On Thanksgiving Day, Oregon State took on undefeated St. John's in the first round of the Advocare Invitational. While the Beavers fell by only five points (82-77) and the Red Storm are a formidable foe (they are currently 5-0), the game was difficult to take any moral victory from due to how the loss played out.
There were good numbers and bad numbers to be gleaned from the contest—the bad numbers will make it painfully obvious just how close the Beavers were to a first-round victory.
4 - Number of Oregon State starters that scored in double figures. Stevie Thompson Jr., Ethan Thompson, Tres Tinkle, and Drew Eubanks all contributed for the first time this season. In previous games, two or even three of these four have played well. Game four of the 2017-18 season marked the first time that the top four players on this squad all shot well—they combined to shoot 20-38 from the field and accounted for 67 of the 77 Beaver points.
32:40 - Total minutes and seconds that Oregon State held the lead. Obviously, the game is only 40 minutes long. The Beavers didn't get lucky and make this a game—they played from the front nearly the entire contest.
44/46/88 - Respective percentages that Oregon State shot from the field, from three-point range, and from the free throw line. The Beavers shot better than St. John's in all three areas of the game.
2 - Total points scored by Beaver point guard Jaquori McLaughlin, and it's not that he was busy dishing out assists. The sophomore point guard had only two assists in the entire game. I understand that, of the five starters, McLaughlin is not the guy that Oregon State wants shooting the ball but he needs to keep the opposing defense honest. In 31 minutes of play McLaughlin tallied 2 points (on one shot from the field), 2 assists, and 2 rebounds.
14 - Total steals by St. John's. The Beavers played sloppy for much of the game, and head coach Chris Mullin's Red Storm squad plays an aggressive style of defense. They forced Oregon State into mistake after mistake, and capitalized on them often.
15, 10, 11 - In a game decided by only 5 points, St. John's had 15 more points off of turnovers than the Beavers had, 10 more second chance points than the Beavers had, and 11 more fast break points than the Beavers had. The Red Storm are aggressive, and the Beavers weren't able to withstand their pressure.
17-2 - Speaking of pressure, Oregon State held a 65-57 lead with 7:42 to play in the game. Over the next 5 minutes and 25 seconds, St. John's went on a 17-2 run that put the Red Storm in front 74-67 with only 2:17 to play. The Beavers never recovered.
21 - Number of total turnovers by Oregon State. There's a theme here, clearly. Oregon State should have won this game, they should be playing in the winner's bracket against Missouri tomorrow, and they should be getting Beaver Nation excited for the season that is unfolding. Instead, they committed an average of more than one turnover every two minutes and have fans of Wayne Tinkle's squad very concerned about their inability to take care of the ball. After four games, Oregon State is averaging nearly 16 turnovers per game, and nearly 20 per game in the last two games.
Oregon State (2-2) next plays Long Beach State (2-3) on Friday in the consolation bracket of the Advocare Invitational.