Beavers drop third straight

Michael Kiever, Sports Reporter

Beavers struggle at the free throw line, lose 82-73 to Bruins

With a combined 45 fouls committed, the Beaver’s 82-73 loss to UCLA on Wednesday evening seemed like more of a foul fest than a basketball game.

Gary Payton II was benched early due to two quick fouls and missed nine straight minutes in the first half. UCLA capitalized on his absence immediately, taking a 40-32 halftime lead over OSU and never looking back.

The loss was OSU’s third straight, only the third such streak in Wayne Tinkle’s tenure as head coach.

“Credit UCLA. They hit a lot of shots and were really the aggressor tonight,” coach Tinkle said. “I obviously didn’t do a terrific job of getting our guys prepared mentally.”

Seemingly nobody could stop junior guard Isaac Hamilton, who scored 14 first half on his way to a game-high 24 points on 10-14 shooting. Sophomore center

Thomas Welsh also had his way with OSU, nabbing 12 boards and scoring 10 points on perfect 4-for-4 shooting. As a unit, the Bruins shot 52 percent from the field and 82 percent from the free throw line.

“We know their personnel, we’ve just got to get to our spots,” Payton II said.

OSU’s defense predictably stalled with Payton II out of the game, and so did the offense. The Beavers went on a six-minute scoring drought until Payton II checked back in for a brief stint at the end of the first half. Payton II compiled 17 points and seven assists in 27 minutes, but most of his production came with the game well out of hand.

“We put him back in, we made a nice little run, then we took him out at the end (of the first) to protect him a little bit,” coach Tinkle said. “I’d do it all over again.”

The only consistent source of offense for OSU came from freshman forward Tres Tinkle, who replaced Langston Morris-Walker in the starting lineup for his first career start. Tres Tinkle scored the Beavers’ first points of the night with a three-pointer, and finished his night with 15 points on four of 13 shooting on a team-high 37 minutes of play.

“All I really wanted to do was win, whatever my role is,” Tres Tinkle said. “Being out there, I got the nerves out early, but I wasn’t too nervous going into it.”

While both UCLA and OSU both committed 22 and 23 fouls, respectively, OSU was not able to convert their opportunities as well as the Bruins. The Beavers shot 12-of-24 from the free throw line, which was a contributor in stalling any possible comeback runs.

“Free throws are usually a mental stat, and you can tell for whatever reason that we weren’t quite into it when we go 12-for-24,” coach Tinkle said. “If we made free throws when we were struggling to score, it’s a different ball game.”

Daniel Gomis was also in the starting lineup for the second straight game, again getting the nod over freshman Drew Eubanks. Gomis struggled to stay in the game, finishing with four fouls and one rebound in five minutes.

The Beavers will continue their home front against Los Angeles opponents when they take on USC this Sunday, Jan. 24 at Gill Coliseum.