Wayne Tinkle

The Oregon State Cinderella story vanished just as quickly as it arrived

The Oregon State Cinderella story vanished just as quickly as it arrived

LAS VEGAS - With the Pac-12 Tournament wide open, it appeared this season could be Oregon State’s chance to take the crown. The Beavers (18-13, 10-8 Pac-12) earned a coveted first round bye, finished with their best conference record since the 1989-90 season and had a veteran team full of playmakers. Alas, the Oregon State Cinderella story vanished just as quickly as it arrived, losing to Colorado, 73-58, in the quarterfinals.

Also maybe gone? Oregon State’s chances of making the NIT tournament. The Beavers were a bubble team and a win over fifth-seeded Colorado (21-11, 10-8)  would have been a good and needed resume boost. Instead, the Beavers depart Las Vegas with Selection Sunday outcome looking gloom and out of their hands. If the CBI Tournament calls, OSU could accept an invitation to the smaller postseason tournament. 

Following the loss, OSU coach Wayne Tinkle held out hope for the NIT, “We’ll see,” Tinkle said. “My take is; if it’s the right situation, these guys have had a remarkable year and have earned an opportunity… But we’ll take that as it comes down the road.” 

Seems a shame that a season full of highs should end abruptly in Las Vegas during OSU’s first game that showcased many lows. Oregon State’s 18 first half points were the lowest of the season and its five total assists were also a low. The Beavers did not make a three pointer in the first half, despite the nine attempts from beyond the arc.

Another low; Fourth-seeded OSU was the first higher seeded team to be “upset” in the conference tournament.

OSU trailed by as many as 21 points in the first half but roared out of the locker room after halftime, coming to life for a second half comeback that would eventually fall short. The Beavers cut the deficit to six points with two 10-0 runs and exciting play from Tres Tinkle, Ethan Thompson and Stephan Thompson Jr., all which reached double-digit scoring marks.

Tinkle led the Beavers with 23 points, his fifth-consecutive game scoring 20-plus.

Colorado took back the momentum, extended its winning streak to five games, and eliminated the Beavers.

"They came out and made shots, got confident and we just didn't really do much to try to stop it," Tinkle said. 

The Cinderella story quickly turned scary; The Beavers' flat start doomed them from the start and sent them packing back to Corvallis.

Will Oregon State's record season lead to the Pac-12 Tournament crown?

Will Oregon State's record season lead to the Pac-12 Tournament crown?

Records: Oregon State (18-12, 10-6 Pac-12), Colorado (10-8, 20-11 Pac-12)

The fourth-seeded Beavers earned a coveted first-round bye in the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament. Oregon State will face No. 5 seed Colorado, who beat No. 12 seed California 56-54 in the first round on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals.

Why watch?  The winner of the Pac-12 Tournament gets the conference’s automatic bid to the to NCAA Tournament. Since any team can get hot in the tournament… Will it be OSU who takes the crown and heads to the big dance?

The Beavers are having a record season and have some of the Pac-12's veteran playmakers, including redshirt junior Tres Tinkle, who was named to the All-Pac-12 First Team earlier this week. Oregon State finished with its best conference record since the 1989-90 season, earning the highest seed in the tournament since that season.

On the line: Most projections have OSU on the outside of the NIT Tournament. A win over Colorado would boost Oregon State’s resume and likely send them back into the NIT field, so the season doesn’t end in Las Vegas.

In regular season: Oregon State played Colorado one time this season and won 76-74 on Jan. 31 on the road in Boulder, CO.

Fun Fact: Colorado coach Tad Boyle is the only Pac-12 coach to win four straight tournament games and claim a tournament title, accomplishing the feat in 2012.

Top Beavers:

Tres Tinkle is on fire, scoring 20-plus points in four consecutive games and posting four double-doubles in the last six games. He’s been particularily dangerous from beyond the arc in the last four games, shooting 50.0 percent (12-for-24) from three-point range. The redshirt junior finished second in the Pac-12 in scoring (21.4) in conference games.

Colorado will have its hands full with junior forward Kylor Kelley, who leads the Pac-12 and is second in the nation in blocked shots per game (3.4).

When senior Stephen Thompson Jr. goes, the Beavers go. OSU is 17-7 when he scores in double figures and 1-5 when he scores less than 10 points.

Buffs to keep an eye on

The win over Cal extends Colorado's winning streak to four games, which much thanks to sophomores Tyler Bey and McKinley Wright IV, both of whom earned first-team all-conference honors earlier this week.

Bey was also named the conference's Most Improved Player. He leads Colorado at 13.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game while shooting 56 percent from the field. He is the co-leader in the Pac-12 in double-doubles with 14.

Wright is averaging 13.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game while leading the Buffaloes in assists (142) and steals (33). 

How and where to watch

Time: Thursday, March 14, 2:30 p.m

Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada

TV: Pac-12 Networks

 

Back to basics for Oregon State with the Washington schools coming to town

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Back to basics for Oregon State with the Washington schools coming to town

The Oregon State men’s basketball team was a perfect 3-0 in Pac-12 conference play before running into a wall that was Arizona and Arizona State. After back-to-back losses in the desert, the Beavers return home to face their rivals up north in Washington State and Washington. 

On Tuesday, head coach Wayne Tinkle addressed the media regarding the struggles Oregon State encountered in Arizona: “We didn’t defend very well and didn’t rebound. That’s simple, but it’s what it came down to…”

“I don’t know if anyone has had a tougher go at the first five games,” says Tinkle of their start to conference play. “At Oregon, at Arizona’s, vs. L.A.’s at home. We weren’t happy with how we played, but knowing where we stand right now with five out of the next seven at home, we’re in a good spot. Just got to get back to doing the things we’re supposed to.” 

Let’s preview Washington State and Washington:

Records: Oregon State (11-6, 3-2 Pac-12); Washington State (8-10, 1-4 Pac-12); Washington (14-4, 5-0 Pac-12)

Game times: WSU @ OSU: 8 PM (PT) tipoff on Thursday, Jan. 24; UW @ OSU: 1 PM (PT) tipoff on Saturday, Jan. 26.

Players to watch for (Washington State Cougars):

This is Robert Franks’ team. The senior forward has stuck with head coach Ernie Kent’s program through think and thin. This season, Franks is averaging 21.5 points per game and 7.8 rebounds, but has missed several games due to injury. He returned last week vs. California and Stanford. 

His counterpart is junior Carter Skaggs, who has the 6’5” 215 lbs frame of a brick wall with a killer jump shot. Alongside Skaggs is shifty CJ Elleby, who in his freshman season is averaging 15.8 points per game and 7.0 rebounds per game, which is huge from the guard position. 

Matchup to watch: Elleby/Franks vs. Thompson Jr./Tinkle. In order to slow down Elleby and Franks, the key is to make them uncomfortable by matching their physicality and pace.

Note: WSU head coach Ernie Kent is 20-12 all-time against Oregon State as a head coach, including his 13 years at Oregon. 

 

Players to watch for (Washington Huskies): 

The Huskies love to play a typical 2-3 defensive zone, and why would they do anything else when you’ve got 6’5” guard Matisse Thybulle with his 7’ wingspan. Thybulle is leading the conference in steals per game (2.7), and blocks per game (2.3). 

On the offensive side of the ball, you have to shadow sophomore guard Jaylen Nowell, who is the fifth leading scorer in the conference (16.7 ppg) and is very, very good at creating a shot for himself. Alongside Nowell is senior guard David Crisp, who has started every game since his sophomore season. HIs game experience and basketball I.Q. is a huge asset to this young Huskies team. 

Senior forward Noah Dickerson has played in 30+ games for the Huskies since his freshman season (2015-2016). Now, as a senior, he is still dominating under the basket. He may not be the leading scorer or grab as many rebounds as someone of his size should, however, he is the emotional leader of this team.

Matchup to watch: Dickerson vs. Kylor Kelley. Recently named to the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year midseason watchlist and with good reason: he leads the Pac-12 conference in blocks per game (3.9). One advantage Dickerson has over Kelley though is a big one, quite literally: Dickerson is 30 pounds heavier. Kelley must match Dickerson’s aggression.

The Huskies do not score a lot of points. In fact, they are currently 10th in the conference at ppg (72.6). It is their defense powered by that zone that make them difficult. If the Beavers can find their rhythm from behind the arc as well as rebound the ball and get second chance opportunities, Oregon State may run away with this one. 

Note: Early tipoff. The scheduled 1 PM (PT) tipoff is the earliest game that the Beavers have played so far during the regular season. It will be vitally important to start quickly especially against the Huskies. 

Oregon State leaves Las Vegas betting on a bright future

Oregon State leaves Las Vegas betting on a bright future

LAS VEGAS - No. 12-seed Oregon State had no business hanging close with No. 5-seed California in the first-round of the Pac-12 Tournament Wednesday afternoon at T-Mobile Arena.

But there the Beavers were trailing by just two points with a minute remaining and the ball in hand with a chance to steal a season-making win at their fingertips. 

Instead of seizing the moment, however, OSU freshman guard Kendal Manuel's three-pointer on a fast break resulted in an air ball that led to a Cal fast break the other way. Golden Bears senior guard Jabari Bird threw down a dunk and was fouled to give Cal a 62-57 lead following the made free throw with 54 seconds remaining. The Beavers were cooked and so to was their disastrous season. 

An emotional Wayne Tinkle responded after the game not by lamenting the loss but instead by praising his team for how it played today and how it responded all season to a series of adversities. OSU was hit hard by injuries and player departures, forced and unforced, that depleted the roster and led to a 5-27 season just a year after going 19-13 and reaching the NCAA Tournament. 

"Absolutely love each and every one of them," Tinkle said. "We went through quite a storm this year with a lot of curve balls thrown at us. They brought it every day. Great attitude. Great effort. Great energy. I'm supper proud for them for hanging in there."

As fate would have it, OSU had another player go down on Wednesday when forward Drew Eubanks injured his knee after scoring six points with four rebounds in 22 minutes. 

"We're playing our tails off and right there we lose one of our leaders," Tinkle said.

That was the story of the season. Players dropping like flies and the rest of the group trying to keep the ship afloat. Tinkle said that one of the key elements that held the team together was the support of the fans. 

"The majority of them stayed behind us," he said. "This is just an incredible group that's going to grow leaps and bounds with all we've faced."

The Beavers are a young team led primarily by sophomores and freshmen. Their best player, Tres Tinkle, the coach's son, played just the teams first six games before a foot injury did him in.

"We had some crap not go our way and you learn how to deal with it, be a better person because of and move on," Tinkle said. 

Tres Tinkle will be back, along with Eubanks, a sophomore, and freshman guard Kendal Manuel and sophomore guard Stephen Thompson Jr.   Forward Gligorije Rakocevic is also a sophomore. 

The realities of being so young and so banged up gave Manuel and Thompson reason to be optimistic about the team's immediate future.

"We've had a lot thrown at us this year. The main thing we can take from this year is that we kept battling," Thompson said. 

Said Manuel: "This is just going to help us go into the offseason and have that mindset that we don't want to ever have something like this happen again."

Oregon State will get healthy. It will get bigger, stronger, faster and more skilled.  Mostly, the Beavers will have the sting of a 5-27 season to learn from. The future, they believe, is bright. 

"Hopefully," Thompson said, "we got it all out of the way and come back next year and if everyone stays healthy, I think we can be a special team."