It may not be all that Oregon State needs to break their six game losing streak against Division I opponents, but it certainly should help.
On Thursday, it was reported that highly touted freshman Ben Kone had been medically cleared to play for Oregon State and that he is expected to make his collegiate debut on Sunday at home against Savannah State. Kone had been out of action since January, when he tore his ACL in the midst of his senior campaign at San Jose’s Archbishop Mitty High School. He had surgery to repair the torn ligaments back in early February.
Oregon State freshman PF Ben Koné (ACL) has been cleared by his surgeon to play Sunday, per a source. The game would be his college debut.— Danny Moran (@DannyJMoran) December 8, 2016
The insertion of the 6’9” Kone to the line-up could be a welcome sight to an increasingly thin Beavers front-court that has been struggling since forward Tres Tinkle injured his wrist back on November 25th, in a loss to Fresno State. Kone, a three-star recruit, is expected to be a “plug and play” type of talent, who will provide a physical and powerful presence on the interior. Even the mere addition of a new face may be what is needed to shakeup a stagnant Oregon State group at the moment.
The Beavers have lost six of their last seven games overall, the lone win of the group coming in a 84-59 beating of NAIA opponent, Southern Oregon. While it can be said that Oregon State has had quite a steak of bad luck (Tinkle’s untimely injury, Mississippi State’s Quinndary Weatherspoon’s miraculous recovery, Stephen Thompson’s missed game-tying three against Charlotte), the fact of the matter is that head coach Wayne Tinkle and company have simply not done enough on both ends of the floor to contain some less than impressive opponents. Sunday’s match-up with Savannah State may be the biggest test of where Oregon State currently sits as a program.
The Tigers are currently 2-8 on the season heading into their road trip to Corvallis and are fresh off the heels of a 128-59 loss to Oregon, in which the Ducks set a new school-record for points scored in a game. That may have had more to do with Savannah State’s inability to defend than Oregon’s stellar offense, as the Tigers currently rank as the worst team in all of Division I, on average, allowing 105.1 points per game to opponents.
Between the insertion of Kone into the mix and the excitement of playing an inferior Savannah State team at home, Sunday’s meeting with the Tigers may be the perfect storm needed for the Beavers to return to their winning ways. However, the task ahead won’t be easy. Savannah State may have the look of a team who isn’t nearly on the same talent level as Oregon State but this is no time for the Beavers to be taking any opponent too lightly. Oregon State will need to get the job done on Sunday and finally break their losing skid, one way or another.
Ben Kone High School Highlights: