Oregon State started the game out of sync with only three points and a litany of mistakes and turnovers. The offense just did not have much movement and when they did get enough separation for an open shot they struggled to make those as well. When the freshman (Derrick Bruce, Stephen Thomson Jr., and Tres Tinkle) came in you could see the team pick up in terms of athleticism, especially on the defensive end.
Defensively the Beavers were reliant on using their athletic advantage to make up for poor rotations but when they were on and making the right movement they were able to force turnovers and forced double digit turnovers which led to 12 OSU points which partially gave them the edge for their six point halftime lead.
Payton and Eubanks were the standouts for the first half as both were producing highlights with dunks and defensive energy. GPII looks to still be the leader on the team, as his demeanor shows. He has a charisma to him, not at the level of his father but you can feel when he begins to leave his mark on the game. Eubanks has the reach, energy, and athleticism to stand out as well. He is great as the anchor of a defense, where very few players can finish over him. He also flashed the ability to close out on shooters without allowing them to drive around him. For maybe the least hyped member of this freshmen class he might end up having the most impact early on.
When both teams came out of the locker room the Beavers came out in the 2-3 zone we saw so often last season and it started to force worse shots for NCU and the gulf of talent finally started to present itself. The Beavers were able to take those misses and move at a much higher pace than last season with the depth they have this year. They ran up the lead to double digits and the pressure continued to mount on NCU.
Another part of the run was Stephen Thompson Jr. starting to find his range knocking down a handful of threes to extend the lead. His stroke is incredibly effortless and while a close out did mess up his form for one shot the rest were pure.
There isn't much more to say on this game as the Beavers continued to show their strength on defense and the lead grew and grew en route to a blow out with a final score of 74-52 Beavers.
The impact of the 2-3 zone was massive. OSU was fine in man-to-man, but the zone created pressure that NCU could not handle which led to a multitude of offensive sets getting run against an unprepared defense. With an improvement in man-to-man as well this team could be exceptional defensively. The ability to mix up looks and be great at all of them could be suffocating for opposing offenses.
One of the lowlights was the free throw shooting though, with a 6-20 performance or 30%. It's going to be important in close games that the percentage rises or else it is going to be very difficult to finish of opponents.