Beavs fall to Buffaloes 73-57 on senior night to wrap up regular season

Dexter Akanno of the OSU Mens Basketball team drives to the hoop against his defender in Gill Coliseum in Corvallis on Mar 9 2024.
Dexter Akanno of the OSU Men’s Basketball team drives to the hoop against his defender in Gill Coliseum in Corvallis on Mar 9 2024.
Landon Marks

Wrapping up the league play and the 2024 regular season, the Beavers hosted the Colorado Buffaloes Saturday afternoon in hopes of gaining momentum heading into the PAC-12 tournament.

Celebrating the hard work and dedication from this year’s senior class, the game tipped-off after an opening ceremony honoring Dexter Akanno, Chol Marial, Felipe Palazzo and manager Hayato Kanai.

Josiah Lake II of the OSU Men’s Basketball attempts to shoot after he drew contact on his defender in Gill Coliseum in Corvallis on Mar 9 2024. (Landon Marks)

“Obviously I’ve been with this group for a long time, so it was obviously emotional. . . I think the mindset right now is moving on to Vegas and doing whatever it takes to prepare for Vegas and to keep winning,” Akanno said.

In the opening minutes of the game, the Beaver defense was caught on their heels as Colorado jumped out to an early six-point lead. Led by junior guard KJ Simpson, the Buffs exploited the Beavers’ zone defense with ease. Simpson would finish the game with 15 points and seven assists on 3 of 5 shooting from beyond the arc.

Finding open shots through strong ball movement against the Beavers’ zone-switches, the Buffaloes found early success on the scoreboard mounting a 41-27 lead by the end of the first half. Attempting to claw their way back from the early deficit, the Beavs took to the free throw line but found themselves in early foul trouble collecting nine team fouls in the first 20 minutes of play.

Before entering the locker room at the end of the first half, head coach Wayne Tinkle gave an official an earful, screaming from the opposite side of the court.

Trailing by 14 at the start of the second half, the Beavers reorganized and changed their defensive scheme in hopes of sparking a run. Crushing the hopes of Beavers fans quickly, Colorado forward Tristan da Silva alongside Simpson, would knock down two silencing jump shots to take the wind out of the Beavers’ sails.

Michael Rataj of the OSU Men’s Basketball attempts a shot over the Colorado Buffalo defender in Gill Coliseum in Corvallis on Mar 9 2024.
(Landon Marks)

With 17 minutes remaining in the game, the Beavers strung together a few hopeful offensive possessions but needed a miracle. After the Beavs were able to bring the score within 16, senior center Eddie Lampkin Jr. made quick work in the post to keep the Beavs at bay. Lampkin Jr. finished the game with a double-double racking up 17 points and 11 rebounds to go along with a pair of assists.

Running down the clock in the final minutes, Tinkle sent in Palazzo and the rest of the bench as Colorado led by 16.

Final score 73-57 with Colorado taking the win.

Looking ahead, the Beavs will likely round out the PAC-12 tournament with the final 12th seed and will match up against the 5th seed for the first round of the postseason on March 13 at 2:30 p.m.

“If we’re not ready to fight to bring the fight we won’t have a chance. If we’re not united as a group we don’t have a chance. If we get down on each other out there on the court, we won’t have a chance,” said Tinkle. “When we play together, we give ourselves a chance.”

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