OSU men’s basketball has two home games left in the regular season

Rivalry implications and a hit to postseason hopes both made Saturday’s 91-81 Civil War loss for Oregon State one of the toughest defeats this season.

After the game, however, head coach Wayne Tinkle noticed a camaraderie uncommon for a team coming off a rivalry loss.

“When leaving the court, there wasn’t anybody hustling to get out of there,” Tinkle said. “I remember patting a couple guys, waiting for everybody. We all walked to the locker room together and showed that it was going to be a unified effort.”

If OSU can keep that cohesion intact this week, the Beavers could win two critical home games against Washington and Washington State, starting Wednesday at 8 p.m. against the Huskies.

“We know how big these games mean to us,” said junior guard Malcolm Duvivier. “As a team, we have to fight for each other, because we know how much we have left to play for.

Home Stretch

OSU has just four regular season games left, including these two home games and a pair of road contests versus USC and UCLA.

Washington and Oregon State both were tabbed as two of the eight closest teams to making the NCAA Tournament in ESPN’s projections, while CBS Sports still has the Beavers in the tournament as a No. 9 seed. With two weeks left and the Pac-12 Tournament to follow, OSU is still in the midst of the tournament picture but needs multiple key wins to get in.

“Our guys are very aware of what’s in front of us,” coach Tinkle said. “They’re aware (Washington is) a big game. I think the fact that we’re at home might help. They can relax a bit more.”

“They’re must-win games for us in our hopes of making the tournament,” added freshman guard Stephen Thompson, Jr.

Senior Day

OSU has its last two regular season home games this week, meaning Sunday will be Senior Day for OSU’s five seniors.

“I’m trying not to think about it too much,” said senior forward Olaf Schaftenaar. “I’m trying to treat it like it’s two very important games, which they are.”

OSU could potentially play at home in the postseason if the Beavers make the NIT, but NCAA Tournament games would be at neutral sites. Schaftenaar has no qualms about never playing in Gill Coliseum again if it means making the tournament.

“I’ve been here four years, I’ve played enough games in Gill,” he said. “It will be good if we can get a couple NCAA Tournament games in.”

Injury Update

Freshman forward Tres Tinkle has a tape job on his left hand due to a jammed thumb he sustained late in the Oregon game, but says he won’t be limited going ahead. Senior forward Daniel Gomis has not returned to practice since missing the last five games due to a stress fracture in his shin.

Side Star

Thompson, Jr. has been sporting a new look after a recent haircut, when he got a half star shape cut into the left side of his head. He said his barber came up with the idea.

“He asked me if I ever thought of getting anything different,” Thompson, Jr. said. “I said ‘yeah, I just didn’t know what.’ So he came up with this.”

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