Men’s Basketball win season opener against Portland State Vikings

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Lily MIddleton, OMN Photographer

Oregon State senior forward Maurice Calloo fistbumping Oregon State head basketball coach Wayne Tinkle after Calloo hit a 3-point shot against the Portland State Vikings on Nov. 9 at Gill Coliseum. The Beavers would defeat the Vikings by a score of 73-64.

Alejandro Paniagua, Sports Contributor

The very anticipated start of the 21-22’ basketball season began with the Oregon State Beavers facing off versus the visiting Portland State Vikings at Gill Coliseum Tuesday night.

The match up versus Portland State is only the sixteenth time the two teams have met in history, with the Beavers coming on top in the fifteen games prior, with eleven of the games being played in Corvallis.

The most recent match up between the two teams occurred on Dec. 22 of last season, where Oregon State won 67-62 behind Oregon State junior guard Jarod Lucas’ 15 points.

Gill Coliseum welcomed back fans for the first regular season game since March 7 2020, with an attendance crowd of over 4,400 fans, something the players and nation missed last year.

The Starting lineup for the Beavers against the Vikings were junior guards Gianni Hunt and Jarod Lucas, senior forwards Warith Alatishe and Maurice Calloo, and senior center Roman Silva. The starting lineups for the Vikings were guards Michael Starks, Marlon Ruffin, Paris Dawson, and forwards James Jean-Marie and Khalid Thomas

The Beavers are coming off a nail biter win in the exhibition game against the Saint Martin University Saints  last Thursday, where the Oregon State junior guard Dashawn Davis hit a 3-point shot with 2.0 seconds left to give the Beavers the win.

Oregon State head basketball coach Wayne Tinkle wanted to emphasize on a few aspects of the game that the team could’ve done better at.

“We need to be doing it our way on both ends and playing with way more intensity and focus to our plan” Tinkle said. And the Beavers did just that.

The first points of the season happened just 30 seconds into the game, as Oregon State senior forward Warith Alatishe got a steal and went coast to coast scoring on a lay-in while getting fouled in the process, showcasing the style of play Winkle wanted coming into the game. Alatishe then converted on the and-one getting the three-point play.

At the half, the Beavers trailed the Portland State Vikings 28-32 after a half court shot by Viking guard Ian Burke beat the buzzer, giving his team a 4-point lead.

The Vikings came off 4-11 from 3-point range, giving them the lead for the duration of the first half. The Beavers, on the other hand, were just 1-5 from 3-point range.

The lead changed a total of seven times in the half with Portland State leading by as much as 9, and the Beavers biggest lead being 3.

The scoring leader at half for Oregon State was Alatishe, scoring 15 points on 7- 12 shooting from the floor. He also led in team rebounds with 8. Warith was awarded first team all PAC-12 honors entering the season and is proving why.

The Vikings scoring leader at half was Marlon Ruffin, who had 8 points and shot 3-7 from the field.

Both defenses played well leading to a number of turnovers for both teams. The Beavers would have 7 turnovers and the Vikings would have 12.

The Beavers in the first half had 7 steals and 4 blocks, and were starting to look better from a defensive standpoint. This is something that Tinkle notices too.

“We really believe [the] defense is a strength… we will get to [the point] where we understand how important the defensive end is” Tinkle said.

Starting the second half, the Beavers came out more focused and determined to get stops on the defensive side of the ball. For about the first 8 minutes, the Vikings would stay under pressure and not allow space for the Bears to catch up. The Beavers would get their defense going and would allow only 17 points in the final 11 minutes.

The defense really stepped up after coming out of the half a lot of defensive stops led to offensive points. Specifically, Alatishe showed effort racking up two steals and two blocks. Alatishe credits his coach for getting him amped up to get back into the game.

“Coach [Tinkle] really drilled into us about being in gaps, helping each other out and having each other’s back” Alatishe said.

Maybe the speech was what got the team but maybe it was also the defensive effort by Oregon State junior forward Ahmad Rand. Rand would enter in his first Division one game since transferring from USC Salkehatchie and would change the tide of the game.

In the first few minutes of his playing time, he connected with 3 blocks, allowing his teammates to score points on the other end of the court. Because of that, the Beavers would make a 12-point run and would find themselves on top after a few 3-point shots by Lucas.

The momentum would completely change after Oregon State junior guard Gianni Hunt would shake the defender and get the ball to Oregon State senior forward Maurice Callo for a 3-point shot to go up by 11. The crowd would explode and that shot would be the dagger to protect home court.

The Beavers would go on to win the game by a score of 73-64, and Tinkle credits the home crowd for bringing the momentum and giving his team the energy that they needed to keep fighting.

“They [crowd] drive the atmosphere and everyone jumps on board… and I know moving forward, we will make this a really tough place for opponents to come in and play” Tinkle said.

The Beavers relied on the scoring of Alatishe’s 21 points followed by Lucas’ and Calloo’s 16 points to get the win over the Portland State Vikings, and to start the season in the win column.

The Beavers will now travel east to play against the Iowa State University Cyclones on Nov. 12 at 5:00 p.m.