I would like to preface this article by saying that wow being a member of the media is cool. Tonight was my first night with a press pass, and the very first thing I did was run right into Tres Tinkle in the basement of Gill. And also the entire rest of the team. Life comes at ya quick, man. I didn’t go to journalism school (and I’ve never even met someone who went to journalism school either, so I had nobody to ask) so I literally had no idea what I was doing. How do people just know where to go before and after the game and where to sit? I swear I called my girlfriend before driving over because I didn’t even know what I was supposed to wear. Turns out literally nobody cares at all that you are even at the game, which makes being a member of the press probably a lot easier and a lot harder.
The Beavers start the season 1-0 after defeating Prairie View A&M in an at times closer than it should’ve been game, 78-58, behind Tres Tinkle’s double-double.
Starters for the night: Tres Tinkle, Ronnie Stacy, Drew Eubanks, Stevie Thompson, and Cheikh N'diaye.
Prairie View plays with a high level of intensity and athleticism, leading to what I assume were some pre-game jitters for the Beavs coming out on the court. After starting the game with 3 turnovers, JaQuaori McLaughlin came off the bench for Ronnie Stacy to try and inject some life into the offense. Wayne Tinkle opted to go even smaller by adding Kendal Manuel into the lineup in exchange for N’Diaye. I have a feeling these first few weeks of the season will have more lineups than the Ducks have jerseys. Wayne will figure it out.
The offense was slow to start. Other than a Kendal Manuel corner 3 (after which he turned around and said something to Prairie View’s bench and I would give anything to have heard what he yelled), the first ten minutes of the game were rough. The defense held A&M to just 9 points, but the intensity of the Panthers clearly got to the young Beavs on the other end.
Drew Eubanks spent the entire game with A&M players on his back, which ended up in him getting a frustration tech called on him at the 10 minute mark.
Following the technical foul call, Drew set the tone for the second half prior to getting into foul trouble late. He protected the rim with fervor while adding points in the paint, and Ronnie Stacy’s on-the-ball defense proved all it was hyped to be.
An early surprise grabbing playing time was Kendal Manuel, who saw 13 minutes in the first half. Wayne Tinkle trusts his offense, and I expect him to be used when the team needs a spark throughout the remainder of the season.
At the half, Tres Tinkle and his perfect hair led all scorers with 10. The Beavers only shot 40% from the floor, 1-8 from three. However, the defense held the Panthers to 22% and were out-rebounded 16-12. Their 9 turnovers were due to the Beaver’s stifling defense, with 6 steals and 3 blocks in the first 20 minutes.
The Beavers should have dominated this Prairie View team inside in the first half. but failed to. N’Diaye led all big men playing 11 minutes, but only 16 of the Beavers 36 first half points came in the paint.
Oregon State opened the second half flat, but 4 minutes in Tres Tinkle added to his 10 with a contested layup (giving him a double-double). Drew Eubanks missed an open dunk, and Tres missed several open looks from 3.
With 13 minutes left in the half, Wayne Tinkle’s jacket AND his tie came off due to some questionable no-calls. It turns out someone on the bench is designated to take the jacket from the court to the locker room. This has become so commonplace that there is a process. We will be tracking Jackets Taken Off (JTO) for the remainder of the season.
Other than a pretty JacQuari-to-Eubanks dunk, the first 10 minutes of the second half were relatively uneventful. The defense continued to keep Prairie View from getting to the basket, but offensively we only managed 15 points. Sub-40 point halves may be a concern in the Pac-12.
When the Beavers should have been pulling away from a team they clearly were better than, they let Prairie View stick around by not being able to hit shots. A young team, at times they seemed to just play one-on-one instead of running an offense. When Ronnie Stacy is on the floor, they have better spacing and attack the basket after 3-4 good passes. JaQuori at the point, while exciting, is way too much dribbling. A lot of lessons to be learned in the back-court from this game.
Most of the second half, the Beavers played with a just-under-20-point lead that never seemed to grow. Inexplicably, Big G saw almost no playing time. N’Diaye sat most of the second half. The refs called 20+ fouls, of which maybe half were actually worth calling. It was one of the sloppiest 20 point wins I’ve ever seen.
Some obvious bright spots to mention: Tres Tinkle stuffed the stat sheet. His double-double was a huge one, finishing with 20 points and 15 rebounds. Drew Eubanks’s 7 blocks tied a school record for most blocks in a single game. And Ronnie Stacy led the team in being my favorite player, again.
The Beavers finished the game shooting 40%, going only 3-16 from deep. Can’t shoot worse next game, right?
The Beavers continue their season-opening weekend on Sunday at Gill against UTSA.