The game started on an ominous note when it was announced that was Tres Tinkle hurt in practice. It was a foot injury and we don't know about his availability for the UCLA game this weekend.
Stephen Thompson Jr. started the game in his place. It was not a detriment at first as the Beavers launched a three point barrage with four made in the first couple minutes. It got them out to an early lead with Eubanks being a menace in the paint but it was not sustainable.
USC began to take a stranglehold on the game once the Beavers outside shooting finally began to normalize. They were sharp on defense, forcing Payton to give it up and the offense had to run more through Thompson. He had a decent showing but he was never going to be enough when the USC offensive machine was running in high gear. They were sharp in every facet, the drives sharp, the cuts precise, the spacing was sparkling. Even more importantly their shooting was out of this world.
The Trojans forced OSU to rotate and spun the short-handed Beavs around in circles leading to boatloads of open threes for Boatwright and the other Trojans. They jumped out to a 19-12 lead on OSU with 13 left in the half.
I'm talking a lot about USC in this recap, I'd sure love to be able to talk about OSU more as the focus but they were just a bit part in USC's star turn. They just kept churning away, drilling more shots than workers in an oil well.
The Beavers kept try to stay in it, Eubanks was flying everywhere trying to make plays. He was a step late to many, resulting in some goaltends but his hustle deserves some notice. Nothing was enough to stem the red tides though and OSU walked into the locker room down 33-56. USC had 62% field goal percentage at the half going 8-11 from three.
OSU kept scrapping when both teams came back out of the locker rooms. USC finally slowed down from the outside and Oregon State was able to get back against more unsettled defenses. It was chipping away but eventually they wore back down and the deficit slipped back from 16 all the way back down to the halftime hole of 23. The deficit would move around a little more but it stayed closer to 20 than it did to 10 for the rest of the game.
The Beavers pulled within 81-70 at the end, but that was as close as they had been since in the first half.
Even having Tinkle in the game probably wouldn't have saved this game. Similar to the UW game OSU took USC's best shot, but this time they were not up to the challenge. Payton ended up with 19 points on 16 shots and Thompson had 17 on 15 shots. More or less defines the night for the Beavs.
A matchup with UCLA now looms large with Tinkle's status unknown going into a critical game that is likely needed to keep the Beavers in the NCAA tourney picture.