Oregon State is enjoying some early-season success, having beat Jacksonville State 70-69 in a contest that was tight from the tipoff to the final buzzer.
For those not familiar, Jacksonville State might sound like a small-conference pushover. That couldn't be further from the truth. The Gamecocks are small-conference but they are also big-time grit. Jacksonville State entered this game with a 7-2 record and made the NCAA Tournament last season after winning the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. They are well-coached and boast a dual-threat offensive attack that features excellent shooting from beyond the arc and tenacious offensive rebounding. This game was anything but a gimme for the Beavers.
These are the numbers that you should know:
81.1 - Average points per game scored by Jacksonville State prior to this game. Jacksonville State came into the contest averaging more points per game and a higher team field goal percentage than Oregon State this far into the season, but their 69 points against the Beavers were the second-lowest they've been held to so far this season and their 42.1 percent shooting from the field was well below their season average of 52.2 percent.
33 - Total seconds in the second half that Jacksonville State led in the game. After going into the half with a 36-33 lead, the Gamecocks saw that lead disappear in the first minute of the second half, and—though the game remained tight for the entire duration of the contest—Oregon State never gave up the lead again.
10 - Points off the bench for Kendal Manuel. The sophomore guard came into this game averaging just 2.7 points per game, so his efficient night (4-6 from the field) was a welcome contribution on a night in which Tres Tinkle (10 points) and Drew Eubanks (13 points) both struggled to score at their usual rates.
1.5 - Seconds remaining in the game when Oregon State called a timeout with a 70-69 lead. Jacksonville State had the ball, had already made a few attempts to win the game but had a kicked ball that stopped the clock and a blocked shot attempt that went out of bounds on the Beavers. With less than two seconds remaining, the Gamecocks needed a single bucket and the Beavers needed a single stop. Jacksonville State inbounded the ball from the baseline but solid defense by Oregon State forced the 7-foot Norbertas Giga to throw up a long shot that failed to hit anything and the Beavers escaped with a victory.
45.4 - Three-point shooting percentage for Stephen Thompson Jr. over the last three games. It seems that Thompson Jr. has found his stroke from beyond the arc. In the first seven games Thompson Jr. made just 7 out of 36 attempts from three-point range, but in the last three games he's knocked down 10 of 22 attempts. With Oregon State coming into the Jacksonville State game making just 28.1 percent (14th worst in the nation) of their three-point attempts, Thompson Jr. becoming a reliable sharpshooter would go a long ways in helping the Beavers compete in Pac-12 play.
5 - Consecutive wins for Oregon State, the most since Wayne Tinkle's first season with the program (2014-15). The Beavers have never won six straight with Tinkle at the helm.
Oregon State (7-3) next hosts St. Louis (5-5) on December 16th.