Corvallis, OR – Oregon State and UCLA both took undefeated Pac-12 records into the match-up in Corvallis with the Beavers taking control in the second half in a 79-66 win. 5,853 excited fans saw a mostly competitive game with both teams coming off exciting overtime victories in their previous contest.
The Beavers led for 15:53 of the first half with three early ties as they took a 32-26 halftime lead. Early on Kylor Kelley the nation’s leading shot blocker, scored 10 of the Beavers first 12 points with four emphatic dunks. Alfred Hollins also had seven points (3-4 FG, 1-2 FT) off the bench in the half. UCLA’s Prince Ali made a case that he was also a player to pay close attention to scoring eight points early on, as he effectively got to the free throw line and converted 4-of- 5 attempts.
The second half started off with a 3-pointer from Tres Tinkle to make the score 35-26, then Ali came right back with a 3-pointer of his own. Jaylen Hands hit two 3-pointers in a row to give the Bruins a 43-41 lead with 15:16 remaining but that was their last lead. The Beavers went on a run to close out the game, and now have a four-game winning streak as they take their first 3-0 Pac-12 start since the 1992-93 season. Oregon State had a balanced scoring attack with five players scoring in double figures. Stephen Thompson Jr.’s late dunk in transition with 54 seconds left gave the Beavers a 74-57 lead. Free throws really hurt UCLA, as they shot only 10-of-21 (47%) in the game.
Oregon State’s guard play from the Thompson brothers were a lethal combination tonight as they each scored 17 points with Stephen Jr. also adding six rebounds, six assists and two steals. Ethan also contributed six rebounds, six assists and two blocks, punctuated with an emphatic athletic dunk in the first half. 6-8 junior forward Tinkle’s return from an ankle injury was inspiring to his teammates as he dove on the floor on several occasions for loose balls. This energy was contagious as he scored 14 points (5-12 FG, 2-5 3PT, 2-5FT) and added six rebounds, six assists, five steals and one block. Tinkle’s footwork on the offensive end, with pivoting decision making is excellent. The 6-6 sophomore forward Hollins, had nice contributions on the game with his 11 points (5-8 FG, 1-3 3PT) and four rebounds. He is gaining confidence in shooting from long range as he is no longer hesitating on open shots. The 7-0 junior Kelley continues to make his presence felt. The athletic center carved out a really nice first half scoring 12 points (5-5 FG, 2-2 FT) with two rebounds and three blocks, while finishing the game with five blocks. He is constantly improving his footwork and touch offensively. Kelley wasn’t timid in competing and taking it to UCLA’s 7-1 Moses Brown.
UCLA has three 2019 NBA Draft prospects. 6-8 sophomore guard Kris Wilkes was the game’s high scorer with 21 points (8-22 FG, 4-11 3PT, 1-4 FT), to compliment his five rebounds and four assists. Although he did not shoot the ball particularly well this evening, Wilkes has a smooth, aggressive, and athletic game with a nice shooting touch. A quick athletic guard with good length to play the “2” or the “3”, he displayed the ability to create his own shot and impact the game on many facets. 6-3 PG Hands scored 12 points (5-10 FG, 2-3 3PT) with two rebounds and two assists He is a very talented quick point guard with the ability as a ball handler to be very shifty in changing direction, and can get anywhere on the floor with the ball. He has the ability to explode right past his defender with different gears. Freshman Center Brown, has a very bright upside with a strong physical presence. He can finish well in/and around the paint with either hand, He scored nine points (4-6 FG, 1-4 FT) on the evening to go along with nine rebounds and two blocks. Brown isn’t afraid of contact and is a presence in the paint on both ends of the floor. He needs to improve his shooting range at least up to the free throw line (15-feet) to become more effective. 6-4 junior guard Ali had a nice game The athletic and explosive guard scored 13 points (4-9 FG, 1-3 3PT, 4-5 FT) with three rebounds and two assists. He has the ability to get into the paint against contact and make shots or draw fouls.
Oregon State next travels to Arizona State for a Thursday game while UCLA visits USC next Saturday.