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Oregon State Returns To Far West Classic Vs Fullerton

Gary Payton will be looking to throw down at the Far West Classic tonight.
Gary Payton will be looking to throw down at the Far West Classic tonight.

Oregon St. (6-2) vs. Cal-State Fullerton (6-3) / Moda Center, Portland, OR / 8 PM PST / PAC-12 Network / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM

Game Notes

Oregon State brings back a major piece of Beaver tradition tonight, as they, with the help of the University of Portland, bring the Far West Classic back to Portland. It's been nearly 20 years since the Classic was last played (in 1996), the result of changes in how the NCAA allowed teams to count "tournament" games against their allotted number of games, that ended the 8-team tournament, and eventually ended even the 4 team format.

The Beavers have historically won the Classic 20 times, including the first 10.

But the Classic is back, although not in true tournament form (all 4 games tonight and tomorrow night are set in advance), and Oregon State takes on Cal-State Fullerton in the night cap tonight. Portland (5-6) takes on Weber State (5-5) at 5:30 tonight in the first game of the double header.

The Beavers will be looking to bounce back from their 82-67 loss in Kansas City to #2 Kansas last Saturday night, after the Jayhawks overcame a double digit halftime deficit to pull away for the win.

Tres Tinkle led the Beavers, hitting his first 5 3 point shots of the game, on his way to a career high 20 points, and Gary Payton II added a 13 point, 11 rebound double double, with Jarmal Reid, in just his second game of the season, came off the Oregon State bench to add 11 points.

Tinkle is a game time decision tonight though, after Kansas' Wayne Selden fell across Tinkle's legs in a pile-up late in the Kansas contest. Tinkle sat out Tuesday's practice, but returned Wednesday. Tinkle termed the injury as "not too severe", but did have some stiffness.

Reid also left the Kansas game with a problem with an injury to the same foot he had suffered a stress fracture to before the season, but is probable for tonight.

The long awaited return of Daniel Gomis will have to wait a while longer though. The left hand he broke shortly before the season still hasn't completely healed, and after a doctor's evaluation earlier this week, won't be back until at least after Christmas.

Also out is guard Derrick Bruce, who was on crutches wearing a boot this week, and scheduled for an MRI. Coach Wayne Tinkle has put the press-breaking Bruce in the hands of the doctors to get a determination of the full nature of his injury.

The Titans, who hail from the Big West Conference, are also looking for a bounce back tonight. After dropping their opener by 5 points at Loyola-Marymount, whom Oregon State beat 79-70, Fullerton ran off a half dozen wins in a row, before a 2 game trip to Seattle that started with a 70-61 win over the Redhawks went awry in an 87-69 loss to Washington.

The Titans then dropped a rematch with Loyola-Marymount 82-70 last Saturday on their home floor. 6'2" junior guard Tre Coggins, Fullerton's leading scorer at 15.2 points per game, led the Titans with 18 points, but Malcolm Brooks, their second leading scorer at 13.8 ppg, was their only other starter in double figures, with a right on average 14 points.

Lanerryl Johnson, who averages 10.6 ppg, had 16 off the bench, but Khalil Ahmad, who averages 10.2 points, had only 3, and Lionheart Leslie was 4 points under his average, with just 5 points.

Tonight is just the second regular season meeting ever between Oregon State and Fullerton. The Beavers won 68-35, on Nov. 17, 2000 at Gill Coliseum, but the Titans got revenge in their only other meeting, taking an 85-83 win in overtime in the first round of the NIT on March 16, 2005, also in Gill Coliseum.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com