Every conference has that team that—while rarely the more talented team from top to bottom—manages to keep games close through a combination of physical play and a willingness to win ugly.
In the Pac-12, Oregon State has quickly become that team. They don't have the program prestige of an Arizona or a UCLA, nor do they have the raw talent that an Oregon or an Arizona State does, but they do have workhorses.
Tonight, while hosting UCLA, the Beavers went to work. Their 69-63 victory wasn't very pretty, and it wasn't always fun to watch, but it was victory nonetheless.
Here are the numbers you need to know:
64.8 - The average number of points per game Oregon State has allowed through six conference games. In each of their six Pac-12 games, the Beavers have held their opponent to at least 10 points less than their season averages.
Colorado averages 74.3 points per game; they scored 57 against Oregon State.
Utah averages 74.9 points per game; they scored 66 against Oregon State.
Oregon averages 81.4 points per game; they scored 64 against Oregon State.
Arizona averages 82.7 points per game; they scored 62 against Oregon State.
Arizona State averages 87 points per game; they scored 77 against Oregon State.
UCLA averages 84 points per game; tonight they scored just 63.
10 - Second-half points for Seth Berger, after scoring zero in the first half. When this season began I remember watching Berger and thinking that the graduate transfer was destined to be nothing more than five fouls should Oregon State need to use them in a game. He looked like the least-athletic player on the floor, even in non-conference games, and he didn't contribute much when looking at box scores. There's a reason I don't get paid to evaluate Division I talent. As the season has progressed, Berger has strung together a handful of big performances. He's a grinder. And tonight: he might have been the difference between a win and another crushing loss.
5 - Players in double figures for Oregon State. All season long, it's been Tres Tinkle, Stephen Thompson Jr., and Drew Eubanks. Tonight the big three for Oregon State got a little help from the rest of the roster, as Ethan Thompson and Seth Berger also reached double digits in scoring. When the load is spread across five players, the Beavers are a much tougher team to handle than when they become reliant upon just three players.
18 - Straight games—every game this season—that Tres Tinkle has scored in double figures. The best player on Oregon State's roster hasn't taken a single game off. Tinkle, after missing nearly the entire season last year due to injury, is on a bit of a comeback tear this season. With 12 games to go before the conference tournament, Tinkle shows no sign of letting up—something that should encourage Beaver fans down the stretch.
Oregon State (11-7, 3-3) hosts USC (14-6, 5-2) on January 20th.