Grambling St. (2-5) at Oregon St. (6-2) / Gill Coliseum / 7 PM PST / Pac-12 Channel / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
Oregon St. looks to continue their hot streak at home, and in state, where they are unbeaten, tonight against Grambling St.
The Tigers, from Grambling, LA, and the South West Athletic Conference (SWAC), are starting a northwest swing, with a stop in Seattle to take on Washington on Wednesday next up on their itinerary. Grambling is known for their world-class marching band, which isn't coming along, and also, along with most of the SWAC, for playing piles of pay-for-play games to balance the budget at their underfunded southern schools.
The Tigers will play 8 of their 10 pre-season games on the road, and their only 2 home games, which are also their only wins, were against non-Division I teams. But those 2 wins, including a 74-64 win over Selma (of "Heat of the Night" fame) in their last outing, make them one of only three members of the SWAC that have more than 1 win. It's not a joke that SWAC could also stand for "Simply Worst Athletic Conference". The Beavers' other encounter with the SWAC this season ended in a 74-50 blowout win over Mississippi Valley St. late one night week before last.
Oregon St. fans will recall Grambling St. from their last visit to Gill Coliseum, which was the only other time the Tigers and Beavers have met, back on Dec. 8 2012, which ended in a 31 point win for the Beavers. Roberto Nelson led the way to the 85-54 win, with 26 points, and Ahmad Starks added 17 points, while Eric Moreland had a 14 points, 13 rebounds double double for Oregon St.
Things have improved for the Tigers, who went winless that season, but not much. Grambling went 5-24 last year, but still finished last in the SWAC, and haven't beaten a non-SWAC Division I team since 2010. They haven't come closer to a Division I opponent this season than in a 25 point loss at Air Force. Oregon St. is favored by that same 25 point margin tonight.
Grambling comes in ranked 339th in the country in rebounding, 345th in shooting, and 351st in scoring. The Tigers are led by A'torri Sine, a 6'6" senior who hadn't transferred to Grambling yet 2 years ago when the Beavers last met them, and averages 14.1 points per game.
Oregon St. played one of their best team games of the season last Saturday afternoon, withstanding rallies by Mississippi St. that cut an early 14 point lead to 2 points, and a 16 point second half advantage to 4, responding to take a 7 point halftime lead, and in the end, pull away for a 10 point, 59-49 win.
Gary Payton II, the Beavers' leading scorer and rebounder, led the way, with 13 points, all but 2 of which came in the second half, and 8 rebounds, but Jarmal Reid came of the bench to chip in 13 more points.