Beavers reach tipping point after Civil War loss

Five of OSU’s players take a moment to collect themselves after the Beavers’ 91-81 road loss to Oregon. From left are Stephen Thompson, Jr., Malcolm Duvivier, Drew Eubanks, Gary Payton II and Tres Tinkle.

OSU hoops have time to right the ship after losses

It’s a good thing for the Oregon Ducks that the Civil War is played twice each year.

Saturday’s home win for Oregon, in which the Ducks held a 25-point second half lead over Oregon State before cruising to a 91-81 victory, was essentially the polar opposite of the Jan. 3 home win for OSU, when the Beavers held an 18-point second half advantage and ended with a 70-57 win.

The script from the second Civil War was flipped 180 degrees from the first, with just about every aspect in the Beavers’ favor slipping the other direction.

OSU had five more rebounds in the first Civil War but had five fewer in the second game. Oregon had nine second chance points on Jan. 3 but totaled 16 on Saturday. Same goes for points in the paint: 24 Duck points in the first game, 36 in the second.

But, if opposite circumstances continue to be the trend for OSU, that might not be such a bad thing for the Beavers; that is, following a game against Oregon by going in the opposite direction after that win or loss. After all, OSU followed its victory over Oregon on Jan. 3 by losing the next game, four of the next five and six of the next eight. 

If the Beavers can go from a big win to some tough losses, maybe they can use a tough loss as a springboard for some big wins.

It’s not the conventional method, but then again, Saturday’s Civil War was anything but a normal game.

The Ontario-born Dillon Brooks got a technical foul — aren’t Canadians supposed to be nice? — Elgin Cook missed a dunk but the ball shot several feet up in the air and dropped back in the hoop and Dwayne Benjamin banked in a shot clock-beating 24-foot jumper.

“It was one thing after another,” said junior guard Malcolm Duvivier.

“They were getting everything,” added senior guard Gary Payton II. “Everything was dropping. So the only thing you can do is keep fighting. You know they’re going to play good at home.”

The Beavers have to shift directions just like they did after Jan. 3, but this time in a positive direction. “Flush it” were the words of choice from freshman forward Drew Eubanks. Of course, it’s a lot harder to start a winning streak than a losing one.

In order for OSU to get some critical wins in the final four games of the regular season, starting this week with the Washington schools coming to Gill Coliseum, the Beavers have to take a lesson from three teams, all of whom OSU head coach Wayne Tinkle alluded to after the Civil War.

The first team to learn from is Oregon. The next is last year’s Beaver team, and the last one is the OSU squad that played the second half on Saturday. Not the first half, just the second.

Coach Tinkle pointed to multiple things the Ducks did well on Saturday: attacking the rim offensively, getting in passing lanes defensively and getting transition buckets. Oregon scored 36 points in the paint, drew 24 fouls, forced 10 turnovers, used a disruptive press for most of the game and had a 10-4 advantage in fast break points.

As for OSU last season, Tinkle pointed to tempo on defensive possessions.

“We slowed teams down and got them to late in the shot clock,” Tinkle said. “For some reason we haven’t been able to do that (this season), and Oregon’s done a nice job of that this year.”

And finally, there was the effort from OSU in the second half on Saturday that wasn’t there in the first 20 minutes. OSU outscored Oregon 53-40 in the second half, a nearly opposite — there’s that word again — performance from before halftime.

“We just weren’t ready to begin the game,” Eubanks said. “A lot of that falls on me because I’m the back line of the defense and I wasn’t ready to play. That’s why I didn’t play very much in the first half. But I’m proud of how we came out in the second half.”

“We challenged guys at halftime to not throw in the towel,” added coach Tinkle. “We didn’t defend great, but we defended better, and we fought a lot harder.”

If the Beavers can take those three role models and apply the attributes each of those teams excelled in — offensive aggressiveness, defensive disruptiveness as well as energy and resolve — they will be just fine. Maybe it will result in a late surge to the NCAA Tournament. OSU’s program is still a work in progress, and coach Tinkle understands the direction of the ship he’s trying to steer.

“We just need all hands on deck,” Tinkle said. “We’ve got two games at home, starting with a very good Washington team. If we can regroup these few days — we usually do respond at home — we can get some momentum back.”

On Twitter @BrightTies