Beavers earn fifth conference against Colorado

Michael Kiever, Sports Reporter

Late offensive rebound from Payton II helps seal home sweep for Beavers

It was unbalanced and it was inconsistent, but as the final buzzer sounded, it was enough. The Oregon State men’s basketball team defeated Colorado 60-56 on Saturday evening in an up-and-down performance, overcoming a slow start in the second half to win its second straight game.

“Another gutty win at home,” said head coach Wayne Tinkle. “We’re focusing on the positives. (I’m) really proud of our guys for taking Colorado’s best punch in the second half and finding a way to win.”

Despite entering the second half with an 11 point lead, the contest came down to the very last seconds. Similar to last Thursday’s matchup with Utah, Stephen Thompson Jr. found himself at the free throw line to close out the game. With 11 seconds remaining, Thompson Jr. made his first attempt at the charity stripe to give the Beavers (14-5, 5-6 Pac-12) a two point lead. He missed his second attempt, however, and if Colorado (17-7, 5-6) would have grabbed the rebound, they would have had a chance to tie or win the game.

Unfortunately for the Buffaloes, Payton II slithered his way inside and grabbed the ball while getting fouled. He drained two subsequent free throws, putting the game out of reach and securing the victory for OSU.

“That’s Gary, that’s what we expect out of him,” said senior forward Jarmal Reid. “He knows we’re leaning on him, and we try to keep him comfortable in that situation. If he comes through, we’ve got his back, and if he (doesn’t), we still got his back.”

Payton II helped the Beavers build their early 11 point lead with four steals and 12 points in the first half, ending his night with seven steals and a game-high 17 points. Thompson Jr. was the only other player to finish in double figures, scoring 14 points on 5-7 shooting and two blocks.

“Before these two home games, I had been struggling from the field a little bit,” Thompson Jr. said. “I’ve just been trying to be positive and confident, and it’s paid off.”

OSU was outscored in the second half 37-30, largely in part due to poor shooting and rebounding. The Beavers lost the rebounding battle 49-27 and shot 35 percent from the field for the night. The Beavers’ deficiencies in these areas helped the Buffaloes close the 11-point gap, and were especially boosted by senior guard Xavier Talton hitting back-to-back three-pointers to start the second half.

“We started lethargic in the second half with a couple miscues defensively,” coach Tinkle said.

OSU balanced the scale by progressively tightening up on defense. Colorado committed 24 turnovers—their highest mark of the season in that category—and posted a similarly poor 37 percent shooting from the field.

“Turning them over was the equalizer there. We turned them over a ton to balance out the rebounding,” coach Tinkle said. “The fact that their (field goal percentage) was under 40 percent was a tribute to our defensive effort.”

Colorado was able to fight back despite senior forward Josh Scott sitting out the second half for unapparent reasons. Scott, the leading scorer for the Buffaloes this season, finished with one point in 16 minutes. Junior forward Tre’Shaun Fletcher stepped up in his absence, coming off the bench for a team-high 15 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes.

With two much-needed wins in their back pockets, OSU will hit the road to play Stanford on Thursday, Feb. 11.

On Twitter @michaelkievaaa




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