Oregon St. got the biggest win yet of the Wayne Tinkle era Saturday night, coming from behind to force overtime, and then pull out the win at previously only once beaten Portland from the West Coast Conference at the Chiles Center 65-58.
The Beavers made 6 straight free throws in the last 1/2 minute of overtime, and made all 10 of their free throws in the extra period. For the game, Oregon St. was 16 of 20 at the line, offsetting a 23 of 30 night at the stripe by Portland.
The Pilots led the middle 2/3 of the game, after a competitive start to the game. Victor Robbins' 3 pointer put Oregon St. up 12-10 a little before the mid-way mark of the first half, only to have the Pilots answer with a 7-0 run.
Oregon St. battled back within 2 points, but Portland took a 30-24 lead to the locker room at halftime, and took 7 point leads, the Pilots' largest of the game twice.
But the Beavers battled back, and finally took the lead on back to back baskets by Langston Morris-Walker with just under 7 and 6 minutes left.
From there, it was a fight to the finish of regulation, and the 53 apiece tie that sent the game to overtime.
The game turned on a blocked shot by Jarmal Reid of Thomas van der Mars' shot that produced a tie-up call with 32 seconds left, and the possession arrow pointing the Beavers' direction. Oregon St. was only up 1 point at that point, 59-58.
Olaf Schaftenaar, who finished with 14 points, drew a foul and made both free throws, and that put the Pilots behind the 8 ball.
Both Gary Payton II and Morris-Walker converted rebounds of Portland misses into a pair of free throws to close out the win that improved Oregon St to 5-2 to start the season.
Payton posted his third consecutive double double, with 12 points and 12 rebounds, after struggling to score in the first half, and Morris-Walker led the Oregon St. starters, with 14 points.
But is was Robbins off the bench that kept the Beavers in the game, with a game high 18 points.
Bobby Sharp led Portland, with 12 points, but was held to only 3 of 13 shooting by the Beaver defense. Alec Wintering was close behind, with 10 for the Pilots. van der Mars came as close as possible to a double double as possible without posting a single double digit stat, with 9 points and 9 boards.
Interestingly, it was the second overtime win of the day for the Pac-12 against WCC competition, after #3 Arizona had edged #9 Gonzaga 66-63, in a game with higher ranking value, but equal competitive quality.
It was an impressive effort by the underdog Beavers, to come from behind, but an example of the scrappiness Tinkle has brought to the program.
The negative of the night had to be once again fouling 3 point shooters multiple times. That's a problem, but perhaps less of one than the often uncontested 3 pointers opponents were able to get in recent years.
If nothing else, everything about tonight's game tells opponents that at least Oregon St. will contest everything.
The Beavers will now have a week off, sort of, for finals week, before returning to action next Saturday afternoon at 1 PM at Gill Coliseum, hosting Mississippi St. of the SEC.
Portland, now 6-2, has an even longer break, with their next action a trip to Sacramento St. next Sunday.