Oregon State Basketball! Thoughts about the Friday Exhibition Win

Cunningham_slamming_02_mediumI was able to view the Beavs online stream for their exhibition win over Pacific (Ore.) to the tune of a 64 to 33 score.   In this piece I go over some of my impressions, which keep in mind I saw this on the stream AND keep in mind this was an exhibition game, so take all of this as a tune up preview type of story!

In general the Beavs played very well on defense,  They held Pacific (Ore.) to 25.6%, and I can't remember exactly when but Pacific didn't break double digits until the second half, with the Beavs leading 33 to 9 at halftime.  On offense the Beavs looked good, but have to say not great BUT again for an opener exhibition game you expect rust, and also have to expect some lack of focus happening when you are up 33 to 9 at half.   That said the Beavs shot 49% from the field and 38% from 3-point land.  One area the team will be working on over the next couple weeks I'm sure, is that they also only shot 39% from the FT line and that is with getting to the line 21 times (in many ways they almost shot better from behind the 3-point arch).

But you know overall when we have gone through the other men's fall sport losing its opening exhibition game having this basketball win was sure satisfying for this Beavs fan.  

After the jump I'll break down my "what we might expect if this game actually had any indicators for the rest of the season."

(Photo: Jared Cunningham slamming, Oregon State versus California, February 26, 2011)

What we might expect if this game actually had any indicators for the rest of the season:

1.  The starting line up consisted of Joe Burton, Devon Collier, Angus Brandt, Jared Cunningham, and Ahmad Starks.  Overall seemed like a good line up for this game, they came out with a ton of energy on defense and I thought they worked well together in their traps.  On offense the inside game looked strongest with Collier and Cunningham had the perimeter well covered by hitting 3 for 5 threes.   I think Starks and Brandt could have had more of an offensive presence, but again for an opening game they both still had a solid on the court presence.

2.  Roberto Nelson did not start but got some minutes of play.  He and Brandt seemed maybe have the most overall rust of the main players, but from watching this one game we should all expect the long range three bombs to continue from Roberto again this season for he was letting them fly.

3.  Eric Moreland is back and I'm very glad for he looked great with some quality playing time.  If he can sustain this, and keep showing what he showed last year before he got hurt, he will add an important dimension to the inside game.  Indeed I think the forward position looks to be in good shape.  Overall Collier looked very good too and so we could have a great one-two punch with two guys.  And I just think Collier has a wonderful energy out there, he will be fun to watch this season.

4.  We don't seem to have a strong true center presence.  Brandt had an ok game and all that but I think the Beavs really almost play more of a power forward type of game on the inside with Brandt, Collier, Moreland, and Burton.  All of which seem to be able to play on the outside fine and this works well with Robinson's offensive schemes.   But again I just not sure there is strong true center post up game with this line up.

5.  Jared Cunningham will be good this season.

6.  We need Starks to find his full offensive presence and when he does he will be a key all-around asset to the team for he played some really nice defense Friday.

7.  Expect more of Joe Burton's passing magic and more of his passing head scratchers!  For the most part he passed great Friday but he does like to push the envelope still.  I've come to terms with this as it is what it is and look forward to the special plays he will make this year.

8.  The team needs to work on its FTs big time.  I give them a mini-pass being this was an exhibition game, but if this was a regular season game that on the line performance would have been completely unacceptable.  And it was not just one or two players it was a lackluster team effort.  I fully expect Coach Robinson to issue NO passes though, and they better be working all of this out before November 12th's opener.

9.  Defense looked very good and the athleticism of this team showed Friday.  Defensive rebounding needs some work for they missed some key block outs, but luckily Pacific was not a great athletic rebounding team and the Boxers did not take advantage of the Beavs mistakes here.

10.  Offense was a little too in spurts at times, but really hard to gauge with the rotations and it being an exhibition.  I would like a little higher % threat to emerge from the mid-range to short range, for that could really round things off for the team.  Again I don't see a true center type of post up offense, but with the athletes this team has and the strong forward position and outside shooters they should be able to take advantage of a good inside/outside game.  Plus an always good sign the Beavs did have 20 assists so they were clicking well as a team, but on the flip side there were still 16 turnovers, so all in all a bit of a mixed bag.

11.  Possible players to watch for: Freshman guard Challe Barton got some good minutes and might be another dimension added to the guard position.  Rhys Murphy also got some decent minutes, including an almost Cunningham-esque rebound dunk in the second half, and he could be a nice sophomore presence off the bench this season.

Here are the final stats for the game.

"What you saw was exactly what it was, a dress rehearsal" - Craig Robinson

Again, take this all as a warm up for a longer, and more challenging, regular season for the only thing I'm 100% certain of is that the line ups and the play of the team will change as we progress (all hopefully for the better).  But again it was refreshing to watch a Beavs win and there was some impressive plays at times.

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