Sometimes, it’s just not your night in the world of college basketball.
It’ll be hard to argue with what Oregon State brought to the table on Thursday night against Arizona, as the Beavers scratched and clawed their way to a one-point halftime lead against the nation’s seventeenth-ranked Wildcats. However, over the course of the full forty minutes, it ended up being Arizona’s talented stars who outplayed Oregon State’s own key pieces, as head coach Sean Miller’s squad escaped at home with a 62-53 victory over the Beavers.
The win brings Arizona to 13-4 overall on the season and 3-1 in conference play, while the loss means Oregon State drops to 10-6 overall with a 2-2 mark against league foes.
As expected, the bulk of the damage from the Wildcats came from the Allonzo Trier (21 points), Deandre Ayton (14 points) and Rawle Alkins (11 points) trio, who combined to score all but sixteen of their team’s total points in the contest. Trier also connected on a team-high four three-pointers, while Ayton lead the group in rebounds with 10 boards. Alkins chipped in an impressive three steals as well.
For Oregon State, forward Tres Tinkle remained as the team’s main offensive option, tallying 18 points and 9 rebounds to lead the group. Second leading scorer Stephen Thompson Jr. ended as the only other Beaver to notch double-figures in the game, pitching in 12 points on a 5-11 performance from the field. Combined, forward Drew Eubanks and swingman Ethan Thompson added their own 12 points on a very inefficient 5-19 shooting display.
Post-Game Thoughts: While moral victories are not a thing at this high of a level, it’s hard to ignore the effort put forth by the Beavers in this one. Does Tres Tinkle need to find a way to score without turning the ball over seven times? Of course, he does. Just like head coach Wayne Tinkle still needs to discover depth on this team that can contribute more than a handful of minutes per night. But to think that the Beavers could take a team like Arizona to the wire after last year’s meltdown of a campaign, is to show that the tide is definitely changing around this Oregon State program for the better.
What this loss maybe showed more to Beaver Nation than anything is that this year’s group is a remarkable improvement from a year ago, but simply a group not ready to take the leap to an NCAA Tournament level quite yet. However, there’s few teams in the country that feel like they have a surprise victory in them every night like Oregon State does. I’m not calling an upset per say, but don’t be surprised in the slightest if Saturday’s clash against the Sun Devils ends up finishing as a forty minute affair as well.