Beavers look to improve for next game

Senior guard Gary Payton II shoots a free throw. As a team the Beavers went 14-30 from the free throw line.

Josh Worden

After the Oregon State men’s basketball team went 14-for-30 from the free throw line in Saturday’s 74-52 win over Northwest Christian, head coach Wayne Tinkle issued a command to every one of his players – come in on your day off Sunday and shoot 100 free throws.

For a team that shot 47 percent from the line, including a combined 1-for-8 from guards Malcolm Duvivier and Langston Morris-Walker, the message was clear – you’ve got to make your free throws.

“We missed a lot of free throws,” said freshman guard Derrick Bruce, who said he made 84 of his 100 shots on Sunday.

OSU will look to improve from the charity stripe on Tuesday, when Iona is in Corvallis for a 7 p.m. matchup.

After beating Western Oregon and Northwest Christian by a combined 41 points, the Beavers will be tested by the Gaels. Iona received one vote in the preseason AP Top 25 poll but dropped an 83-53 decision in the opener to Valparaiso, which OSU plays Nov. 24 in Corvallis. Last year, Iona went 26-9 overall, bowing out in the first round of the NIT.

“We try to prepare the same way for all schools, but I do think we will end up preparing a little better,” Bruce said of Tuesday’s game. “It does seem like it will be the first real test.”

Offensive and defensive reports

Coach Tinkle mentioned some positive and negative aspects from OSU’s defensive performance Saturday against Northwest Christian. The Beavers allowed just 31.4 percent shooting from the floor, forced 18 turnovers and took a 17-2 advantage in points off turnovers but also had some trouble in matchup defense.

“We’re seeing definite signs of improvement, especially in our zone,” Tinkle said at practice Monday. “Our man-to-man wasn’t very good the other night. I just think it’s the same couple of issues with our focus and intensity, we need to pick those up. The nice thing is when we went to our zone in the second half, our guys really responded.”

Tinkle spoke extensively about the offensive aspects in need of adjustment. The Beavers had four players in double figures and got a career high six assists from Duvivier, but the offense tended to get a bit too stagnant at times for Tinkle’s liking.

“Offensively, if you look at the scoring in the first half, we did a lot of standing around,” he said. “We didn’t cut hard, we didn’t screen hard, we didn’t set up our screens, our spacing was bad and it resulted into mediocre shots and turnovers.”

OSU didn’t run a lot of set plays against Northwest Christian, mainly to allow the team to get more comfortable with the natural flow of the motion offense.

“When we did try to call for some plays and sets, our vets didn’t execute,” Tinkle said. “It was our young guys who actually executed the plays better.”

Better know the Beavers (and their nicknames)

Bruce, a freshman from Moreno Valley, Calif., is known by teammates as “PJ.” It’s a name he attributes to his father, who’s nickname is “Poker.” Since his father’s real name is also Derrick Bruce, his son became “Poker, Jr.,” or “PJ.” The younger Bruce said he has “no idea” how his dad’s nickname originated, but PJ became his moniker at about age two.

“I’ve never really been called Derrick until I came to school (at OSU),” Bruce said. “And even then, teachers would adapt to call me ‘PJ’ because my friends around me called me ‘PJ’.”

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