North Dakota Fighting Hawks (6-7)
- Head Coach: Paul Sather (1st Season)
- Top Performer: Marlon Stewart (15.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG)
- Points For: 77.2 PPG (87th)
- Points Against: 71.4 PPG (235th)
- Last Game/Streak: 75-74 Win at Nebraska (2W)
- Conference Affiliation: Summit League
Before the 2019-2020 season began, it was hard to tell what the key to the Beavers success would be. Quickly, it was found out that a solid offensive tempo would give Oregon State the flexibility that they needed to get the ball rolling. However, in their setback on the road at Texas A&M, the lack of ability to inject their style against a slower-paced Aggies squad sealed their fate.
In the team’s two defeats this season, Oregon State is averaging just 59.0 PPG, a 19-point drop from their overall season average, as they’ve struggled to find balanced scoring from players not named Tres Tinkle. Yet, when the Beavers are firing on all cylinders offensively, the team is finding other options to rely on more consistently.
The issue now is, how can you tell what Oregon State team will show up to play on Sunday. For the hopes of Beaver Nation, it better be the optimized scoring edition.
Against North Dakota, the Beavers should work to find that consistency on the defensive side of things, where they’ll will desperately need to make it a tough day at the office for senior guard Marlon Stewart (15.2 PPG). Stewart is an all-around impact player who also averages 5.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists per contest, while shooting a fairly efficient 43.4% from the field. The 6’ 3”, 200 pounder is the head of the snake for North Dakota, who can spark the team’s offense at any given juncture.
Up front, Paul Sather’s group is anchored by Filip Rebraca (14.2 PPG), a tough Serbian forward featured below in our Player to Watch. His ability to work cohesively with fellow big Kienan Walter (10.6 PPG), a more perimeter based threat, has set the groundwork set for what is a rather thin North Dakota forward grouping.
One player to also keep an eye on for this North Dakota squad is freshman wing De’Sean Allen-Eikens (13.7 PPG), a surprise talent who may contend for Summit League Newcomer of the Year if he continues to progress. Allen-Eikens has reached double-figures in six of his last seven games, only missing the plateau in two contests all year, and is second on the roster in rebounds with a 5.2 RPG average. He also leads the youth movement for this group, while veterans like Billy Brown (4.8 PPG) log heavy minutes as a strong decision-maker.
In all, this is a really tough opponent to gauge for Oregon State at the moment. With the program returning to Corvallis, where they’re currently unbeaten on the year, the Beavers should be the better team. However, North Dakota does a strong job controlling the flow of their games and usually has a few players that can get going at different times. Oregon State should be able to handle this one, but they also should’ve been able to manage a road trip to Texas A&M.
This group now has more to prove and they can not afford another letdown before the start of league play. The Beavers need to take care of business on Sunday.
Player To Watch
Filip Rebraca (Forward - Sophomore)
The 6’9” forward from Serbia has been a game-changer since his arrival on campus, performing this season as a regular double-double candidate for the Fighting Hawks. In the team’s upset win on the road at Nebraska, Rebraca posted 15 points and 11 rebounds in 39 minutes of action. Durable, versatile and endlessly impactful, Rebraca is a regular headache while on the floor for opponents for North Dakota.
- Date: Sunday, December 29th
- Time: 3:00 PM PT
- Location: Gill Coliseum (Corvallis, OR)
- Coverage: Pac-12 Network