Men’s hoops pass the time on road trips by playing cards

Max Braly, Sports Contributor

The life of an Oregon State men’s basketball player changes a bit when it comes time to hit the road. Traveling to the different PAC-12 schools week in and week out create large stretches of down time.

The hour and a half drive to the airport plus the two and a half hour flight to Tempe, Arizona can be boring and tiring. Players and coaches like to distract themselves by playing one card game  in particular. That game is Uno — a game that not only has become a staple on flights for OSU, but for NBA teams like the Atlanta Hawks.

“It’s pretty fun and pretty competitive between the team,” said freshman guard, Stephen Thompson Jr.

Despite Not the whole team gets in on the Uno action.

“I’ve never played Uno, I guess I’m not a part of the cool guys anymore,” said senior forward Olaf Schaftenaar jokingly.

When Schaftenaar needs a break, he and senior center Justin Stangel like to play chess. A series which Schaftenaar claims he owns the winning record.

Aside from the fun and games of the flight, there is another reason for the travel — to play basketball. Earlier this year, Oregon State took a trip to Kansas City, Missouri to play against the University of Kansas Jayhawks in the Sprint Center.

This game was easily the highest attended game of the season so far that exceeded 18,600 fans. The game ended with a tough loss for the Beavers, but a memorable experience none the less.

“Definitely something I can look back on later on in my life and say I’ve been able to play there,” Thompson said about playing in the Sprint Center.

The PAC-12 hosts a number of extremely tough playing environments as well. When asked about where the most intense crowds were in the PAC-12, it was a unanimous reply–Arizona’s McKale Center.

“Arizona gives you the type of arena you’ve always dreamed about playing in,” said Schaftenaar of the McKale Center.

Though it may be difficult to play in front of a hostile crowd, players enjoy them. The intense atmosphere provides the players with a ‘prove them wrong’ attitude that helps get the guys amped.

“It’s a lot easier to get up for those games, because you are playing against really good teams and you want to be at your best,” said Schaftenaar.

Today the Beavers take on the Arizona State Sun Devils in Wells Fargo Arena. This year’s Sun Devils bring in an average attendance of 5,400 people to the 10,700 capacity arena. Though the Sun Devils haven’t been the best team this year — tied for last in the PAC-12 standings — they aren’t a team to take lightly, especially when the Beavers have struggled away from home.

“We haven’t had a ton of success on the road,” said head coach Wayne Tinkle.

The Sun Devils are a team that doesn’t beat themselves. They don’t make a bunch of mistakes. Which means is up to the Beavers to treat this trip like a business trip and win.

“It’s a dog fight, so for us it’s going to be a mental and physical battle for 40 minutes,” Wayne Tinkle said

On Twitter @Max_Braly

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