Corvallis, OR – Oregon State was given their first true test of the season tonight as a solid Valparaiso team came to town. The Crusaders (6-1) came off a tough six-point loss to a ranked Oregon team in a game that was tied late. They also sport a strong road win (58-55) against a solid Rhode Island squad.
The Beavers came into the game undefeated (4-0) with back-to-back road victories against Rice and UCSB. The team had a common opponent, Iona, who they each defeated by 20 points or more.
Valparaiso showed that Oregon State needs additional time in integrating their talented freshman class. The Crusaders used their experience in leading the game from start to finish in a 63-57 win. The Crusaders were led by two international players, 6-2 Canadian guard Tevonn Walker and LSU transfer Dutch-import Shane Hammink both with 15 points. Gary Payton II stuffed the stat sheet again with 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Beavers, but took an inefficient 25 shots. Valpo’s helped neutralize Beaver frosh center Drew Eubanks. Eubanks, impressive early in the season with his athleticism, was held in check by Valpo seasoned bigs 6-10 Vashil Fernandez and 6-9 Alec Peters (11 points, 12 rebounds). Eubanks only took one shot in the game. The Crusaders had a +10 rebounding advantage in the contest.
Valpo started the contest playing their game, distributing the ball well, playing good defense and shooting and rebounding well in taking a 34-25 halftime lead. Hammink came off the bench to score eight points, three baskets coming on dunks. Peters added eight points and seven rebounds while Tevonn Walker led the visitors with nine points. Payton II led Oregon State with nine points. Valpo had a +5 rebounding advantage and out-shot the Beavers, shooting a combined 46 percent vs. Oregon State’s 30 percent.
The Crusaders started the second half strongly taking a 17-point lead (48-31) before the Beavers responded with six straight points helped by a corner three from 6-7 frosh Tres Tinkle. Payton II added a three-point play off an offensive rebound to cut the lead to ten midway through the half. The Beavers stayed fairly close the rest of the way but were hurt by Valparaiso’s dominance of the offensive boards. On back-to-back trips down the court Crusaders had three possessions, then two in which they were able to take quite a bit of time off the clock. Stephen Thompson Jr. cut the lead to 61-55 with a three-pointer with 36 seconds left but that was as close as the Beavers would get.
Oregon State is off for the Thanksgiving holidays and doesn’t take the court until December 2nd against LMU. Valpo heads to yet another road contest against Ball State on Saturday.
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