Corvallis, OR – A different type of college basketball season opened today. I was one of ten media allowed into Gill Coliseum to watch California play Oregon State in a non-conference game. The contest was scheduled after Colorado State dropped out of the MTE event here. Originally both Cal and the Beavers were scheduled to play the Rams and Northwest University. After Colorado State dropped out this match-up was substituted.
Both teams were rated near the bottom of the conference in the preseason conference media poll, with Cal predicted in 10th place and Oregon State last in 12th place. The Beavers looked the better team in this game, expanding a five-point lead at the half into a 14-point second half lead before coasting to a 71-63 win.
Warith Alatishe, a 6-7 athletic transfer from Nicholls State, led the Beavers with 16 points and eight rebounds. Ethan Thompson, Oregon State’s top returnee, had an off-game shooting (6-of-17) but played a nice floor game with seven rebounds and six assists and added a team high efficiency of +14 over his 34 minutes. 6-8 Rodrique Andela, another Juco transfer, led both teams with 11 rebounds, four of them off the offensive boards. Cal’s top returnee, 6-4 shooting guard Matt Bradley led the game in scoring with 21 points but was inefficient. He only connected on 1-of-7 three-pointers and shot 5-of-16 overall. Bradley was able to draw fouls, getting to the line 11 times and making 10.
As expected, the play started ragged but the efficiency picked up after a bit. The 6-5 Thompson, got off to a slow start for the Beavers, He started off 1-of-7 from the field and finished the first half with only four points. Thompson did add five assists and three rebounds. The Beavers were helped by some new roster additions. Alatishe led the Beavers at the half with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting as Oregon State took a 36-31 lead into halftime. 6-10 Maurice Calloo, a junior college transfer, showed a nice shooting touch (2-of-2 3PT) adding eight points while Andela led both teams with seven rebounds. Cal’s Bradley led both teams at the half with 11 points, but shot an inefficient 3-of-9, only connecting on 1-of-5 from deep.
Oregon State came out strong in the second half expanding their lead quickly to 13 points (49-36) on a lay-up by Alatishe. The closest Cal would get was five points with 1:38 left after Bradley was fouled on a three-point attempt and connected on all the free throws but the game was never in doubt.
Cal was done in by their poor three-point shooting. They only connected on 6-of-25 (24%) against Oregon State’s efficient 5-of-11. Ryan Betley, a transfer from Penn, was Cal’s only bright spot, shooting 3-of-6 from deep. The Beavers dominated the boards with a +11 advantage. They also made it to the foul line eight more times than Cal and had a 10-point advantage in points in the paint.
The two teams will both play Northwest University, an NAIA school from Washington, to close out the event. Cal will play them this afternoon while Oregon State will take the floor tomorrow.