Ducks down Beavers

Dexter Akanno (#4) shoots to score at the men’s Oregon State University basketball game v. Oregon at Gill Coliseum on Feb. 17, 2024.
Dexter Akanno (#4) shoots to score at the men’s Oregon State University basketball game v. Oregon at Gill Coliseum on Feb. 17, 2024.
Miky Pope

The Oregon Ducks men’s basketball team defeated the Oregon State men’s basketball team by a score of 60-58 on Saturday night at Gill Coliseum. 

The Ducks entered hostile territory while sporting a record of 16-8 on the season, including 8-5 in conference play. They, and their coach Dana Altman, sought to better their chances of being selected for the NCAA tournament by beating their in-state rivals in the first of two meetings this season. 

They did exactly that.

By holding the Beavers to one of their worst shooting performances of the season, the Ducks both elevated their odds of a postseason berth and worsened the Beavers’. 

Oregon State, who came into the game on a five-game losing streak, was unable to snap the skid, instead falling to 11-15 overall with a 3-12 record in PAC-12 play. 

Making one three-point attempt in 10 tries during the first half did not help the Beavers in their quest for postseason glory, let alone a winning season. But the game was not out of reach and the Ducks fared similarly, connecting on only two of 11 three-point attempts in the first half.

Altman’s squad was 16-35 from the field, led by Jackson Shelstad, who played 16 minutes and put up 11 points on 5-8 shooting.

Oregon State’s Jordan Pope played 18 minutes in comparison and had six points on 3-11 shooting from the field to go with one assist and two turnovers. 

The second half provided more of the same for the Beavers.

While the Ducks found some rhythm inside the arc, neither team was able to connect on three-point shots for most of the game. With six minutes remaining in the contest, the Ducks and Beavers were a combined 3-33 from beyond the arc.

But from two-point land, the Ducks connected at a far better clip than the Beavers did. With five minutes left to go, Oregon was 20-33 from inside the three-point line, while Oregon State was 17-33.

The difference in the game, beyond the shooting woes, was Oregon’s nose for rebounding. Crashing the boards at chance, they soared over the Beavers at every opportunity to pull down rebounds.

“They kicked our butts on the glass.” Beaver’s head basketball coach Wayne Tinkle lamented in the postgame interview.

In the first half, Oregon notched 26 rebounds, including 11 offensive rebounds. Oregon State had 14 total rebounds, and five offensive rebounds in the first half.

But the game was not quite over.

Leading for almost the entirety of the game, the Beavers mounted a comeback in the final three minutes. Trailing 56-47 with 3:11 remaining, Dexter Akanno put away a two-point jumper, and after Oregon’s Jackson Shelstad missed a three-pointer, the Beavers’ Michael Rataj made two free throws. 

With the lead cut down to five, Oregon’s N’Faly Dante made a layup, but Akanno responded with another layup followed by a Chol Marial free throw and Tyler Bilodeau jumper. 

The lead was two. 1:28 remaining. 

Oregon’s Jadrian Tracey missed a layup, and Rataj collected the rebound, immediately passing the ball to Pope. After being fouled, Pope sank two free throws.

Tie game. 40 seconds remaining.

Oregon’s Jermaine Couisnard and Brennan Rigsby missed jumpers, but the Ducks got both rebounds. With one second left, N’Faly Dante threw down a dunk, and the Beavers’ comeback bid was squashed. 

Final score: Oregon 60, Oregon State 58.

For the game, Rataj led the Beavers with 17 points on 6-9 shooting from the field and had nine rebounds, three assists and two steals. Oregon was led by Dante’s 22 points on 9-13 shooting; Dante also contributed six rebounds.

The Beavers, who fell to 11-15 overall and 3-12 in conference play, do not have the record of an NCAA tournament team. With that, the goals for the remainder of the season change.

Beavers’ head basketball coach Wayne Tinkle framed the current season as one of improvement for a young Beavers’ team.

“Our big thing was to have a better year than we did a year ago,” Tinkle said. “We still have the opportunity in front of us with the games we have to get on a roll, win some games, and put positive spin on it…This is year two of the rebuild with a lot of freshman and sophomores and a couple of vets…we said to this group ‘In year two, in year three, we’re really gonna see some things.’”

The Beavers next play at Cal on Feb. 22 at 7:00 p.m. 

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