The Oregon State Beavers have improved to have a winning Pac-12 record on the season.
The Beavers (10-7, 6-5) held on late in a 68-66 win over the Washington State Cougars (11-8, 4-8) to stretch the home-winning streak to four games. The last loss at Gill Coliseum was a 98-64 blowout to Arizona on January 14th.
Here are the key takeaways.
Oregon State's defense is for real.
For most teams in college basketball, I doubt the prowess of their defense because that success is normally is the result of 95% of men's college basketball teams being unable to run offensive sets correctly.
The Beavers may be that exception. Oregon State knows it's doomed if the opponent gets hot from behind the arc so they defend the three-point line better than anyone else in the conference and rotate on a string to shooter after shooter.
In Saturday's win, the Beavers held the Cougars to just 39.3% from the field and 33.3% from behind the arc while forcing 13 turnovers.
The highlight of Oregon State's defensive effort was bottling up Washington State guard Isaac Bonton who entered the game second in points per game in the Pac-12 with 18.8. Against the Beavers defense, he scored just seven points on 2-14 from the field.
Ethan Thompson closed the game.
After a scoreless first half, the senior guard hit a few clutch shots (either in the field of play or at the free-throw line following fouls) late to keep Oregon State in the game and then had a key and-one layup to extend the Beavers lead to two possessions with a minute remaining.
Thompson showed his composure Saturday to forget the poor start and finish strong, leading to a win.
Oregon State allowed too many second chances.
With how the Beavers play, every possession matters which is why Wayne Tinkle had to be frustrated to be doubled on the offensive glass 12-6, leading to 19 second-chance points for Washington State.
Thompson used a veteran pump fake for a layin and the foul to give Oregon State a two-possession lead late.
Isaac Bonton, who entered the game second in points per game in the Pac-12 with 18.8, scored just seven points on 2-14 from the field for Washington State.
"Really gutty win by the club," said Wayne Tinkle. "We told our guys [at halftime] 'Take care of the ball, rebound the ball, we win the game.'"
The Next Game
Oregon State travels to Colorado on Monday, February 8th at 4:00 p.m. PT on Pac-12 Network.