Pregame: The Beavers are looking to redeem themselves for Thursday's 69-38 loss to Arizona State. In that game, OSU's leading scorer, Calvin Haynes, was limited to just three points, and must make a bigger impact today if the Beavers want to move to .500 in the Pac-10 conference. Here are my keys to the game:
- Don't settle for early open shots: Oregon had no problem finding open shots on Thursday, they just didn't make them. Arizona likes to play a fast tempo, so they are often willing to take risks and leave players open early in the shot clock. Oregon State must focus on running their offense to perfection, and not settle just for what Arizona gives them. Like Coach Robinson said after Thursday's game, we can't win if it turns into a three-point shooting contest. That's not our style.
- Slow down the UA big-men: The Wildcats have a talented trio in Budinger, Hill, and Horne. The Beavers can't get bullied in the paint.
- Keep it close: The Beavers aren't a team who can mount huge comebacks, so we'll need to keep things as close as possible for as long as possible. That can be accomplished by finding open shots, executing backdoor cuts, and playing tough defense. UA likes to speed up the tempo, so we'll need to slow it down as much as possible.
Halftime: The Beavers trailed by one point with 10:25 left in the half, but the Wildcats made five consecutive baskets, four of them three-pointers, to build a healthy 15 point lead. Oregon State fought back towards the end of the half, but basically just matched Arizona point-for-point. If the Beavers are going to get back into this one, they're going to have to capitalize on UA's turnovers and get offensive rebounds. Arizona is outrebounding the Beavers 10-2 on the offensive glass, which looks to be a big factor right now. At half, it's Arizona 34, Oregon State 21.
Final Score: Arizona 64, Oregon State 47.