Beavers go for five straight against Stanford

Josh Worden, Senior Beat Reporter

After a 70-57 win to open Pac-12 play in the Civil War on Sunday, Oregon State has a chance to start 2016 on a hot streak with two more home games this week.

First up is Stanford (8-5, 1-1 Pac-12), which started conference play with a two-point overtime victory over then-No. 21 Utah and then a one-point home loss to Colorado. After Wednesday’s 8 p.m. matchup in Gill Coliseum with the Cardinal, OSU plays California on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

“We played Sunday night and here we are tipping it up again Wednesday,” said head coach Wayne Tinkle. “It’s a challenge for our guys.”

OSU took Monday off of practice before returning to Gill on Tuesday. The two-day break between Oregon and Stanford marks the first of eight times this year that OSU will play a pair of Pac-12 teams with two or fewer days of rest in between.

Senior forward Jarmal Reid is “doubtful” to play Wednesday with a sprained ankle, Tinkle said.

Beaver Keys to Success

Against Oregon, the Beavers helped build a double digit lead with a 7-0 advantage in fast break points and a 16-9 margin in second chance points.

“That was one of the more impressive things from the other night,” Tinkle said of his team’s fast break defense. “We thought that was a real strength of Oregon that we had to take away was their transition.”

Freshman guard Stephen Thompson, Jr, who grew up a Stanford fan and was recruited by the Cardinal, agreed with Tinkle about the importance of fast breaks against Oregon and in games to come.

“We’re at our best when we get out in transition,” he said.

Defensively, OSU allowed just a 35.8 percent shooting rate and the Ducks made 7-of-25 from behind the arc.

“It was the best we’ve played that zone all year long,” Tinkle said. “It reminded us of how we played it a year ago. Guys were focused to the plan, responsible as far as being in their spots. It was great to see and now we’ve got to challenge the guys to do that every single time out.”

Stanford’s Strengths and Weaknesses

Stanford is third in the Pac-12 in scoring defense but ninth in defensive field goal percentage. How does this happen? Mainly by having more possessions to work with than opponents; in two Pac-12 games, Stanford has forced 37 turnovers and committed 14.

On the other hand, the Cardinal are last in the conference in assists and in the bottom half in rebounding margin, 3-point shooting and free throw shooting. After matching Utah in rebounds, Stanford allowed Colorado a 43-29 advantage on the boards in their loss Sunday.

Stanford has also been cold from long range: after shooting 36 percent from 3-point range in the nonconference season, the Cardinal are at 22 percent so far in Pac-12 contests. They’ve gotten lucky when opponents are at the free throw line with just a 51.4 percent shooting rate between Utah and Colorado.

Thompson’s Threes

Thompson, a 6-foot-4 freshman, leads the Beavers with 19 made 3-pointers. The OSU record for 3-pointers by a true freshman is 44, set by Angelo Tsagarakis in 2004. Thompson is on pace to make 46 shots from deep before the Pac-12 Tournament and postseason.

“It’s a good accomplishment to have if it happens,” Thompson said. “I’ve just been trying to shoot with confidence, shoot when I’m open and take advantage of every shot.”

Payton II’s Twitter

A twitter account recently made in Payton II’s name, the senior guard says, is not actually his.

“There have been a couple fake ones,” Payton II said, who remains without social media accounts. “But none that everybody thought was me.”