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Career-highs lead the no. 5 Titans past Portland 111-99

Lucas Wilson, men's basketball
Lucas Wilson attempts a free throw.

The Titans led by as many as 28, but inconsistent play led to a 12-point win over visiting Portland, 111-99.

How it happened: The Titans took a double-digit lead less than five minutes into the game, 15-4, thanks to nine quick points from Tarik Cool. The Titans lead grew to 20 points after 10 minutes of play, 33-11. The Titans took a timeout with 6:52 remaining leading 41-15. The Titans largest lead of the game came with 3:22 to go, 49-21. Portland finished on a 18-8 run and cut the deficit to 18, 57-39 at half.

The Titans shot 51.4 percent from the field, 56.3 percent from three, 83.3 percent from the line and assisted on 17 of 19 made field goals. Tashon Brown had another great 1st half, scoring 15 points in 11 minutes; Tarik Cool had 18 points, five rebounds and two assists; Lezjon Bonds and Rodney Hounshell combined for eight assists; Will Graves was scoreless but had four steals, three assists and a block off the bench.

The Panthers scored the first five points of the 2nd half but the Titans responded with the next five. After a Portland free throw the Titans lead was down to 15; Lucas Wilson converted an and-one, Rodney Hounshell and Tashon Brown made threes and the lead was 24 in just over a minute after it was 15. The Titans largest lead of the 2nd half, 85-59, came with 11:27 remaining after Lucas Wilson made a free throw.

With 7:56 remaining the Panthers cut their deficit under 20, again, 90-72, after a quick 6-0 run. The Titans responded with an 8-0 run that was then answered by Portland with a 16-0 run to cut the lead to 12 with 4:35 remaining. The Titans took a timeout and scored four points to extend the lead out to 16. Portland finished with a positive run, 13-9, but the Titans held on for a 111-99 victory.

The Titans gave up 60 points, but the Panthers only shot 47.5 percent but made up ground with 17 made free throws. The Titans out shot the Panthers by shooting 51.3 percent but were minus seven at the line and had to play small because Cody Mathis got into foul trouble early and eventually fouled out; Tarik Cool and Lucas Wilson also fouled out. The Titans passing was great, again, assisting on 14 of 20 field goals.

What/who stood out: The Titans had 31 assists, a season-high vs an NWAC opponent and the first time in nine NWAC games they reached 20 assists…31 of 39 field goals were assisted on…27 fouls makes it nine of the last 10 games with 20 or more fouls…14 threes made is the third time in four games with double-digit makes.

Lucas Wilson had a career-high 25 points on 10-11 shooting; he added nine rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks…Tashon Brown tied a career-high with 20 points…Tarik Cool had 23 points, eight rebounds and five assists…Rodney Hounshell had 11 points, a career-high six assist, five rebounds and three steals…Lezjon Bonds returned to the starting five and had 12 points and a career-high seven assists.

What it means: The Titans have now won three in-a-row and are 3-1 in the south and are a ½ game behind Chemeketa and Umpqua who are 3-0. The Titans 14 wins overall are tied for the most in the NWAC.

What's next: The Titans get a bye on Wednesday before hosting Mt. Hood (6-9, 1-3) on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 4 p.m.