After an early January road victory at rival Oregon, questions still lingered about who was the best college basketball team in the Beaver State. In that contest, the Ducks were still learning to play with freshman phenom Bol Bol and were still considered contenders for a Pac-12 crown, despite many of their previous missteps.
Fast-forward to a month later, and Saturday night’s clash between the two Civil War counterparts produced yet another win for the Beavers, as Oregon State overcame a one-point half-time deficit, en route to a convincing 72-57 victory.
Propelled by a re-energized second half effort, in which the Beavers outscored the Ducks by a 45-29 margin, Oregon State was led (yet again) by their trio of usual suspects in Stephen Thompson Jr. (22 points, 4-8 3PT), Tres Tinkle (13 points, 7 assists) and Ethan Thompson (10 points, 4 assists). However, head coach Wayne Tinkle also got strong contributions from center Gligorije Rakocevic (10 points), who hit the double-digit mark with thanks to a perfect 4-4 night from the field.
Swingman Alfred Hollins (8 points), center Kylor Kelley (6 points) and reserve guard Antoine Vernon (2 points) were the only other Oregon State players to score in the contest.
For Oregon, the Ducks were hindered by 18 turnovers in a game where nobody outside of Louis King (20 points) and Paul White (12 points) made any positive scoring impacts. Oregon’s lead guard and usual leading scorer Payton Pritchard (4 points) finished with 7 assists in the contest, but he couldn’t get the gears turning on an inconsistent attack.
Despite the Ducks shooting a solid 20-45 (44.4% from the field) and outrebounding the Beavers by a 34-27 margin, the pieces never quite fell into place for the boys from Eugene. Head coach Dana Altman’s team now falls to 15-10 on the year with a 6-6 record in Pac-12 play.
As for the Beavers, Oregon State moves to 16-8 overall and is now situated behind only Washington in the league standings with an 8-4 conference mark.
The victory could also propel the program back into the NCAA Tournament bubble conversation, as they’ve been lingering in and out of different bracketologists’ “Next Four Out” projections over the past few weeks. If the Conference of Champions is to send two teams to the big dance down the road, the Beavers may be making a case for their name to be the one called.
Up Next: Oregon State will travel to the City of Angels on Thursday to meet up with a struggling UCLA squad. The game is scheduled for an 8:00 PM PT tip and will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.