One-time Oklahoma State forward Maurice Calloo netted 15 points and 5 rebounds against his former team and star guard Ethan Thompson poured in 24 points - including a 13-14 day from the free-throw stripe - as Oregon State knocked off the Cowboys to move on the 2021 NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen on Sunday night, 80-70.
The Beavers improbable won, which likely ended the college career of NBA lottery prospect Cade Cunningham, also saw Jarod Lucas add 15 points and 6 rebounds, Roman Silva post 7 points and 12 rebounds and Warith Alatishe add 6 points and 12 boards too.
Oregon State will now go on to play #8 Loyola-Chicago later this week. Notes from both halves of the game can be found below and of course, a reference to Hoosiers.
10 feet. Just like back in Gill. pic.twitter.com/4SyX8jSVnj— Oregon State Hoops (@BeaverMBB) March 21, 2021
First Half Notes
Heading into the contest, Oregon State has two simple goals to keep Oklahoma State’s offense in check. One was to do the best they could against a ridiculous All-American talent in Cade Cunningham and two was to slow the tempo of the contest by keeping it in the half-court.
The first they attempted to do by using their own star Ethan Thompson as an equalizer in the match-up. But after Thompson was sidelined with early with foul trouble, the task looked to become more difficult. However, that was not to be the case as the Beavers pieced together one of their best first halves of the whole 2020-2021 campaign.
Oregon State tallied 44 points on a 12-29 shooting display from the field, which included a perfect 14-14 mark from the free-throw stripe and a connection of six of their ten three-point attempts. They also out-scored Oklahoma State’s bench by a 22-12 margin, which much thanks from forward Maurice Calloo - a former Cowboy player himself - who posted 15 points and knocked down three treys in the opening frame.
The battle between Thompson and Cunningham may have not lived up to the hype - the Cowboys star settled for just 8 points on a 2-8 period - but it wasn’t after the freshman phenom scored 6 of his team’s first 9 points. Meanwhile, the Beavers struggled out of the gate with a 1-11 start from the field, leaving the team’s 44-30 advantage at the break to be massively unexpected.
In the first twenty minutes, Jarod Lucas also had 11 points for Oregon State, while forward Dearon Tucker added 5 points on a perfect 2-2 outing in some surprise minutes. The Beavers also played ten players - which was without using forward Rodrigue Andela - a mysterious scratch from the team’s rotation.
Overall though, the Beavers defense was just as much of a story as their offense, as Oklahoma State shot 9-29 from the field as a team and was out-rebounded by a 27-14 margin.
Second Half Notes
To start the second half, an ugly back-and-forth display brought both teams to the first media timeout, with Oregon State’s Ethan Thompson and Jarod Lucas and Oklahoma State’s Kalib Boone sent to the bench with foul trouble. The one bright spot of the exchange for the Cowboys at least, was when Cunningham made his first field goal in over twenty minutes at the 17:26 mark with a three-pointer.
From there, Cunningham got going. The freshman fueled a 15-6 run for the Cowboys, which was snapped by a Tariq Silver fadeaway “and-one” that made the game, 52-45. Both teams were navigating deeper rotations due to an excess of foul calls and Oklahoma State was in the bonus (Oregon State with 8 fouls) with over 12 minutes left in the final twenty minutes.
A total of 14 fouls were called between the two teams in the first eight minutes alone. Not exactly what the fans are paying to see.
While the disjointed nature of a game with a high number of foul calls would seemingly favor the Beavers, the press of Oklahoma State’s defense was speeding up Oregon State’s offense into one that looked confused and completely out of sync. The inside-outside focus that they had and built their lead off of was completely dissipated as the programs set out for the final twelve minutes of the game.
A key post floater by Warith Alatishe with 9:39 kept Oregon State up by six, but even the Beavers zone defense couldn’t avoid the foul bonus issue through crucial times. A game of runs then ensued, yet Oregon State still held on to a 62-53 lead at the under-8 media stoppage.
A split Cunningham free-throw. A missed Cunningham three. A Cunningham foul that sent Ethan Thompson to the free-throw stripe. Mike Boynton made it clear who the game was going to be decided through. For the next minutes of the game, the reliance on the likely top-pick in the upcoming NBA Draft stalled out the Cowboys offense, fueling a 12-3 run by the Beavers.
At 4:58, Oklahoma State trailed by a 66-55 margin and were forced to call time-out to stop the bleeding.
Out of the break, Oklahoma State capitalized on quick 6-1 run, which then switched to a sweet “and-one” finish by Ethan Thompson off a fast-break block from Warith Alatishe. A shot of adrenaline for the Beavers then immediately became a step-back three and a three for Cunningham and at the 3:39 mark, Oklahoma State was suddenly only trailing by 3.
A huge turnaround jumper made by Ethan Thompson at the 2:35 mark pushed the lead back to 5 and a pair of Cowboys misses could’ve helped to put the game early. However, Jarod Lucas and Cade Cunningham were forced into a jumped ball scenario which game the Cowboys possession and eventually another pair of missed shots.
With 1:44 still left on the clock, Ethan Thompson was sent to the free-throw line and knocked down two free-throws to make it a 74-67 contest. One more stop. Oregon State needed it and they got it and when the game should’ve been put away, they needed it once again. Sometimes, great teams are called upon to do great things more than once.
Ethan Thompson stepped to the line again with 49.2 seconds left and knocked down another pair to put his team up 9. From there, all Oregon State had to do was salt the game away.