In what was originally supposed to just be a tune-up game, the shorthanded Beavers picked up a much needed win after dropping four straight games early in the season over the NAIA Southern Oregon Raiders, 84-59.
Wayne Tinkle kept his jacket on and Drew Eubanks set a new career high by halftime, dominating the game from the opening tip. The big man ate well tonight, finishing the game with 32 points and 9 rebounds.
Southern Oregon came into the game on a hot streak, having started the season 6-2 on the back of Ben DeSaulnier (the Pride of Philomath), SOU’s leading scorer coming off of a 25 point performance against Menlo.
Without Tres Tinkle and Stephen Thompson Jr. (the Beaver’s leading scorer and probable second leading scorer had he played since game one, respectively), Oregon State had to look elsewhere for offense. Starters for the night ended up being Ronnie Stacy, JaQuori McLaughlin, Drew Eubanks, Cheikh N’diaye, and Daine Muller (filling in for Tres).
SOU started off the game with four straight threes on their first four possessions, eventually shooting 9 of 19 from beyond the arc in the first half. It became clear by the under-five media timeout that undersized SOU would be trying to stay in the game by shooting threes early in the shot clock. The Beavers capitalized on their size advantage by feeding Drew Da Tower (Eubanks), who got a touch on almost every possession and had 10 of the first 12 points the Beavs scored.
The Beavers struggled to get anybody else going other than Drew early on, and the rag-tag lineups put together in the wake of the injury plagued start to the season let the Raiders hang around at the half. SOU’s 9 three-pointers and Oregon State’s continued turnover woes made for a half that was, at times, uncomfortable to watch.
NOBODY CARED WHO I WAS BEFORE I PUT ON THE MASK https://t.co/UPrV230c9t— Building the Dam (@BuildingTheDam) November 29, 2016
At the break, the Beavers managed to pull away to a 10 point lead, 45-35. Of note, Big G (Gligorije Rakocevic) played his limited minutes tonight wearing a hard plastic mask, which was my favorite Big G moment so far this year.
Tonight was a very special halftime. The annual Diaper Dash, which is very important and serious, hosted 5 babies tonight from all walks (crawls) of life. Crowd favorite Maverick from Salem, at 6 pounds and 22 inches, had an underwhelming night as newcomer Cameron ran (crawled) away with the victory. Cameron has rescinded his verbal commitment to Gerber and will be reopening his recruitment.
The Beavers played with a comfortable double-digit lead for the entire second half as the Raider’s three point shooting cooled down. SOU had no answer for Eubanks, as he ended the game just one rebound shy of his 3rd career double-double.
Ronnie Stacy also contributed his best game of the season, attacking the rim and even hitting his first(!) three of the season at long last. With a minute and a half left on the clock, Ronnie elevated and dunked his most Russy Westbrook dunk he has ever dunked. It was a perfect moment and I love you so much Ronnie.
Kendal Manuel had his first game in double-digits as a Beaver tonight, another positive sign for a team looking for points any way it can get them.
For a brief moment in the game tonight, Drew had 30 of the Beaver’s 60 points. I don’t expect this scoring outburst to repeat itself once we finally have Tres and Stevie back, but one of the quickest ways to get an offense going is to go inside-out each possession. Given the Beaver’s offensive woes to start the season, hopefully this game will spark a renewed interest in starting the ball in the post more often and then working it back outside.
It felt good to blow out a team we were supposed to blow out. Of the last 4 games, 2 of them were games we probably should have won by 20 and lost. Given the seemingly cursed start to the season with injury after injury, reaching this point and still having the focus and will to beat a team that could’ve been overlooked is reassuring.
The Beavers look to pick up their first road win of the season as they head to Mississippi State on Thursday to take on the 4-2 Bulldogs.