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Oregon State Basketball: Opponent Preview - Loyola Marymount Lions (Game 7)

Oregon State returns to Corvallis to kick-off a five-game, non-conference, home-stand.

NCAA Basketball: Loyola Marymount at Oregon State Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Loyola Marymount Lions (4-2)

  • Head Coach: Mike Dunlap (4th Season)
  • Top Performer: James Batemon (14.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG)
  • Points For: 77.4 PPG (158th)
  • Points Against: 78.0 PPG (T-281st)
  • Last Game/Streak: 87-66 Win v. Cal State-Los Angeles (1W)

The Skinny

After a rough start to the Advocare Invitational, Oregon State ended their trip to Orlando on a high-note against Marist.

Now, they’ll be hoping their newfound momentum carries over at home, where the Beavers begin a five-game home-stand against non-conference foes, starting on Saturday afternoon against Loyola Marymount.

The Lions, who currently sit at 4-2 on the season, have had a solid yet vastly unimpressive start to the season, which has included less than stellar wins over inferior opponents and confusing efforts against better competition. It’s that type of trend that should have Oregon State feeling confident about their chances against Loyola Marymount, especially back in the friendly confines of Gill Coliseum.

If the Beavers do expect to knock off the Lions (in a game that could potentially match the program’s win total against Division I opponents from a season ago), the first thing that head coach Wayne Tinkle and company will need to do is control the pace of play in the contest, as Oregon State has been known to struggle against open and free-flowing teams like Loyola Marymount.

Already this season, the Beavers have dropped games to Wyoming, St. John’s and Long Beach State, three teams who all play in similar end-to-end styles as the Lions.

Oregon State will also need to set their focus on containing at least two of Loyola Marymount’s bevy of scoring options, that begins with excitable junior guard James Batemon (14.8 PPG) and includes the likes of freshman forward Eli Scott (14.5 PPG), a high-powered talent who stars with the team’s second unit, and veteran Steven Haney (12.0 PPG), a stretch 6’ 6” forward with a lethal perimeter shot.

Other players capable of having a break-through performance are lined up and down the Lions’ roster, but their impressive individual nights are not always conducive to the team’s success. Sophomore guard Cameron Allen (8.8 PPG) has had his fair share of moments, but overall, he’s has lacked the necessary consistency to be a reliable piece for fourth year head coach Mike Dunlap.

Rookie big man Zafir Williams (8.2 PPG) and towering 7’ 3” Swedish center Mattias Markusson (7.3 PPG) are in the same boat, as well.

If the Beavers can force some parts of the Allen-Williams-Markusson trio to try and over-perform, instead of letting the usual suspects in Batemon, Scott or Haney go for a strong outing, there’s a great chance that this game could develop into a culmination of Oregon State’s recent improved play, instead of another let-down effort for the Beavers.

If not, Oregon State could find themselves into another highly-contested battle, that’ll take a full forty minutes (or more) to determine a winner.

Players To Watch

James Batemon (JR - Guard): A transfer from North Dakota State College of the Sciences who’s made a seamless transition to the Division I level, guard James Batemon has quickly emerged in his first season at Loyola Marymount as the Lions’ best all-around scoring option. The 6’ 1” play-maker is always capable of a career night at any given moment, especially if the Beavers allow Batemon to get some momentum going.

Eli Scott (FR - Forward): An important recruiting grab for head coach Mike Dunlap out of Chino Hills High School in California, freshman forward Eli Scott could be one of the key players for the Lions, that changes the program’s trajectory going forward. Through just six games, Scott has already had a profound impact on the team, averaging 14.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per contest.

Steven Haney (SR - Forward): The type of stretch forward that’s been known to give Oregon State some problems in the past, head coach Wayne Tinkle and his staff will be sure to have their scouting report ready for senior sharp-shooter Steven Haney. The last time Haney faced off against the Beavers (back in December of 2016), he took Oregon State for 16 points on 6-12 shooting from the field, including four three-pointers.

Game Info

  • Date: Saturday, December 2nd
  • Time: 2:00 PM PT
  • Location: Gill Coliseum (Corvallis, OR)
  • Coverage: Pac-12 Networks