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Oregon State Men’s Basketball Analysis: Oregon State vs Utah

The Beavers Win! The Beavers Win!

Oregon State was able to capture their first conference win of the season Sunday Evening as they upset the Utah Utes, 68-67. The Beavers were led by Stephen Thompson’s 31 points. Thompson hit the game winner with 11 seconds left in the ball game. The Beavers were able to force Utah’s Lorenzo Bonam to travel with the Basketball with 3 seconds left. Afterwards, the Utes fouled Gligorije Rakocevic on the inbound. After Gligorije Rakocevic missed two free throws, Utah’s Kyle Kuzma’s beyond half court heave feel short at the buzzer. The Beavers rallied from a 13 point Utah lead with less than 10 minutes in the game. In addition, the Beavers also trailed by 9 points with 3:23 left in the game. It was the Beavers first victory in Pac-12 play since March 5, 2016 when they defeated UCLA 86-82.

Here are the highlights.

Here are some takeaways from the Utah Game

Stephen Thompson Jr.

Thompson was unbelievable against the Utes. He scored 31 points including a key three pointer that cut Utah’s lead to one point with less than a minute, and he hit the most important shot, which ended up being the game winner with 11 seconds left. Thompson played with poise and confidence at the end of the game. In addition, he hit 4 crucial free throws late in the game, which Beaver Nation knows quite well that Stevie has struggled at the line all season. Stevie was 11-17 from the field and 5-9 from three point land. The Sophomore Guard continues to shine for the Beavers in a dark season. Thompson was able to lead the Beavers to their first conference win of the season, which was desperately needed by this team.

Solid Play on Defense Late in the Game

The Beavers effort on defense was one of the keys to the victory, especially down the stretch. Although, the Utes were able to shoot 51 percent from the field, the Beavers were able to force 17 Utah turnovers. In addition, the Beavers were able to limit Utah to 4 points in the last 3 points of the game. Credit Drew Eubanks for doing an excellent job protecting the rim.

Although, there were stretches in the game where Utah could do whatever they wanted, and the Beavers were not communicating effectively on defense, the Beavers were able to play solid defense at the end of the game, which was a major factor in the Beavers earning the win.

Final Thoughts

The Beavers will not go winless in the Pac-12. They were able to get their first win of the calendar year. This win was a much needed confidence booster for the young team. Credit Wayne Tinkle and his staff for getting his kids to keep battling in this lost season. It has been a rough, frustrating season. The players and the staff deserve to celebrate this one. There are 3 regular season games left. Can the Beavers sneak out another upset? Beaver Nation should just enjoy this victory for now, which should spark some hope for the future.