Oregon State overcame a terrible shooting night to earn their sixth consecutive win, beating St. Louis by a score of 63-59. The game was played in Portland's Moda Center, but the home-state rims weren't friendly to the Beavers all night long. St. Louis didn't make things any easier either, as they leaned heavy on their scrappy style of play and attacked the offensive boards, a trait that forces their opponents to grind for wins.
A locked-in Oregon State might have handled St. Louis with ease, but once again the Beavers displayed many of the traits that have fans worried about their ability to maintain momentum. Still: it was another win. But it sure was ugly.
Here are some numbers:
26 - First-half points for Oregon State, their fewest scored in any first half this season. The Beavers went into the break down by a score of 29-26, and are establishing a worrisome trend in which they go into the half behind on the scoreboard. This game marked the third time in the last four contests that Oregon State was outscored through the opening twenty minutes.
4 - Points scored by Oregon State over a first-half span of 11 minutes and 25 seconds. Oregon State's lowest-scoring half of the year occurred largely because they managed to score just one field goal and a pair of free throws from the 11:43 mark to the 0:18 mark of the half. During that time, Oregon State went from being up 18-7 to being behind 27-22.
16.3 - Per-game scoring average for Stephen Thompson Jr. coming into the game. While the entire team struggled to score, Thompson Jr. was the only one of the Beavers "big four" that failed to sniff his per-game average once it was all said and done. Tres Tinkle (17.7 ppg) finished with 16 points, Drew Eubanks (15.3 ppg) finished with 12 points, and Ethan Thompson (10.7 ppg) finished with 11 points. Stephen Thompson Jr. finished with just seven points, a difference that is massive when playing in a game in which baskets are difficult to get.
2 - Potential game-clinching offensive rebounds for Oregon State. With the score 59-57 in favor of the Beavers and 1:06 left in the game, Ethan Thompson missed a free throw and Stephen Thompson Jr. corralled the miss. This allowed Oregon State to run the clock down to about 46 seconds, at which point Ethan Thompson missed a three-point shot. This time, Drew Eubanks grabbed the missed shot and the Beavers ran the clock down to 21 seconds before Eubanks made a layup to give Oregon State a four-point lead.
And still, despite all of the poor shooting and the poor play and the—dare I say it?—sometimes poor officiating that had the Portland crowd groaning all night long, the Beavers came away with a sixth straight win.
Which gives us one more number to know:
13 - Years since Oregon State last won six consecutive games. This current win streak is now the longest while under head coach Wayne Tinkle, and it matches the longest streak since the the 2004-05 season. That year the Beavers got off to a 10-3 start before finishing the year at 17-15 with a first-round loss in the NIT.
Oregon State (8-3) next plays at Kent State (5-5) on December 21st.