The now 2-1 Beavers dropped an L tonight, taken down by the mighty Lamar Cardinals. Oregon State lost 63 to 60 after turning the ball over an unfathomable 27 times. 27 turnovers doesn't even sound like it's a real stat, it sounds like the number you make up to hyperbolize how bad it really was. But it's real.
For the third time in three games, the Beavers started a new 5: Ronnie Stacy, JaQuari McLaughlin (his first ever and very much deserved start), Tres Tinkle, Drew Eubanks, and Cheikh N’diaye. Stevie Thompson sat out his second game in a row due to a foot injury, spending the game in a boot on the bench.
Lamar came out with full court pressure, something the Beavers hadn’t seen yet this season. It caused immediate frustration and turnovers, with Ronnie Stacy making a couple of bad passes (still love you forever Ronnie), JaQuori looking timid bringing the ball up, and Eubanks shooting 12 footers (Drew’s range ends at 6 feet FYI).
The pressure had the Beavs unable to get an offense going. In the first ten minutes most of the half-court sets consisted of JaQuori passing it in to Eubanks, and then running away from the ball while Wayne Tinkle yelled at him. I’m not sure exactly what JaQuori was supposed to be doing, but 6 minutes into the game whatever he was doing had Wayne’s jacket off (Wayne is now 2 for 3 on the season in Jackets Taken Off, leads all coaches).
At the 10 minute mark, the Beavs already had 8 turnovers, two of which came off of moving screens. Lamar jumped out to a 15-11 lead thanks to a pair of quick 3’s. Tinkle shifted the defense to a 3-2 zone, with Drew Eubanks and Keondre Dew running the baseline. The athletic bigs proved effective on the blocks and Lamar cooled down from beyond the arc thanks to the extended perimeter defense that the 3-2 allowed.
The first half continued to be a tale of Beaver turnovers and Lamar 3’s. Lamar shot almost 40% from downtown, while the Beavs backcourt continued to hemorrhage turnovers.
The Beavers managed to keep the game close by out-rebounding the Cardinals by a huge margin, 23-13, but finished the first half with 18 turnovers.... and only 25 points. I’m not sure what the record is in Gill, but 18 in a half has gotta be pushing it.
Despite the 18 turnovers, the game stayed within reach at halftime only down 29 to 23. Drew Eubanks had 4 blocks in the first half and the Beavs shot 58%, but only took three 3-point shots. Not a single Beaver finished the half with more than 5 points (JaQuori led the team with 5), but two of them (Tinkle and Dew) had 4 turnovers. Tres never quite got it going coming off of his back-to-back double-doubles and only managed 4 points halfway through, two of which came off of free-throws. In fact, Tres only took 2 shots from the field in the first 20 minutes, a product of what I’m guessing was a combination of exhaustion and Lamar’s defense denying him the ball. The stat of the half, you’ll never guess, involves turnovers: 21 of Lamar’s 29 points came off of turnovers.
The Beavers came back out after the break and picked up right where they left off, turning the ball over 3 more times and giving up a huge Lamar 3-pointer. Tres was pulled 3:00 into the half after looking exhausted for the entire game. It looked like all those minutes from the first two games caught up with him, and the turnovers finally caught up with the Beavs as they found themselves down 39 to 29 at the 16-minute mark.
The Beavers clawed back and Drew Eubanks proved himself a workhorse from the dark first four minutes of the second half onward. He set a new career high rebounds, 18, and finished with a double-double with 17 points and 6 blocks.
I could probably write 1500 words about how perfect Drew Eubanks was tonight, but I’ll leave you with just one sentence: He blocked this man’s shot so hard that he stole his identity and is now two people at once.
Drew legally owns this man's car now and all of his children have to be named Drew https://t.co/2yJIVJFuTl— Building the Dam (@BuildingTheDam) November 17, 2016
Okay so the last minute of this game was wild, I’m going to try and tell you what happened though:
Down 6 with under a minute to go, JaQuori hit a three and Lamar missed two free-throws to give us the ball back with 30 seconds left. Drew Eubanks then did the unthinkable and... missed an open dunk. The Cardinals then missed ANOTHER pair of free-throws, Tres Tinkle came down with the rebound and got fouled, sunk both free-throws.
23.9 seconds left, Beavers down 56-55. OSU fouls Lamar, they hit both, going back up by 3. Lamar then fouled Tres AGAIN with 18.5 seconds left. Tres made the first one, missed the second one. OSU fouls Lamar. Lamar hit both of their free-throws. Drew dunked it. Lamar then hits both of their free-throws, and that was the dagger that Oregon State never overcame. They ended up losing 63 to 60.
Obviously, losing at home in a game that you’re supposed to win is never a good thing. But finishing the game with 27 turnovers and only losing by 3 has to be looked at with optimism. We missed Stevie Thompson’s offense terribly. Tres, coming off his foot injury, has played too many minutes in the first three games. And Lamar is a whole lot better than they were last year.
The Beavers did a lot of things right tonight. For the second time in as many contests, they overcame a slow first half and got back into a game that they were out of. And Drew Eubanks began his campaign for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, which he should win.
Also, everyone should remember that JaQuori McLaughlin is only 17 (okay he’s not but he looks like it). He’s the real deal. I would be shocked if he doesn’t end up Pac-12 All-Freshman. He finished with 15 tonight, shooting 3-5 from beyond the arc.
The Beavers hit the road looking to bounce back against Nevada in the worst city in America, Reno, on Friday night.