Oregon State head coach Wayne didn’t have to reinvent the wheel on Thursday night against UCLA.
No, instead his team simply had to continue to build on their improved style of play, as they fully controlled the pace and tempo of a grind-it-out affair at Gill Coliseum, as Oregon State would find a way to squeak by the Bruins for a 69-63 victory.
The win brings the Beavers to 11-7 overall on the season, with a 3-3 mark against Pac-12 teams.
UCLA falls to 13-6, with a 4-3 conference record.
After an almost unwatchable first twenty minutes of play, where both the Bruins and the Beavers shot under 35% from the field (and behind the arc), the game began to find more of a rhythm in the second half...a rhythm that severely favored the way Oregon State prefers to play.
The emphasis on half-court execution would go on to be the key for the Beavers, as UCLA never was able to insert their up-and-down flow on the game. Instead, Oregon State’s top-heavy balance helped all five of the team’s starters reach double-digits on the night, led by forward Tres Tinkle (16 points).
After combining for 14 of the team’s 31 points at the break, brothers Stephen Thompson Jr. (12 points) and Ethan Thompson (11 points) overcame a less than stellar shooting performance, to pace the team on both ends in the six-point victory. The forward combo of Drew Eubanks (12 points) and Seth Berger (10 points) also chipped in at key moments, especially as the rest of the team’s depth chart added just eight points in the game.
As for UCLA, star guard Aaron Holiday led the Bruins with 22 points, including an 11-12 night from the charity stripe.
The win solidifies Oregon State’s comfort playing at Gill Coliseum, where the program is now 9-3 overall this season. Away from home, the Beavers have limped to a 2-4 record.
However, for head coach Wayne Tinkle, he’ll take the wins in any fashion they come, especially against a group like the Bruins, who expect to annually challenge for a league title. After the game, Tinkle applauded the Beavers’ gifted adversaries, noting that “they’re such a talented team with so many weapons that until that final 5 or 6 seconds, we knew we didn’t have it in the bag.”
They Said It: “We know in this conference we’ve got to win games at home, so we’ve got to do whatever it takes. We have a great crowd that’s behind us, but that said, moving forward with games here and on the road we have to know what it takes, know what to do to close games out and get a win.” - Tres Tinkle (Oregon State)
Up Next: Oregon State will host USC on Saturday night at 5 PM PT.