort, holding the Wildcats to 32 points and coming back from a double-digit deficit. PSU forced 20 Weber State turnovers, 13 of which came in the second half. The Vikings made nine of their 11 steals after halftime, scoring 16 points off turnovers, 19 for the game.

But in the end, a big defensive play by McKay Cannon saved the game for Weber State. 

Portland State led most of the final eight minutes, but never by more than three points. Back-to-back baskets by De'Sean Parsons with just over two minutes to play had PSU ahead 74-72. 

The Wildcats took the lead back over the course of the next minute with a free throw from Joel Bolomboy and a driving layin from Jeremy Senglin.  

With 29 seconds left, the Vikings had the ball and trailed 75-74. Cameron Forte, who had a game-high 25 points, went to work inside but Cannon came from behind on a double-team and stripped the ball away with 18 seconds left. 

WSU's Ryan Richardson made two free throws with 10.8 seconds to play and Weber State led, 77-74.

The Wildcats quickly fouled Donivine Stewart but he was unable to make a free throw. Weber State rebounded, tacked on one more free throw, and was able to avoid the upset. 

The Wildcats, 24-8, now advance to a Big Sky Tournament semifinal. PSU, 13-18, saw its four-game winning streak and its season end.

The Vikings' loss continued a trend in the Big Sky Tournament that Portland State would like to forget. PSU has had success in the tournament in past years, winning 10 games and a pair of Big Sky Championships, but not when they have faced Weber State. With Thursday's loss, the Vikings are 0-6 all-time against the Wildcats in the Tournament. PSU is 10-5 against all other teams. 

The Wildcats got big first-half contributions from a pair of complementary players. Richardson and Cannon combined to hit six three-point field goals in the first half. At one point Cannon scored eight straight and the Wildcats had pushed their lead to 37-22. 

Forte, battling foul trouble the entire game, provided the offensive punch the Vikings needed to get back in the game. The Viking forward scored 15 points in 14 minutes of action but Weber State still took a 46-37 halftime lead. 

The Wildcats made 15-26 shots in the first half (.577), while the Vikings were 15-31 (.484). The difference came from behind the arc. First-team All-Big Sky Conference guard Jeremy Senglin, along with Richardson and Cannon, combined to hit eight three-pointers in the half. The Vikings made only 2-4 three-point tries.

When Forte went to the bench with four fouls at the 12:17 mark of the second half the Vikings trailed 60-52 and things looked bleak for PSU. But the team responded with an 11-0 run, taking the lead at 63-60 with 7:52 to play. PSU had three steals in the rally as Parsons, Calaen Robinson and Zach Gengler led the charge.

From there the teams traded baskets, setting up the thrilling conclusion to the game.

"I am really proud of our guys. I thought today we really competed," said Viking Coach Tyler Geving. "We played extremely hard today. Weber State got us in the first half a little, hitting some shots … defensively we were much better in the second half. That is what March is all about. That game could have gone either way." 

Portland State shot 32-64 for the game (.500), but only 3-11 from three-point range (.273) and 7-16 at the line (.438). The Wildcats finished at 26-45 (.578), hitting 11-23 three-pointers (.478) and 15-21 at the line (.714). 

Despite being outshot, the Vikings stayed in the contest by forcing turnovers, getting 16 fast break points, and outscoring the Wildcats 48-26 in the paint. 

In addition to Forte's 25 points, Parsons scored 18 for the Vikings. Robinson added 13 points with four assists and three steals, and Gengler scored 11.

Richardson led five Wildcats in double-figures with 21 points. Senglin scored 16. Joel Bolomboy, the Big Sky Conference Player of the Year, had 12 points and six rebounds. 

GAME NOTES: Weber State has won eight of its last nine games… Portland State was 9-1 against teams that placed 6th through 12th in the Big Sky Conference this season, they were 0-10 against teams that placed 1st through 5th... the Vikings were 0-3 against Weber State this year.

Forte, Parsons carry Vikings to opening win in Big Sky Tournament

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Forte, Parsons carry Vikings to opening win in Big Sky Tournament

Cameron Forte had another marquee game for Portland State, while De'Sean Parsons provided great support off the bench for the Vikings. That tandem led PSU to a 74-67 win over Northern Colorado in the first round of the Big Sky Conference Tournament at Reno Events Center.

Forte and Parsons combined for 47 points, 18 rebounds, eight assists and five steals for the Vikings. The win was PSU's fourth straight as they improved to 13-17 on the season. The reward is a matchup with Big Sky Conference regular season champion Weber State on Thursday in a tournament quarterfinal.

Forte posted his 12th double-double and 10th 20/10 game of the season for PSU. He made 11-16 from the field, but also provided four assists and two steals in 37 minutes. 

"He's pretty good inside 10 feet," said Viking Coach Tyler Geving. "If we can get him the ball down there, he is pretty efficient."

Forte's early success set the stage for Parsons' big game.

"De'Sean attacked the basket and got to the free throw line," said Geving, noting the impact Parsons made on the game. 

"(Cameron's) play opened up a lot for me, cutting to the basket, getting some layups and weakside stuff," Parsons said, as he scored a career-high 21 points in 30 minutes off the bench. The junior forward hit 5-8 shots from the field and 11-14 at the free throw line. He also had six rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Forte scored 13 of the Vikings' first 15 points of the game, hitting all five of his field goals and all three free throws. The Vikings led 15-11 with 11:25 left in the first half. But nobody else in the Viking lineup could get going offensively. 

"My mentality was to do whatever I could to get our team going," Forte said. "(The Bears) were coming in with some momentum after a big win against Montana (last week)." 

Forte finally get help in the person of Parsons, who came off the bench to score 13 in the first half, including 7-9 at the free throw line. 

PSU got to a double-digit advantage at 32-22 on a Forte layup with just under three minutes left in the half. A pair of late three-pointers by the Bears' Jordan Davis and Spencer Mathis narrowed the margin before intermission.

Forte had 21 points and seven rebounds at halftime. Combined with Parsons they had 34 of the Vikings' 36, staking PSU to a 36-30 lead. 

The rest of the Vikings got going early in the second half and a 14-2 run had PSU up 50-34. But Northern Colorado had a lot of life left. 

Anthony Johnson sparked a 15-2 run that soon had the Bears back in the game. He scored seven in the rally and UNC was within 54-51 with 9:32 to play. 

Parsons then got a layup and a dunk on the Vikings' next two possessions and they had some breathing room. A moment later, Zach Gengler hit back-to-back jumpers - a two-pointer and a three-pointer - and PSU was back to a comfortable 67-56 lead with 5:05 to play. That seemed to be good enough for victory, but it wasn't. 

The Vikings failed to scored over the next 4:08 of the game, committing four turnovers along the way. With PSU holding a precarious 67-64 lead, Gengler calmly sank a pair of free throws with 57 seconds left. The Vikings made 7-8 at line overall in the final minute and secured the 74-67 victory. 

PSU shot .462 from the field, but made only 3-15 from three-point range. The Vikings were 23-31 at the line (.742). 

"The attitude and effort of this team has been great all year, even when we were struggling early on. So it is no surprise to me that we have won some games down the stretch of the season," Geving said. 

Portland State limited Northern Colorado's transition game and the Bears shot only .406 from the field.  

Jordan Wilson had 20 points off the bench to lead UNC. Johnson scored 17 with eight rebounds. The Bears end their season with a 10-21 record. 

Portland State and Northern Colorado were playing in the opening game of the Big Sky Conference Tournament, played for the first time ever at a neutral site. The Vikings were the number-eight seed and the Bears were the number-nine seed in the 12-team tournament.  

GAME NOTES: Gengler was the only other Viking to score in double figures with 12 points… this was Portland State's first neutral site game of the season… the Vikings have a season-best four-game winning streak and have won five of six… PSU was 2-0 against Northern Colorado this season… the Vikings are 0-2 against Weber State this year… the Vikings meet Big Sky regular season champion Weber State on Thursday in a 12:05 p.m. game.

Vikings win third straight, head to Big Sky tourney on a roll

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Vikings win third straight, head to Big Sky tourney on a roll

Portland, OR - Portland State is heading to the Big Sky Conference Tournament exactly the way it would want to go - playing its best basketball of the season. The Vikings wrapped up regular season play with an 88-86 victory over Southern Utah on Saturday night. 

The Vikings will go to the tournament with a 12-17 record, 8-10 in Big Sky Conference play. But more importantly, it travels with three wins in a row and four in its last five games. The Vikings shot .544 from the field against Southern Utah, and has been over 50% in all four of those wins, averaging more than 90 points per game.

PSU will now meet Northern Colorado (10-20, 7-11) in the opening game of the tournament on Tuesday in Reno. The Vikings are the number-eight seed, while the Bears will be the number-nine seed. PSU won its only meeting against UNC, 89-86, one week ago in Greeley.

Saturday's game was another win for the Vikings, but Southern Utah did not make it easy. The Thunderbirds battled back from a 13-point deficit in the first half to tie it at halftime, then a 10-point deficit in the second half, making the last nine minutes of the contest a back-and-forth tussle.

With the game tied at 78 and just under two minutes to play, Isaiah Pineiro made a driving three-point play to give PSU an 81-78 advantage. On the other end 20 seconds later, Pineiro blocked a shot and grabbed the rebound. Those two plays gave PSU enough breathing room to hang on for the win as the Vikings made 7-8 free throws in the closing 1:02 of the game. A three-pointer at the buzzer by the Thunderbirds' John Marshall trimmed the final margin to just two.

Cameron Forte had another marquee game for the Vikings, scoring 25 points on 11-17 from the field and 3-4 at the line. Forte added five rebounds and two blocked shots.

Pineiro, coming off a 31-point effort on Thursday, scored 19 more, hitting 5-8 from the field and 9-10 at the line. 

Zach Gengler was headed for a big game before foul trouble took him off the court. Gengler still finished with 14 points on 5-6 from the field and 3-4 at the line. He had a game-high six rebounds and four assists in 24 minutes. 

Calaen Robinson came off the bench to also score 14 points for the Vikings.

PSU shot 31-57 from the field on the night. Perhaps more significant was a 22-28 (.786) free throw effort for a team shooting just 65% going into the game. The Vikings also took great care of the ball, committing only six turnovers. 

Southern Utah had five players in double figures led by 17 from James McGee. Casey Oliverson scored 16 points. The Thunderbirds also had a good shooting night, hitting 31-61 from the field (.508). 

The Thunderbirds finish the regular season at 5-23, 3-15 and will be the number-12 seed in the Big Sky Conference Tournament.

GAME NOTES: The Vikings were 8-6 at home this season… the three-game winning streak is the longest of the year… PSU has won six in a row over Southern Utah… Portland State will face Northern Colorado in the first round of the Big Sky Conference Basketball Tournament on Tuesday at 12:05 p.m. in Reno, NV. The winner will meet Big Sky regular season champion Weber State on Thursday, also in a 12:05 p.m. game. Live video, audio and stats are available at www.GoViks.com.

Vikings' shooting barrage buries Eagles, 107-91

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Vikings' shooting barrage buries Eagles, 107-91

It is said that turnabout is fair play, and so the Portland State Vikings were within their rights to things up on the Eastern Washington Eagles in Saturday's 107-91 win at the Stott Center.

Less than a month after the Vikings gave up 112 points in a loss to the Eagles in Cheney, PSU came back to hang a C-note on the hottest team in the Big Sky Conference.  

Cameron Forte led a brilliant effort by the Vikings, scoring 32 points and grabbing nine rebounds in the game. Forte hit 14-20 shots from the field. 

Forte's accuracy led a shooting barrage for the Vikings as they finished 44-68 from the field for a season-best .647 percentage. Five Vikings were in double figures with Calaen Robinson coming off the bench for 18 points (6-11 FG), Isaiah Pineiro scoring 15 points (6-8 FG), Donivine Stewart getting 13 (6-8 FG) and Zach Gengler 11 (5-9 FG). 

Portland State's win was an upset as Eastern (16-11, 10-5) had won seven games in a row. The Vikings  (9-16, 5-9) also ended their own four-game losing streak. 

Viking Coach Tyler Geving looked like a mad genius with his game plan, starting one player who had not played in the previous two games, giving big minutes to another who had seen only 18 minutes all season, and sitting two others that had started the previous game. And, defying convention, the Vikings pushed the ball as quickly as they could against the league's highest-scoring team.

"We did a good job of doing what they do; drive at them, spread them out and turn it into a scoring contest," said Geving. "And then we did a good job of getting stops when we had to. The guys did a good shooting the ball." 

Portland State made its first eight shots, jumping to a 17-11 lead through five minutes. The Vikings went on to make 18 of their first 25 shots (72%), and raced to a 37-23 advantage. Forte had 12 points and Gengler had nine during the Vikings' offensive blitz. 

By halftime the numbers were startling as the Vikings had made 24-35 shots (.686) on the way to a 54-34 lead. PSU's frantic defense made eight steals, forcing 11 Eastern turnovers. Stewart had four of the eight steals and five assists, while Gengler also had seven assists by halftime. 

The Vikings got the lead as high as 22 early in the second half, but that just meant Eastern Washington had a lot of time to come back. Point guard Austin McBroom, the Big Sky's leading scorer, led the charge for the Eagles, scoring 27 of his 36 points after intermission. 

Eastern was able to chip away and when Cody Benzel hit a three-pointer at the 7:17 mark the Eagles had pulled within 87-77. But the Vikings stopped the bleeding with a 7-1 run over the next two minutes.  

Little-used Montie Leunen, who had appeared in just six games all season, did a stellar job defensively inside despite being undersized. He played 17 minutes, scoring five points with two rebounds and a steal.

"We decided to go small against (the Eagles), and that's why we didn't play (center Collin) Spickerman," said Geving. "We stuck Leunen in there and he was really good. Calaen was good tonight, Khari (Holloway) - who hasn't played - did a good job defending and moving the ball. It was good to get that kind of production off the bench." 

Making his first start, Holloway also had five points, two rebounds and three steals in the game. 

After a tough couple of weeks, Geving was just thrilled his team responded with a win against such a formidable opponent. "They deserve it. They have had good attitudes and worked hard. Nobody has been hanging their heads." 

Portland State finished with 13 steals in the game and out-rebounded the Eagles 35-27. The 107 points scored were the second-most in PSU's 20-year Big Sky Conference history. 

Eastern Washington shot 50% from the field and 81% at the free throw line but it just wasn't good enough.

GAME NOTES: It was Portland State's third 100-point game of the season, but the first against a Division I opponent since beating Lamar 102-98 on Nov. 20, 2010… PSU is 6-6 at home this season… the Vikings have won 13 of the last 17 over Eastern Washington… Portland State started its 11th different starting lineup in 25 games. Isaiah Pineiro and Cameron Forte stared at forward with Donivine Stewart, Zach Gengler and Khari Holloway starting at guard… PSU lost at Eastern Washington on Jan. 28, 112-83… Portland State goes on the road next week to play at North Dakota and Northern Colorado. Live video, audio and stats are available at www.GoViks.com.

Vikings can't overcome strong shooting by Wildcats

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Vikings can't overcome strong shooting by Wildcats

Weber State came out hot early, but Portland State still took the Wildcats to the wire at Dee Events before losing 87-78.

The Vikings took their third straight loss and fifth in six games, but didn't go down without a fight against one of the best the Big Sky Conference has to offer. WSU improved to 10-2 in the Big Sky and 18-7 overall with the victory. 

Weber State shot the ball extremely well through the first half, but the Vikings hung in. They were within single digits until late in the half when the Wildcats' Ryan Richardson hit three three-pointers staking WSU to a 48-34 halftime lead.

Weber State missed only nine shots in the first half, and hit 9-14 from three-point range. Overall, the Wildcats were 19-28 from the field, a .679 mark. Richardson had 14 points, making 5-5 shots and 4-4 three-pointers. 

The Wildcats' shooting finally cooled off in the second half and PSU stayed in the game by forcing Weber State turnovers. The Vikings were down 71-61 with 6:30 to play, but went on an 8-0 run to cut the deficit to two.  

A jumper by De'Sean Parson with 3:35 remaining in the game had PSU down only 73-71. But the Vikings could not get a stop from there. Weber State scored on its last eight possessions of the game. The Wildcats made 7-8 free throws in the last 1:24 of the game. 

Jeremy Senglin scored a game-high 24 points for Weber State. Joel Bolomboy, the nation's second-leading rebounder, had 19 points and 11 boards. 

The Wildcats finished at .574 from the field, but did not make a three-pointer in the second half, going 0-8. They did take advantage at the free throw line, making 15-19 after intermission. 

Cameron Forte led Portland State with 17 points and seven rebounds. Calaen Robinson scored 15 points and Donivine Stewart had a dozen. 

The Vikings forced 14 Wildcat turnovers, converting them into 17 points. Isaiah Pineiro had four steals in the game and Robinson made three. 

PSU made 31-65 shots from the field (.477) and 10-14 at the free throw line (.714).

PSU signs 16 student-athletes on National Letter of Intent Day

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PSU signs 16 student-athletes on National Letter of Intent Day

The second installment of BarnyBall begins today as the Portland State Football program has signed its National Letter of Intent class for 2016.
     
Head Coach Bruce Barnum and his staff have signed 16 student-athletes, 13 of whom are out of high school and three of whom are transfers.
     
Barnum, who led Portland State to a 9-3 season and top-10 national ranking in his first year in 2015, has signed a talented, athletic and physically impressive group that is defensive heavy.
     
"The priorities for this recruiting class were safeties, defensive ends and linebackers," said Barnum, the 2015 FCS National Coach of the Year. "If we can stop em, we have a chance. Because if you have a really good defense, you can win 2-nothing.
     
"If we had any extra scholarships this year, we knew they were going to the defense."
     
The Vikings signed 10 defensive players and six offensive players in the class of 16. Portland State is scheduled to return 48 letterwinners in 2016. Fifteen starters are back, eight on offense, five on defense and two on special teams.
     
"I was honored, along with this staff, to be given a long-term contract. So now we can build (with freshmen). The foundation is there. We offered 16 guys in the state of Oregon. They didn't all come, but that was where we started, because I knew we wanted high school guys. And we didn't venture very far, because I knew I wanted guys from the northwest. That is our primary area. We did get a few guys from other places, but this is our hunting ground. We didn't get them all, but at some point people will want to come to Portland State."
     
Transfers Taylor Biaggi (S/LB), Chris Hayes (S, Oregon State) and Ryan Wood (DB) will all compete to play right away in the defensive backfield.
     
"Biaggi is a safety-linebacker hybrid. Where are you going to put him?" said Barnum. "He is a nickel-adjuster guy. He's fast, got surprise speed. Both Biaggi and Hayes strike like Peanut (Patrick Onwuasor) for their size. They are smart, savvy football players who I am glad found their home here, because it was a position of need for us in recruiting."
     
Defensive tackle Anthony Del Toro from Grants Pass fills an immediate need in the middle of the line for the Vikings.
     
"Anthony jumped ahead of many because of his body and how he works in the weight room. He has a great first step and wants to be great on the football field," said Barnum
     
Portland State picked up a number of linebackers, but also have a variety of players able to move around to safety or even into a defensive end role.
     
Among other freshman defensive players, Kenton BartlettMason VegaDylan HanleyAvery JonesMontre Brown and Steffen Jacobsen all have great size, versatility and athleticism.
     
Speaking of size, the Vikings added great size up front on offense. Linemen Tommy Laverde (6-5, 285), Korbin Sorensen (6-6, 275) and Moustapha Toure (6-6, 310) will have great futures in the Viking offense.
     
"We have some offensive tackles in this group that I love, and we have filled our needs for the future there," said Barnum. "We needed some guys on the edge of the offensive line. We got tall, long, great feet athletes in these guys."
     
Also poised to make a difference up front are a pair of the biggest tight ends the Vikings have had in a long time. AJ Ruffin (6-5, 250) and Daniel Giannosa (6-8, 250) are freshman that Barnum believes will make a big impact on the program.
     
PSU also signed quarterback Davis Alexander from Gig Harbor, WA. An All-State performer, Alexander has that pass-run combo that Barnum has made so dangerous in the Viking offense in recent seasons.
     
"He is a perfect fit to our offense. Davis has got a big arm. He is accurate, he can throw on the run and move. That is the one position we can't miss on."

THE SIGNING CLASS

Davis Alexander, QB, 5-11, 180, FR, Gig Harbor, WA (Gig Harbor HS)
 
COACH BARNUM SAYS: "He is a perfect fit to our offense. He is not a big, 6-6 pocket passer, but neither are we on offense. Davis has got a big arm. He is accurate, he can throw on the run and move. That is the one position we can't miss on. I need Davis to come in here and compete for a spot. An excellent player."
 
PREVIOUS TO PORTLAND STATE
Lettered in football at Gig Harbor High School... was a two-time Narrows League Most Valuable Player... Tacoma News Tribune first team All-State and All-Area Player of the Year... two-time Tacoma Athletic Commission Athlete of the Year... four-time outstanding scholar-athlete at GHHS.
 
PERSONAL INFORMATION
Son of Matt and Natalie Alexander... born October 20, 1998... has one brother, Dillon... plans ot major in Business... hobbies are leadership, lifting weights, basketball and tennis.

Kenton Bartlett, LB, 6-3, 235, FR, Boise, ID (Centennial HS)
 
COACH BARNUM SAYS: "The defensive player of the year where he came from. Kenton had multiple offers. He has the tools to play right now. He has a mature body, but he is a freshman and we will see how he fits in the program. Kenton really filled a need we had on defense. We found the best one in the state of Idaho."
 
PREVIOUS TO PORTLAND STATE
A four-year letterwinner in football at Centennial High School… was named the Southern Idaho Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a senior… first team All-State... second team All-Conference as a tight end… team MVP on defense… made 93 tackles, 25 tackles for loss, nine sacks and scored three defensive touchdowns… also lettered twice in basketball.
 
PERSONAL INFORMATION
Son of Steve and Gail Bartlett... born May 29, 1998... undecided major... hobbies are video games and hanging out with friends.

Taylor Biaggi, S/LB, 6-2, 205, JR, Windsor, CA (Windsor HS/Santa Rosa JC)
 
COACH BARNUM SAYS: "We need some guys to be able to play right away and Taylor is one of those guys. He has sneaky speed and he is physically ready for the Big Sky. A very focused, no-nonsense personality. He shows a humility that I love." 
 
PREVIOUS TO PORTLAND STATE
Played two years at Santa Rosa Junior College... earned the Commitment To Excellence Award... had 54 tackles, seven tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, three pass breakups and returned an interception for touchdown as a sophomore... competed in two bowl games... earned two Associate Degrees.
 
Lettered twice in football at Windsor High School... his senior season the team was 14-0, winning first-ever league championship and section championship... named first team All-League and second team All-Metro... league Defensive MVP... team Defensive MVP and Lineman of the Year... team captain... also lettered in wrestling... team Most Improved.
 
PERSONAL INFORMATION
Son of Thia Brooks and Frank Biaggi... born October 5, 1993... has three brothers, Ian, Austin and Christian... majoring in Communications... hobbies are hunting, fishing and horseback riding.
 

Montre Brown, CB, 6-1, 180, FR, Tacoma, WA (Wilson HS)
 
COACH BARNUM SAYS: "Montre is long, fast and athletic. He is a basketball player who has not played a lot of football. He is not a project, just a superb athlete who is going to help us out on defense."
 
PREVIOUS TO PORTLAND STATE
Lettered in football, basketball and track at Wilson High School… named first team All-League as a senior and selected to the Seattle Times Top 100 players list… lettered four times in basketball, twice being named Defensive Player of the Year… team was district champions three times making it to the state tournament... also lettered in track, competing in the 200 meters, 800 meters and high jump.
 
PERSONAL INFORMATION
Son of Tara and Michael Lofton… born September 8, 1997… has one brother, Markese… would like to major in Engineering… a pilot student at the Pacific West Aerospace Academy in the Beyond The Clouds program… would like to go into the Air Force and have a career in aviation.

Anthony Del Toro, DT, 6-2, 285, FR, Grants Pass, OR (Grants Pass HS)
 
COACH BARNUM SAYS: "Comes from a great program. The transition will be easy for him coming here and he fills a need for us at defensive tackle. Anthony jumped ahead of many because of his body and how he works in the weight room. Has a great first step and wants to be great on the football field." 
 
PREVIOUS TO PORTLAND STATE
Lettered in football four times at Grants Pass High School... named first team All-State defensive tackles as a junior and a senior... was Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year and first team All-Conference both seasons.
 
PERSONAL INFORMATION
Son of Federico and Terri Del Toro... born November 18, 1997... has two sisters, Emily and Cristina... would like to major in Physical Therapy.

Daniel Giannosa, TE, 6-8, 250, FR, Modesto, CA (Big Valley Christian HS)
 
COACH BARNUM SAYS: "A coach's kid. And he has tools you can't coach with his size. For a guy that size, he has great leverage. Daniel wasn't recruited probably as much as he should have been."
 
PREVIOUS TO PORTLAND STATE
Lettered in football four times and basketball three times at Big Valley Christian High School... an All-Conference and All-Region tight end as a senior... All-Conference tight end and defensive end as a junior... was Team MVP both seasons... a four-year scholar-athlete.
 
PERSONAL INFORMATION
Son of Tim and Kris Giannosa... born May 13, 1998... has a brother, Tim... would like to major in Sociology... very involved in his church in his spare time.
 

Dylan Hanley, LB, 6-3, 225, FR, Grants Pass, OR (Grants Pass HS)
 
COACH BARNUM SAYS: "Dylan is one of the best athletes in the state of Oregon. He will really help us on defense. Dylan is fast, focused and loves football. It helps too that he comes from a great program."
 
PREVIOUS TO PORTLAND STATE
Lettered three times in football and track and once in basketball at Grants Pass High School... named second team All-Conference as a linebacker and a quarterback his senior season... a team captain... was the GPHS Male Athlete of the Year in 2015... also the Male Track Athlete of the Year as his team won the state championship... placed third in state in the javelin and shot put... a three-year member of the National Honor Society.
 
PERSONAL INFORMATION
Son of Geary and Stacy Hanley... born December 16, 1997... has one brother, Chase, and one sister, Jennifer... would like to major in History or Architecture... hobbies include fishing, camping, snowboarding, video games, watching football with friends, church youth group and voluntary missionary work.
 

Chris Hayes, S, 6-1, 185, JR, Los Angeles, CA (Westlake HS/Oregon State)
 
COACH BARNUM SAYS: "Malik (Roberson) had a history with him and that helped in the recruiting. We had a need at safety and Chris fills that need. I love his personality. He is lovable off the field and one of the hardest hitting guys one the field." 
 
PREVIOUS TO PORTLAND STATE
Spent two years on the scout team at Oregon State… a three-time letterwinner and two-year starter at Westlake High School.
 
PERSONAL INFORMATION
Son of Chris and Aran Hayes… born July 30, 1995… has two brothers, Isaiah, JJ, and one sister, Asia… father Chris spent 10 years playing in the NFL for Green Bay, the New York Jets and New England Patriots.

Steffen Jacobsen, S, 6-2, 200, FR, Portland, OR (Wilson HS)
 
COACH BARNUM SAYS: "Steffen will hit you. He is aggressive and fast, and can make up for mistakes with his athleticism. He is really the foundation of what we want on our football team."
 
PREVIOUS TO PORTLAND STATE
Named first team All-PIL as a junior and a senior… made 107 tackles in nine games as a senior... team captain and Defensive MVP... also competed in wrestling, track, lacrosse and baseball... a state qualifier in wrestling.
 
PERSONAL INFORMATION
Son of Bernt and Julie Jacobsen... born October 25, 1997... has one brother, Matthew, and one sister, Lea... intends to major in Finance or Accounting... hobbies are skiing, snowboarding, hunting and mock trial... would like to be a strength and conditioning coach or a CPA.
 

Avery Jones, LB, 6-3, 200, FR, Sherwood, OR (Valley Catholic HS)
 
COACH BARNUM SAYS: "Avery is another guy who brings a lot of basketball athleticism to the football field. He had a great senior season as a local guy from a small school who may have been a little overlooked. Avery is a fast, durable athlete who is aggressive. He can hit, and has make-up speed. I love his mentality toward the game."
 
PREVIOUS TO PORTLAND STATE
Lettered three times in football and twice in basketball in high school… competed at Sherwood as a sophomore, then Valley Catholic as a junior and senior… two-time first team All-Cowapa League linebacker… two-time team defensive MVP… state runner-up as a sophomore at Sherwood… team captain for both football and basketball.
 
PERSONAL INFORMATION
Son of Melissa and Melvin Jones… born July 23, 1998… has one brother, Alex… would like to major in Business… hobbies are sports, music and hanging out with friend and family.
 

Tommy Laverde, OL, 6-5, 285, FR, Portland, OR (Lincoln HS)
 
COACH BARNUM SAYS: "Tommy is one of the most unique student-athletes that will ever be brought to this university. His personality is a hit and he has the size to be a hell of an offensive lineman. He even did a nice job recruiting for us, he loves Portland State. A great signing for us."
 
PREVIOUS TO PORTLAND STATE
Lettered three times in football at Lincoln High School… an All-PIL offensive lineman, he was named honorable mention All-State as a senior… a two-year starter on the offensive line, his team was 11-1 as a senior… also competed in basketball and track.
 
PERSONAL INFORMATION
Son of Bill and Julie Laverne… born January 8, 1988… has two brothers, Sam and Caleb…. would like to major in Business Management and have a professional career in Portland… hobbies are movies, basketball, reading and activities with friends.

 AJ Ruffin, TE, 6-5, 250, FR, Tacoma, WA (Wilson HS)
 
COACH BARNUM SAYS:  "A very highly recruited athlete out of Washington. Kudos to my staff on recruiting him. One of the reasons AJ is coming here is the people - the staff, our team. He had a lot of choices in the game of recruiting, but he liked what Portland State is becoming on the football field."
 
PREVIOUS TO PORTLAND STATE
Narrows League Most Valuable Player… named first team All-State as a defensive end… had 12 sacks as a senior… also earned league MVP, 1st team All-Area... All-City as a defensive end and tight end... led team to the playoffs as a junior and senior… also lettered in track and basketball... went to state in track and set the freshman record for the shot put.
 
PERSONAL INFORMATION
Son of Armand Ruffin Sr., and Christine DuBois... born July 24, 1998... would like to get into Sports Medicine and Education... volunteers with the Special Olympics... has a goal to reach the NFL, as well as teach or coach in the future.

Korbin Sorensen, OL, 6-6, 275, FR, Kennewick, WA (Kamiakin HS)
 
COACH BARNUM SAYS: "A very highly recruited student-athlete who committed to us late because he had a lot of choices. Our staff really showed him who we are as a program. He likes the "BarnyBall" motto and lives by it. Korbin is a great offensive lineman." 
 
PREVIOUS TO PORTLAND STATE
Lettered in football three times at Kamiakin High School… named first team All-State as a senior… Kamiakin's offensive line was named "Line of the Year" by the conference… first team All-Conference and All-Area as a junior and senior… also lettered in track, competing in the shot put.
 
PERSONAL INFORMATION
Son of Marie Bowie and Scott Peterson… born April 16, 1998… has one brother, Luke Sorensen, and one sister, Stacia Peterson… intends to major in Business Finance… hobbies include skiing, hiking, fishing and the outdoors, as well as video games and helping at the Kamiakin youth football camp.
 

Moustapha Toure, OL, 6-6, 310, FR, Abidjan, Ivory Coast (Horizon Christian (OR) HS)
 
COACH BARNUM SAYS: "Another vibrant personality that you fall in love with as soon as you meet him. He has a unique background. Moustapha followed our season, loved our team, our players and the excitement around the program. You can't coach who he is athletically. He is a force on the football field, but that is so secondary to kind of kid he is." 
 
PREVIOUS TO PORTLAND STATE
Lettered in football all four years at Horizon Christian High School in Tualatin... earned second team All-State as a senior.
 
PERSONAL INFORMATION
Son of Gaoussou Toure and Massogbe Diabate Toure... born August 25, 1997... has five sisters, Amy, Mariam, Sarata, Ahoua and Fanta... plans to major in Business Administration... hobbies include music, family, God, respect, ambition and dedication... competed in soccer as a youth in Ivory Coast, winning three league championships... wants to one day to be the CEO of his own family business.

Mason Vega, LB, 6-3, 220, FR, Rancho Cucamonga, CA (Los Osos HS)
 
COACH BARNUM SAYS: "Mason is a blue-collar player on the field. We love his motor and how he plays the game. His attitude is fantastic. If everyone looked and acted like Mason out there, Portland State will be very good for a long time." 
 
PREVIOUS TO PORTLAND STATE
Lettered in football at Los Osos High School… had 48 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks as a senior... named second team All-League... earned the Iron Man Award... a scholar-athlete... also lettered in basketball.
 
PERSONAL INFORMATION
Son of Anthony and Annabell Vega... born October 24, 1998... has one sister, Sabrina... would like to major in Psychology... career goal is to work in law enforcement... hobbies include eating, going to the gym, going to the beach, and playing basketball.

Ryan Wood, DB, 6-2, 195, JR, Peoria, AZ (Sunrise Mountain HS/Glendale CC)

 
COACH BARNUM SAYS: "One of the toughest kids in this recruiting class. He will hit and play physical. He really approaches the game with a toughness that will be a great addition to what we are already doing here." 
 
PREVIOUS TO PORTLAND STATE
A two-year starter at Glendale Community College... also a team captain.
 
Started three years at Sunrise Mountain High School... as a senior named first team All-State by scout.com... also first team All-District and All-Section... Defensive Most Valuable Player... as a junior was first team All-Section and team Defensive MVP... also competed in track.
 
PERSONAL INFORMATION
Son of Mark and Anita Wood... born October 25, 1995... has three brothers, Kyle, Tyler and Wyatt... Business major... hobbies are basketball, hiking and fishing.

Vandals' late free throws nip Vikings, 56-55

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Vandals' late free throws nip Vikings, 56-55

Zach Gengler's potential game-winner, a contested 20-foot jumper from the corner, bounced off the iron as time expired and Portland State lost a back-and-forth battle at the University of Idaho, 56-55.  

The Vandals' Chris Sarbaugh made a pair of free throws with 10.1 seconds left to give Idaho the one-point advantage. Portland State brought the ball up court but had to call timeout with 2.7 seconds remaining. Gengler in-bounded from the sideline to Cameron Forte who tossed it back to him for the final shot. But with a hand in his face Gengler could only get the back iron. 

Portland State's loss was its fourth in five games as the Vikings dropped to 7-12 on the season, 3-5 in the Big Sky. Idaho, which came back from a 50-43 deficit in the final seven minutes, improved to 13-9 overall, 5-4 in the Big Sky. 

The loss wiped away another brilliant performance by Forte who finished with 20 points and 20 rebounds for the Vikings. His 20 boards were the most ever by a PSU player in 20 seasons in the Big Sky Conference (the school record is 26). Forte made 7-9 shots from the field and 6-9 free throws.

Idaho's notable defense, which entering the game was leading the Big Sky Conference in fewest points allowed, lowest opponent field goal percentage, most turnovers forced and best rebound margin, was evident. The Vikings struggled to score early and ended up with their lowest point total of the season.

However, PSU was able to play good defense of its own, and matched the Vandals rebound for rebound (40-40).

Remarkably, the largest lead by either team in the first half was a mere three points, by the Vikings. There were eight ties and seven lead changes before Idaho got to a 26-24 halftime lead.

Trailing 35-30 with just over 15 minutes left in the game, Portland State went on a 9-0 run to take back control at 39-35. The rally continued until the Vikings led 50-43 with 6:50 remaining. Gengler and Isaiah Pineiro each had six points in the run. 

Idaho inched back into it, finally taking the lead back in the final minute on Sarbaugh's free throws. Portland State was able to make only two field goals in the last 11 minutes of the game, one in the last seven minutes.

PSU made 19-54 field goals (.352) for the game. Idaho was 23-64 (.359). Each team was 3-16 from three-point range.

Pineiro had 16 points and six rebounds for the Vikings. In addition to his six points, Gengler had a team-high five assists. 

Nate Sherwood led the Vandals with 15 points and eight rebounds.