Beaver basketball bounces back behind Schaftenaar, Eubanks

Men’s Basketball vs LMU

Michael Kiever, Sports Reporter

Beavers improve to 5-1 on the season with victory over Loyola Marymount

Oregon State defeated Loyola Marymount 79-70 on Wednesday evening, improving to 5-1 on the year. The Beavers overcame a slow start and 16 turnovers with a hot second half to secure the win.

 “It was a good win tonight by our guys. They found a way to get it done against a gritty team,” said head coach Wayne Tinkle. “We didn’t play our best as a group, but we found a way to get it done.”

 Senior guard Gary Payton II had his 37th consecutive game with a steal, tying the record set by his father Gary Payton in 1989.

 “That’s a neat deal. He’s a difference maker defensively when he’s dialed in,” Tinkle said. “He comes up with loose balls, he gets deflections, he gets steals. It makes a lot happen out there for us.”

 The first half was marked by poor shooting for both teams. OSU started the game off ice cold, ceding an 8-2 lead to LMU (4-3) and shooting 20 percent from the field with three turnovers before the first timeout.

  Midway through the first half, the offensive pace picked up as the LMU and OSU big men exchanged a pair of thunderous dunks. LMU junior forward Adom Jacko started the dunk-fest, throwing down an alley-oop and an easy transition slam. Freshman center Drew Eubanks countered with two big dunks of his own, pulling OSU to within two at 14-16.

 Eubanks proved to be electric for the Beavers, showing off his athletic abilities on both ends of the court and giving OSU a shot of adrenaline when it was needed most. In one second-half instance, Eubanks blocked an LMU layup attempt and immediately ran down the court to catch a Gary Payton II assisted alley-oop. It swung some momentum to the Beavers side and forced LMU to call a timeout with OSU nursing a five-point lead. Eubanks had Gill Coliseum on its feet.

 “We’re trying to keep it simple for the big fella right now, he has a lot getting thrown at him,” Tinkle said. “I’m proud of him. He bounced back after a couple of games he knew he didn’t give us what he thought he should.”

 A few minutes later, Derrick Bruce would hit his first career three-pointer to even the score at 20-20. The three started a game of hot potato between LMU and OSU for the lead that persisted for the entire game. A pair of Olaf Schaftenaar three-pointers gave way for a 30-29 lead for OSU heading into halftime. Schaftenaar tallied 10 points in the first half on his way to 19 points on 6-8 shooting.

 “It was good for me to see some shots go in. Defensively, I think I made a lot of mistakes,” Schaftenaar said. “I scored a bunch of points, but also gave up some.”

 The Beavers struggled to contain junior forward Adom Jacko, who paced the Lions off the bench with 22 points on 11-17 shooting.

 Langston Morris-Walker got the Beavers started in the second half, draining a three and turning a cross-court Payton II pass into a jam that extended the OSU lead to 37-31. The Beavers were not able to keep a comfortable lead, continuing the trend of passing the lead back and forth and letting LMU linger.

 However, OSU would slowly rebuild their lead as the second half progressed, and seemingly had the game sealed with a Stephen Thompson Jr. putback off a missed Eubanks free throw to put the score at 63-55 with 5:00 remaining. The Lions still did not give up, working their way back to within four and responding to all of OSU’s attempts to put it away.

 Schaftenaar and Thompson Jr. ultimately put the cap on the game, each coming up big with three-pointers to close it out. After a scoreless first half, Thompson Jr. gave the Beavers the extra nudge they needed with 12 points and two three-pointers in the second frame.

“We’ve got to be a lot better. 16 turnovers is a joke, and we should have hammered them on the boards. Time and time again, we had defensive breakdowns that we don’t normally have,” Tinkle said. “It’s a win, and we’re happy that we aren’t learning these lessons from another tough loss.”

The Beavers next matchup will be in Corvallis against Nevada (5-2) on Saturday. Nevada last played on Nov. 30, defeating Holy Name in a 108-57 rout.

Hoops Camp visits Gill Colliseum

During halftime, a group of special needs kids with the non-profit organization “Hoops Camp” took the floor and showed off their skills to the crowd at Gill Coliseum.

“We thought this would be a heck of an opportunity not only for his group, but for us and our fans to celebrate a group of kids of all ages that have some sort of disability,” Tinkle said. “For our guys to have a little bit of understanding about giving back, and helping raise some awareness for them, is huge.”

The organization came on behalf of head coach Wayne Tinkle, who invited youths with special needs of all ages to come meet the basketball team, shoot some buckets and have a good time. In return, they provided some encouragement for the team.

“I was about ready to blow my top going to the locker room at halftime, and they were all lined up at the tunnel slapping us five,” Tinkle said. “It was great for me because it got me to calm down a little bit.”

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