Iona (0-1) at Oregon St. (1-0) / Gill Coliseum, Corvallis / 7 PM PST / Pac-12 / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
Oregon State encounters Iona for the first time ever tonight.
The Gaels are on a frequent flyer mile accumulation run, making the trip to Gill from New Rochelle, New York. They stopped over on the way Sunday to take a 83-58 thrashing from Valparaiso, in their first game of the season.
It was a rough start for a team that went 26-9 last season, and won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) regular season with a 17-3 record, and got to the Conference Tournament Championship game, before losing to Manhattan, and then ending their season with a loss at Rhode Island in the first round of the NIT.
Things got off to a much better start for Oregon State Saturday afternoon, when the Beavers backed up their 76-57 exhibition win over Western Oregon with a 74-52 win Saturday over Northwest Christian, and NAIA school, in their first counting contest. Iona will be their first taste of Division I competition, even from a 1 tournament bid type conference.
Gary Payton II led the way for the Beavers against the Beacons, with 16 points, but got a lot of help from Oregon State's trio of true freshman, as Drew Eubanks started and made 5 of 6 shots, for 13 points, and a team and co-game high 8 rebounds. Tres Tinkle added 14 points, and Stephen Thompson Jr. was 4 of 7 from 3 point range, for 12 points.
Iona had a hard time getting going at Valpo, but the Gaels were 5th in the country in scoring last year, and will try to get up and down the floor. How the Beavers deal with the up-tempo defensively will be a key to watch in the game. Daniel Gomis will again miss the contest, and his presence and roll in calling out defensive adjustments for what opponent's offenses are doing has been acknowledged by a couple of the players as one of the issues they most need to still work on, and improve on without Gomis, especially when they go to zone defense. That suggests Iona's points per possession could be the stat to track tonight, as far as a predictor of how the game will go.