Corvallis, OR – At the start of this season most people wouldn’t have thought that Oregon State, coming off a 5-win season would be able to compete with Oregon, coming off a Final Four appearance. All those people would have been wrong as the Beavers ran away from the Ducks in the second half in a 76-64 Beaver win before 6,482 fans in Corvallis.
Oregon State was led by their top three players, 6-8 Tres Tinkle (19 points, 12 rebounds, five assists), 6-3 Stephen Thompson Jr. (16 points, six assists) and 6-10 Drew Eubanks (15 points, eight rebounds). However the heroes of the night came from unexpected places. 6-8 Seth Berger, a graduate transfer from UMass, came into the game averaging 2.4 points and 1.9 rebounds. Berger played his game of the season totaling 12 points, five rebounds and three assists. Berger scored seven points early but then came up big in a sequence in the middle of the second half with the Beavers up by six points. First, he scored off an offensive rebound. On the subsequent possession Berger grabbed another offensive board and passed to Kendal Manuel, who canned a three-pointer. A short time later Berger came up with a steal and a dunk which put Oregon State up by 13 points.
On the other side Oregon looks disjointed on both ends of the court. They shot poorly (36.2 percent overall, 27.6 percent on 3s), had poor ball movement, settled for poor shots and had little inside game. In the second half Oregon State was continually quicker to the ball, particularly in key sequences where they were able to grab offensive rebounds.
The Ducks haven’t done well in half-court sets all season and tonight was no exception. Paul White (16 points, six rebounds, five assists) kept Oregon in the game with 13 first half points as the Ducks trailed by only one point at the half. However, in the second half no one else stepped up as the Beavers pulled away. Oregon State had players they could depend on to get baskets when they needed it, while Oregon did not.
Point guard Payton Pritchard didn’t score in the first half. He tried to force the action in the second half and ended the contest with nine points on 3-of-10 shooting with only one assist and two turnovers. He didn’t get help from any of the other starters. Troy Brown Jr. (3-of-10 shooting, three turnovers), MiKyle McIntosh (4-of-11) and Elijah Brown (2-of-9) all shot poorly. Elijah Brown was pulled from the game with four minutes remaining after a particularly poor step-back three-point attempt.
Oregon had intended on trying the get the ball in to 6-9 center Kenny Wooten more often. However, Wooten got into quick foul trouble, ended up fouling out after only 13 minutes of action and only took one shot. The Ducks also had trouble finishing inside due to the presence of Eubanks. Eubanks was credited with two blocked shots but altered quite a few more.
Most of Dana Altman’s teams tend to get better as the year progresses. It seems this year might be an exception as for whatever reason this team doesn’t seem to play cohesively and does have size limitations. Look or Altman to shake up his rotation as well as some player court responsibilities. Things don’t any easier for Oregon (11-5, 1-2) as they head to Arizona for two games next week and then play USC and UCLA at home the following week.
Meanwhile for the Beavers (10-5, 2-1) they’ve come a long way from last season’s disastrous results. Both teams have a ways to go but they seem to be heading in opposite directions.
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