After the Beavers won three games in three days, all against soon-to-be NCAA Tournament teams, head coach Wayne Tinkle exclaimed "the orange express is back!"
A little over a week later, that appears to not have been an exaggeration.
The No. 12 seeded Oregon State Beavers soundly defeated the No. 4-seeded Oklahoma State Cowboys, 80-70, to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1982. Ethan Thompson led the way with 26 points.
Heading into this weekend, the Beavers men's basketball program had not won a game in the NCAA Tournament in 39 years. Now, Wayne Tinkle has Oregon State as one of the last 16 teams standing, still alive for the National Championship.
Oregon State held a 44-30 halftime lead led by Oklahoma State transfer Maurice Calloo scoring 15 points through 20 minutes. Jarod Lucas added 11 points including a transition three-pointer to force a Cowboys timeout.
The 14-point halftime deficit was the largest of the season for Oklahoma State.
The Cowboys hit back-to-back three-pointers within ten seconds to erase a nine-point lead to just three points with 3:39 left in the contest. Later, the Beavers went on an 8-0 run of their own to take a nine-point lead with 24.3 seconds left.
Senior Ethan Thompson picked up his second foul with 12:07 left in the first half. With him on the bench, fueled by Lucas and Calloo, the Beavers extended a then three-point lead to as much as 18 points.
In total, after starting the game 1-11 from the floor, the Beavers went on a 36-13 run.
Future No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Cade Cunningham, struggled only scoring eight first-half points on 2 of 8 shooting. Heading into the game, Wayne Tinkle said the Beavers would need "all five men" to defend Cunningham and did just that, frequently blitzing ball screens.
Cunningham finished with 23 points on 6-20 from the field.
Oklahoma State missed 12 free-throws during the game while Oregon State hit a season-high 32 free-throws.
Oregon State will play No. 8 seed Loyola-Chicago in the Sweet 16 next weekend on Saturday, March 27 at 11:40 a.m. PT on CBS.