Someone just looking at the box score of Oregon State's 85-58 win over Arkansas Pine-Bluff would be inclined to think that the Beavers dominated a winless small-conference opponent, just as a major-conference team should. The truth is: Oregon State struggled for three-quarters of the game, and never really broke it open until the final 10 minutes.
It was the typical (and concerning) 2017 Oregon State performance, where the team played down to their opponent, played sloppy at times, played a little one-on-one hero ball, but then put together a stretch that displayed their potential. With a 6-3 record overall and only three more non-conference games, the Beavers have to figure out how to play a complete game before Pac-12 play starts. The conference games will be a notch more intense, and against athletes that are a notch (or two) more talented than some of the teams Oregon State has been playing.
Enough of that, though. Oregon State is on a four-game winning streak: something that hasn't happened since the 2015-16 season. Tonight we celebrate.
Here are some numbers:
1 - Number of head coaches suspended prior to this game. If it wasn't bad enough that Arkansas Pine-Bluff was playing more than 2,300 miles from home, or that they hadn't won a game in fifteen tries (dating back to last season), or that they had only two players averaging double figures in scoring, the Golden Lions had to take on the Beavers without their head coach. Arkansas Pine-Bluff suspended head coach George Ivory prior to the game for undisclosed reasons.
3 - Halftime deficit for Arkansas Pine-Bluff against Oregon State. Through the first nine games of the season, Arkansas Pine-Bluff failed to enter a single halftime with a lead. While this trend was extended to 10 games against the Beavers, the concerning thing is that Arkansas Pine-Bluff had entered halftimes with an average deficit of 11.3 points this season. The Beavers let a winless team that ranks near the bottom in the country in every major statistical category hang around for the entire first half.
54.5 - Percentage of three-pointers made (6-11) by Arkansas Pine-Bluff in the first half. The Golden Lions, who entered the game averaging only 28.6% from beyond the arc, gave the green light to Joe'Randle Toliver in the first half and he shot 4-5 from deep. His 12-point first-half outburst nearly quadrupled his season average of 3.4 points per game.
The second half was a different story.
24 - Points that Arkansas Pine-Bluff scored in the second half, while Oregon State scored 48 points. The Golden Lions saw their hot hands go cold in the second half, as they shot just 2-7 from three-point range in the second half.
4 - Total points scored by Arkansas Pine-Bluff's per-game leading scorer, Martaveous McKnight. Coming into this contest, McKnight was averaging 17.9 points per game but shot just 1-10 from the field against the Beavers.
13 - Points off the bench for Alfred Hollins. I can't recall if Hollins played in the first half at all, but his presence was obvious in the second half as he provided a spark for a struggling Beavers team. Hollins made all four shots from the field that he attempted in the game and was also aggressive with his play, earning six shots from the free throw line.
22-25 - Free throws made and attempted by Oregon State in the game, compared to Arkansas Pine-Bluff's 8-10 performance. The Beavers can't shoot the three. Yes, Tres Tinkle can knock a few down and once in a while Stephen Thompson Jr. gets to feeling it from deep, but on the season Oregon State's three-point percentage ranks among the bottom 20 teams in the country. This means they have to attack the basket, get acrobatic layups from Tinkle and the Thompson brothers, get dump passes to Drew Eubanks for dunks, or get fouled. If the Beavers can get twenty points from the free throw line every game, they'll be able to hang around with most teams.
19-0 - The run that Oregon State went on with 10:26 remaining in the second half. In a game that was surprisingly tight for the first 30 minutes, this was the run that broke open the game and made the final score seem like Oregon State cruised to a win. When the run began, the score was 57-49 in favor of the Beavers, and 4 minutes and 40 seconds later, with only 5:46 remaining in the game, the score had been stretched to 76-49.
Oregon State (6-3) next hosts Jacksonville State (7-2) on December 12th.