Corvallis, OR – Kylor Kelley, Oregon State’s 7-foot junior transfer from Lane Community College in Eugene, is rapidly coming into his own as one of the premier shot-blockers in the nation. He took things to another level in helping the Beavers’ 82-67 win over Pepperdine on Monday night, blocking a school-record nine shots to go along with 10 points and nine rebounds. Tres Tinkle added 21 points on 6-of-11 shooting, seven assists and five steals while Stephen Thompson Jr. scored 20 points.
Sophomore wing Alfred Hollins had his best game of the season, scoring 17 points on 6-of-9 from the field to go along with seven rebounds. Hollins banked in a long three-pointer at the close of the half to give the Beavers a 46-36 lead. He then scored five straight points in a 12-3 run at the start of the second half to extend Oregon State’s lead to 19 points and basically put the game out of reach. Sophomore Zach Reichle, a 6-5 lefty shooting guard made the most of his time in the first half, connecting on three 3s and scoring 11 first half points in a career-high 13 point performance.
Pepperdine, in Lorenzo Romar’s first year back as head coach, already has matched their six wins of last season. Romar has the Waves headed in the right direction with several promising underclassmen and 6-10 M.J. Cage, an Oregon transfer, taking the court next season. They should have a big improvement next year as they get more experience and Cage is integrated into the lineup.
Sophomore point guard Colbey Ross led the Waves with 15 points and eight assists while 6-3 senior Eric Cooper Jr. also added 15 points, although he shot an inefficient 3-of-10 from deep. Sophomore 6-4 guard Jade’ Smith (11 points, 6 rebounds) and 6-7 freshman Andre Ball (7 points, 5 rebounds) showed promise. Smith looks bigger than 6-4 and can guard multiple positions and Ball appears particularly gifted athletically.
Pepperdine was aggressive offensively and continually took the ball to the basket only to be rejected or intimidated by Kelley. At one point Kelley blocked two consecutive shots and after some time the Waves started hesitating when getting inside.
Oregon State had a 38-24 edge on the boards and a 10-0 advantage in blocked shots, thanks to Kelley. To move forward the Beavers need to take care of the ball better. They committed 20 turnovers, many of them unforced. If they can cut down on their turnovers and continue to get solid play from Kelley, Hollins and Reichle, they may make some noise in a down year for the Pac-12 conference.
The Beavers return to Gill Coliseum on Friday at Noon to face Kent State.