Mile-high road matchup for Beavers

Josh Worden, Senior Beat Reporter

Beavers take on Colorado for their first Pac-12 road game of the season

There are precious few home games in the Pac-12 schedule.

Nine, to be exact. And while the Oregon State men’s basketball team has a winning record at 2-1 in conference and 11-3 overall, it has already used three of those home games this season.

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Now, the Beavers travel to play Colorado on Wednesday at 8 p.m. and then Utah on Sunday at 5:30. OSU is coming off a 77-71 win over California on Saturday.

In order to not miss too much class between the Wednesday-to-Sunday break, the Beavers will return to Corvallis in between the Colorado and Utah games.

Scouting Colorado

The Buffaloes are 7-1 against OSU in Boulder, Colo., but the teams did not face off in Boulder last year. OSU won by 14 points at home and then lost to Colorado in the Pac-12 Tournament’s opening round, 78-71.

Josh Scott, a 6-foot-10-inch senior, leads the team with 17.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. He had just four points and three rebounds in OSU’s win last year but had 16 points and 14 rebounds in Colorado’s victory.

“Josh Scott’s one of the best post players in the conference,” said Head Coach Wayne Tinkle.

Colorado has played all three Pac-12 games on the road, losing to California by 14, beating Stanford by one and losing to Utah by 2. OSU beat Cal and lost to Stanford last week.

“They’re dangerous, tough, physical and well-coached,” Tinkle said of Colorado. “We know they’ve got a great environment there to play in.”

Injury Update

The Beavers are much healthier now than they were earlier in the season, but there are still some bumps and bruises. After having Sunday off from practice, forward Gligorije Rakocevic practiced with a compression sleeve on his left leg. He said he has a swollen knee from a collision in the California game Saturday, but was practicing Monday.

Fellow freshman forward Drew Eubanks wore an arm sleeve on his right arm during the Cal game, which he said was for a bruised elbow he sustained in practice. He also was practicing in full and will play Wednesday.

Traveling Up and Away

Not only does OSU seek to improve on last year’s road record — The Beavers went 2-9 in away games with just one Pac-12 win — but this game’s altitude will play a factor. The Coors Event Center, the Buffaloes’ home, sits far higher than the Willamette Valley at 5,345 feet above sea level. 

Conditioning could be an issue for OSU. Freshman forward Drew Eubanks said he got “winded really easily” in the beginning of the season, but things had changed by the Tulsa game on Dec. 19.

“I just felt better,” he said of that game. “There was a long stretch in the Stanford game where I was in for like a half of a half… (I felt) I could stay and play the rest of the game.”

Eubanks has been to Colorado plenty of times because his sister played softball at Colorado State.

“I never really noticed in a difference in the air,” he said. “Maybe when I’m playing I might.”

Regardless of the elevation, OSU hasn’t yet  it can play away from Gill Coliseum.

“You’ve got to be that much more dialed into the game plan. You can’t have any wasted possessions on either end,” Tinkle said of playing on the road. “We need to set the tone.”

Tres’ Shot

Freshman forward Tres Tinkle’s desperation attempt with 1:13 remaining in the game against California on Saturday was instrumental in OSU’s 77-71 victory. After a Cal 3-pointer, OSU’s lead was cut to two points, and Tres found himself with the ball on the wing with about three seconds on the shot clock. He took two dribbles to the baseline, faked a spin move and hoisted up a deep 2-pointer that got over the corner of the backboard. Tres landed out of bounds with both feet as the buzzer sounded and his shot dropped, helping OSU to its six-point win.

“My dad was like, ‘shoot it,’ so then I kind’ve had to do something quick,” he said. “It felt pretty good when I shot it. I shoot that shot in practice and stuff… I feel comfortable shooting it. I’ve done it a couple times.”

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