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USD, Portland Meet in Chance to Escape Conference Cellar

February 11, 1988|CHRIS ELLO

SAN DIEGO — For the second time in five days, an escape from last place in the West Coast Athletic Conference basketball race will be at stake when the University of San Diego meets Portland at 7:30 tonight in the USD Sports Center.

Saturday at Portland, the Pilots pulled even with USD in the conference standings with a 68-64 victory. Both teams are 1-7 in WCAC play, seven games behind unbeaten Loyola Marymount.

USD (9-12 overall) missed its first 14 shots from the field in Saturday's game with Portland and fell behind, 14-1. Freshman John Sayers scored a season-high 18 points to lead a USD comeback that fell short.

Sayers has played well recently after struggling early in conference play. However, his teammates played well early but now are struggling.

The Toreros are hoping to find some consistency at home, a place that used to be good to them. USD was 44-6 under Coach Hank Egan, now in his fourth year, before it lost three in a row on its most recent home stand.

Portland (6-15) has struggled most of the season under its first-year coach, Larry Steele. The Pilots finished third in the conference a year ago but have been unable to adequately replace three starters from that team.

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