Another in-season tournament field for next season was revealed, as the DirecTV Wooden Legacy announced the eight teams that will make the trip to Fullerton, California.
UCLA, which was led to ten national titles by the event’s namesake, will take part as well CSUN, Dayton, Nebraska, New Mexico, Portland, Texas A&M and Virginia Tech. Six of the eight teams have made prior appearances in the event, with Dayton and Nebraska being the two programs who will make their DirecTV Wooden Legacy debuts next season.
Portland and Virginia Tech reached the title game in their prior appearances, with the Pilots losing to West Virginia in 2009 and the Hokies falling to UNLV in 2010.
Heading into Thursday’s home game against Pacific, Portland had lost three straight WCC games and five of their last six. So it’s safe to say that the Pilots needed to turn things around against the visiting Tigers, and they were able to do so thanks to guard Alec Wintering (13.7 ppg, 5.6 apg), who’s the team’s leading scorer.
Wintering scored seven of his eight points in the second half of Thursday’s game, with the final three coming on a three-pointer as time expired. Kevin Bailey led the way offensively for the Pilots with a game-high 21 points, and forward Thomas van der Mars added 17 to go along with eight rebounds. Dulani Robinson scored 17 off the bench to pace the Tigers.
The win was a big one for Portland, not only because of the rough patch noted above but also because of who’s next on the schedule. Portland hosts Saint Mary’s, which should be motivated by the beating they took in Spokane against No. 3 Gonzaga, on Saturday and then they’ll visit the Bulldogs next Thursday.
Portland senior center Riley Barker underwent season-ending knee surgery on Friday, the school announced on Friday night. The fifth-year senior’s collegiate career is over.
The 6-foot-10 Barker suffered a right knee injury in the Pilots’ 78-61 win over Santa Clara on Thursday night.
“I just feel so bad for Riley,” Portland head coach Eric Reveno said in a statement. “It is hard to put into words. Although his long-term prognosis is great and I am sure he will enjoy a very good professional career overseas, he has worked so hard, been playing so well and been such a great teammate it is just a shame for this to happen in his senior year. I will miss coaching him and am sorry it ended a couple of months early. He can be proud of the year he was having and his lasting impact he has had on this year’s team as well as the program in general.”
Barker is one of five Pilots to appear in all 16 games this season, starting in two of them. He was averaging 4.8 points and 5.1 rebounds in 18.9 minutes off the bench for Portland.
The Pilots currently hold a 11-5 (1-2 West Coast Conference) record. Portland had dropped the previous two WCC game to conference favorites Gonzaga and BYU.