Indianapolis, IN – Oregon State continued their improbable run through the NCAA Tournament with an impressive 65-58 win over Loyola Chicago to advance to the regional final. Ethan Thompson led the Beavers (20-12) with 22 points, hitting 2-of-3 from deep. Warith Alatishe added a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Oregon State is only the second No. 12 seed to ever get to the regional finals.
Oregon State won this game with their defense. Their zone helped contain the 6-9 Cameron Krutwig inside. The Beavers dropped back to double-team Krutwig when he had the ball, preventing him from finding teammates on cuts. Krutwig did score 14 points on 12 shots, grab 10 rebounds and dish out four assists but his impact on the game was limited. Loyola (26-4), a 50 percent shooting team coming into the game, could not hit their shots, whether they were open or contested. They made only 1-of-9 from deep in the first half and only were 1-of-13 on 3s before they started to connect late in the game. The Ramblers shots only 33 percent (18-of-54) overall and 21.7 percent (5-of-23) on 3s for the game.
Loyola’s defense bothered the Beavers, especially early in the game but the effectiveness of their defense decreased in the second half. Several Loyola players got into foul trouble which limited their aggressiveness on defense. The Ramblers 6-7 wing, Aher Uguak fouled out after scoring eight points. Oregon State shot 41.2 percent for the game but in the second half were a respectable 48 percent (13-of-27) and connected on a efficient 5-of-13 from deep in the game.
Once again, the Beavers got valuable impact from their bench. Maurice Calloo scored six important points, four in the second half when Loyola was getting close. Rodrigue Andela scored four first half points and added five rebounds and Tariq Silver added a big first-half three-pointer. Gianni Hunt helped run the offense and added four assists, three rebounds and two points over 20 minutes.
The Beavers couldn’t get going early and trailed 7-1 after six minutes. They took the lead 10-9 on a Calloo jumper with 8:17 remaining. After falling behind 16-13, Oregon State scored the final 11 points of the half, seven by Thompson, to take a 24-16 lead into the break. The Ramblers did not score for the last 5:48 of the half. The Beavers took control in the second half, extending the lead to 33-22 on a Jarod Lucas (8 points) three-pointer and then to 37-24 on a Thompson dunk. Loyola came back to make it a game with a 20-10 run to close the gap to 47-44 on a Uguak dunk but could get no closer. Another Lucas three with 1:01 left extended the lead to seven and basically put the game away.
Oregon State will go on the face the winner of the Houston – Syracuse game in the regional finals on Monday evening. The Pac-12 conference is now 10-1 in the tournament, by far the best of any conference.