OGDEN, Utah — Brian Towne led four Portland State players in double figures with 25 points and the Vikings beat Eastern Washington, 80-74, in a first-round game of the Big Sky Conference tournament on Thursday night.
Towne, a 6-foot-3 guard who entered the game averaging 13 points, made nine of 12 shots, including seven of nine from three-point range. With Eastern Washington (10-17) focused on shutting down Jason Hartman, who finished with 23 points, Towne repeatedly found himself open from the perimeter.
By the half, Towne had 19 of 40 points for Portland State (17-10), including five three-pointers.
While Towne was hot, Eastern Washington's Shannon Taylor was streaky. The senior from Ventura College had four first-half points.
Taylor, who finished with 24 points, led the Eagles back from the 40-32 halftime deficit and put them ahead, 48-46, on a three-point play with 13:34 to play.
But Portland State took the lead for good with 3:19 left on Derek Nesland's three-point basket.
"We've relied on the three all year and they did a good job of shutting it down," said Coach Steve Aggers of Eastern Washington, whose team made eight of 23 three-pointers.
Taylor made four of nine three-pointers, raising his Big Sky single-season record to 104.
"They were taking away [Taylor's] threes, so he got most of his points on drives," Aggers said.
Hartman, a former Thousand Oaks High standout, made six of 13 shots and eight of 10 free throws. He moved into 10th place among Portland State's all-time leading scorers with 1,045 points in only two seasons.