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Utah Edges Oregon State In Hard-Fought Thriller, 66-64

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It was a case of so close, but yet so far away for the Beavers on Sunday.

NCAA Basketball: Southern California at Utah Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

In the last twenty seconds on Sunday night, Oregon State had their fair share of chances to pull out an improbable victory.

With the Utes up by just two and the clock winding down, the Beavers missed three shots that would’ve given Oregon State at least a tie or the lead. Instead, they settled for a heartbreaking defeat, where missed three-point attempts and a slow start by forward Tres Tinkle simply came back to haunt them. In the end, it was almost more of the same from the Beavers.

Just simply not a full forty minutes of strong enough effort to win in the Conference of Champions.

To write Oregon State’s New Year’s Eve showdown as an embarrassing letdown would be more than wrong, as the Beavers have already improved leaps and bounds from last year’s 5-27 campaign. But for a team hopeful to find themselves with a post-season birth in their future, it was another puzzling setback, that will undoubtedly test the psyche of this group.

On the night, Oregon State was lead by their usual suspects in Tres Tinkle (14 points), Stephen Thompson Jr. (13 points) and Drew Eubanks (10 points) but they also got some newfound contributions from lesser-heralded talents in Alfred Hollins (8 points), Seth Berger (7 points) and Ronnie Stacy (6 points). Freshman Ethan Thompson, who has been playing at a strong level as of late, struggled to find his rhythm in the contest and finished with just 2 points on a 1-7 shooting performance from the field.

For the Utes, shifty guard Justin Bibbins (18 points, 6 assists) led the way, while big man David Collette (12 points) also chipped in an extremely efficient performance. The victory for Utah brings the boys from the Beehive State’s overall record to 10-3, which includes a perfect 2-0 start to the Pac-12 season.

The defeat drops Oregon State to 9-5 on the campaign, with a 1-1 mark in conference play.

Up Next: The Beavers will host arch-rival Oregon on Friday night (January 5th) in Corvallis, in the first match-up of the Civil War series this season. Tip-off time is scheduled for 7:00 PM PT and the game will be broadcast nationally on Fox Sports 1.