The Chiles Center was the most alive it has been all season Saturday night as 4,547 fans packed the stands to watch the Pilots take on the no. 15 ranked St. Mary’s Gaels. The foul-heavy game ended in a loss for The Pilots, although the team initially came out hot against the Gaels with a quick 9-2 run out the gates. The Gaels quickly responded and set the pace for the first half and would go onto a 73-61 win.
Freshman Marcus Shaver Jr. and senior D’Marques Tyson both led the way eight points each in the first half. Foul trouble would play a large factor for the Pilots as they committed 12 first half fouls, getting Portland’s bigs sophomore Joseph Smoyer and senior Philipp Hartwich got into foul trouble in the first half.
The Pilots played solid defense throughout the game scoring 16 points off the nine St. Mary’s turnovers. Effort played a huge role as the Pilots were going all out for balls early as well as providing defensive pressure.
Foul trouble continued to be a problem as both Smoyer and Hartwitch fouled out in the second half. The largest turn of the game came with 5:11 left in the second half as Hartwitch was sent to the bench with his fifth foul being a technical. This was followed by Coach Terry Porter getting a technical foul over the frustrations of calls not going Portland’s way. The four free throws to follow gave the Gaels a 10 point lead with 5 minutes remaining in the game.
“It's a process. I try and tell the players not to worry about it, let me put the heat on the referees. I just have to keep getting on them," Porter said. "I have to make them aware of the situation, we just want it to be consistent, we don’t want it to be lopsided... I just want to give our kids out there who are competing a chance."
The Pilots had 28 total fouls called on them, many of which got an emotional response from the team and crowd.
The Pilot’s final home game and senior day comes on February 22nd against BYU.