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Oregon State Basketball: Opponent Preview - Saint Louis Billikens (Game 11)

Oregon State will try to keep their hot streak going against Saint Louis.

NCAA Basketball: 2K Classic-Providence vs Saint Louis Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Saint Louis Billikens (5-5)

  • Head Coach: Travis Ford (2nd Season)
  • Top Performer: Javon Bess (15.0 PPG, 6.1 RPG)
  • Points For: 64.3 PPG (335th)
  • Points Against: 67.0 PPG (T-81st)
  • Last Game/Streak: 69-55 Win vs. Murray State (1W)

The Skinny

Sitting at 7-3 on the season, Oregon State has made some major strides as a program from a season ago.

Not only have the Beavers surpassed last year’s win total but the team is also on the verge of their longest win streak ever under head coach Wayne Tinkle. It’s a crucial step for a program trying to become regular contenders in the Pac-12. It’s also the sign of a team hitting their stride at one of the more important junctures in their season.

On Saturday night, Oregon State will hit the road and head to Portland, Oregon, to face off with non-conference foes Saint Louis, in the Dam City Classic at the Moda Center. After a disappointing showing in the Rose City last season, the Beavers should be hungry to give their more-Northern fans a better viewing this time around. It also may be a task that’s viable against a team like the Billikens.

While Saint Louis has made their own improvements from last season’s 12-21 campaign, head coach Travis Ford’s squad still ranks as one of the worst offensive teams in the land, as they average just 64.3 points per game. And while, not only is that mark noticeably low, but it also gives some strong insight into just what kind of style the Billikens choose to play. In general, Saint Louis is not a team who will want to fly up and down the court but instead, they would prefer to make the Beavers win the game in the half-court.

This is what Oregon State simply can’t allow.

The Beavers have flourished with a more opportunistic and free-flowing style of play, which has shown of some of the sheer offensive abilities of Oregon State’s more talents options in Stephen Thompson Jr., Tres Tinkle, Drew Eubanks and Ethan Thompson. To find their way to another victory on Saturday night, head coach Wayne Tinkle and company need to make sure the flow of the contest stays in their favor.

If not, the Beavers longest win streak in a few seasons could be in serious risk against the Billikens.

Players To Watch

Javon Bess (JR - Guard): A one-time Michigan State transfer who has blossomed into a much more featured role for Saint Louis, junior guard Javon Bess is the biggest piece of the equation for head coach Travis Ford, in what is now his second season in the Gateway City. While most of the praise was Bess is focused around his innate scoring abilities, the all-around contirbutions from the 6’ 6”, 220-pounder are really what sets this guy apart. Bess averages over 6 rebounds and 1.5 steals per contest, while still carrying a heavy scoring load and finding himself at the free-throw stripe with ease. If Oregon State has a main focus on their scouting report for Friday night, it’ll undoubtedly be Bess before anyone else.

Jordan Goodwin (FR - Guard): A high-volume talent who can be a benefit or detriment to Saint Louis on any given night, freshman Jordan Goodwin was one of head coach Travis Ford’s key recruiting gets, who will undoubtedly help change the trajectory of this program going forward. It’s just getting Goodwin through some of their growing pains that seems to be the task at hand at the moment. A player who is currently shooting 28.2% from the field on the season and has connected on just 3 of his 38 three-point attempts, it’s more famine than feast with Goodwin at most times. However, still expect the 6’ 3” rookie to heave up double-digit shot attempts on Saturday night.

Hasahn French (FR - Forward): Like Goodwin, French is an absolutely critical addition to the Billikens program, who Ford will rely on to instill his new culture for the years to come. In the long-term, French has all-league potential written all over him, as a likely nightly double-double talent. In the short-term, French packs a little less of a punch, currently averaging 8.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per contest. When the pieces all come together for French, he’ll be one of the most feared talents in the Atlantic-10. Until then, he’s just simply a name to remember on any Saint Louis scouting report.

Game Info

  • Date: Saturday, December 16th
  • Time: 7:30 PM PT
  • Location: Moda Center (Portland, OR)
  • Coverage: Pac-12 Networks