The Oregon State Men’s Basketball team struggled to overcome the Arizona State in their PAC-12 home opener on Thursday, Jan. 9 at Gill Coliseum. The loss came after the Sun Devils held the lead over the Beavers for most of the game.
The 76-82 loss put the Beavers at 11-4 for the season with a 1-2 PAC-12 record. The Sun Devils climbed to 10-5 heading into their matchup versus Oregon and placed them at 1-1 in the PAC-12.
Oregon State started the PAC-12 season 1-1 after losing to the Utah Utes on Jan. 3. This has been the best start for the Beavers in PAC-12 play since former OSU point guard Gary Paytons’ senior 1989-90 season.
From tip-off, the Sun Devils played aggressively and strong with the ball. The Beavers competed but ended the first half down 11 points to Arizona State with a score of 25-36.
Both OSU junior guard Ethan Thompson and senior forward Tres Tinkle each put up 22 points for the Beavers while ASU junior guard Remy Martin led the Sun Devils with 24 points.
“I have confidence in this team every single night we step on this court,” Thompson said about the team’s younger roster.
OSU senior forward Kylor Kelly was the only other player for OSU to get into the double digits and scored 10 points against ASU.
“I think just coming out of the gate with the jump, it's been a thing where we wait until the last couple minutes to make it run, play with some passion,” Tinkle said. “I don't think it's been anything crazy they're doing defensively….We need to stop our bad shots at the rim and giving them too many looks defensively. We gotta come out of the jump aggressive, myself included.”
Tinkle has been named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 and is closing the gap between himself and Payton who currently is the all-time leading scorer in Oregon State Men’s Basketball history. Tinkle needs 214 more points to surpass Payton during his senior season.
With 9:34 left in the game, the Sun Devils took their biggest lead at 62-45 thanks to Martin's jump shot. Soon after, Arizona State fouled OSUfreshman guard Jarod Lucas, sending him to the line where he sank both free throws. Shooting stats at .762 behind the line, Lucas holds the California record for career free throws and showed his skill at the line.
Arizona State soon retaliated, successfully keeping the score in their favor despite Oregon State's best efforts.
“It was a tough loss, tough way to open things up at home….We showed some fight but we have got to get a lot better defensively. I mean on the ball, off the ball, at the rim,” OSU head coach Wayne Tinkle said. “For whatever reason, all the things we worked on, we are just too inconsistent with it.”
Tinkle also recognized the Beavers’ inability to beat the Sun Devils in battling for the ball.
“They were very aggressive. They were reaching, scratching, clawing, hacking and we were very soft with the ball,” Tinkle said.
Tinkle said the team will also need to be working on their defense this season to better compete with the PAC-12 this season.
Oregon State hosted the Arizona Wildcats on Sunday, Jan. 12 in Gill Coliseum. The Beavers will then travel north to play both Washington and Washington State.