Oregon St. not only got a sweep of their basketball opening night double header, the Beavers went wire to wire in both games.
After getting beaten soundly in last Friday's exhibition, losing 57-47 to Division II Western Oregon, there was considerable trepidation around Corvallis, even going up against Rice, which went 7-23 last year. So a wire to wire 67-54 win over the Owls was just what was needed to improve spirits around Beaver Nation. And no matter how the massive rebuilding effort goes, at least Oregon St. will be above .500 for a while.
Oregon St. scored the first 5 points of the game, and opened an early 8-2 lead, before opening as large as a 22 point lead, before settling for a 32-22 half time lead, after a 3 pointer by walk-on Dylan Livesay, the only member of Tinkle's walk-on warriors who got into the game.
Rice rallied to within 2 points in the second half, using an 11-5 run to pull within 37-35, but the Beavers answered with an 8-0 run of their own to regain control, and iced the game by making 13 of 15 free throws in the final couple minutes of the game.
The Beavers were led by Malcolm Duvivier, who had a co-game high 17 points, and also got a double double from Langston Morris-Walker, the first of his collegiate career, with 11 points and a game high 10 rebounds.
But the real boost came unexpectedly from Jarmal Reid, who came off the bench for a co-game high 17 points, his collegiate career high.
Gary Payton II had only 6 points, but grabbed 9 rebounds.
Rice was led by Seth Gearhart, who had 14 points, and the Owls also got 11 points from Bishop Mency off the bench.
Stat of the game was Oregon St.'s 44-27 edge over Portland on the boards.
Before the men took the floor, the 20th ranked Oregon St. women blew out Portland 87-65, in a game that was never in doubt.
The Beavers jumped to a 21-6 early lead, as Ruth Hamblin poured in 12 of her night high 20 points, and also grabbed 4 of her 6 rebounds, and blocked 4 of the 5 shots she swatted away on the evening in the first 6-7 minutes.
The Pilots simply had no one who could match up with "The Hammer", who could have hammered them for a triple double had head coach Scott Rueck not elected to only play Hamblin for 17 total minutes, play the bench almost as many minutes as the starters, and again exercise all kinds of options for different personnel packages in preparation for the numerous games against ranked opponents to come.
That allowed Portland to keep Oregon St. distantly in sight, but the Pilots never threatened the Beavers.
Ali Gibson, above, got hers though, with 16 points, making her only the 17th Oregon St. player to pass the 1,000 point plateau.
"This is the first time I've ever come into a season ranked, and I think we're excited for that challenge," Gibson said. "It was really great to have the crowd behind us, and we were really excited to get the season started."
With all tickets good for both games, 4,759 people saw some portion of the double header, an impressive number considering the women's game started at 4 PM on a week day, and the evening game went up against high school football playoffs in the area and state.
Deven Hunter and Jamie Weisner both had 11 point nights, and Gabriella Hanson was also in double digits, with 10 points to lead the Beaver bench.
Cassandra Brown led Portland, with 18 points, and Kari Luttinen and Sara Zaragoza were also in double figures, with 12 and 10 points respectively.
Stat of the game was Oregon St.'s 24 assists, 7 of them by Wiese, who opted to distribute the ball instead of bombing away as she is capable of, taking only 5 shots on the night.
The Oregon St. men will return to action Tuesday night at 7 PM, hosting Corban, an NAIA team from Salem.
The Beaver women are back on Ralph Miller Court Sunday, at 2 PM when they host Utah St.