(CORVALLIS)—The Oregon State men’s basketball season took off in earnest tonight as the Beavers beat their in-state rivals, the Oregon Ducks, 70-57, in the Pac-12 Conference opener for both teams. Tres Tinkle had 19 points to lead Oregon State, which improved to 10-2 this season. Meanwhile, the Ducks dropped to 11-3 on the year.
The Beavers jumped out to a 34-19 halftime lead at Gill Coliseum and just never let up against Oregon. In fact, Oregon State maintained its 15-point lead in the second half right until the final basket of the game, scored by the Ducks. Overall, the Beavers shot 44.4 percent from the floor, while out-rebounding Oregon, 37-32, and forcing four more turnovers than the Ducks.
In addition to Tinkle’s 19 points, Oregon State had four other players score in double figures. Olaf Schaftenaar scored 13, while Langston Morris-Walker and Gary Payton II each added a dozen. Stephen Thompson, Jr. scored 10 to complete the quintet. Schaftenaar led the Beavers with eight rebounds, while Payton notched six assists to lead Oregon State in that category.
Over a six-minute span in the first half, the Beavers took a four-point lead and turned it into a 17-point margin behind seven points from Tinkle during a 17-4 run. Morris-Walker had five points during the run as Oregon State took control of the game with five minutes left before halftime. Obviously, the home team never let up in the second half.
The Ducks were led in scoring and rebounding by Chris Boucher (14 points and seven boards).
With the win, the Beavers remain one of five Pac-12 teams without a conference defeat yet, and with four straight wins now, Oregon State has shown no ill effects from its experience playing the Kansas Jayhawks last month. With three home games to start the conference season, the Beavers can really jump out to a hot start—and that could mean all the difference in getting to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1990.
The Ducks were highly rated coming into this game, with a Top 20 RPI. This will count as a good win for Oregon State when the selection committee looks at all the bubble teams in early March. The Beavers had a Top 30 RPI themselves before tonight, and it will only go up after the win.
No one was sure how the Oregon State squad would respond to a 13-day gap between games, as the Beavers’ vacation between games was their longest since a 14-day break in 1980. In those days, a berth in the NCAA Tournament was almost a given for Oregon State. Perhaps that will be the key for the Beavers this year, too.