PORTLAND — Before conference play has even started, it feels like rock bottom for the Oregon State men’s basketball team as they go winless in the Dam City Classic, losing their fifth consecutive game.
Oregon State (3-9) lost by only eight points in their 53-45 loss to the University Portland, but it felt like a 73-54 loss with how the Beavers played Sunday at the Moda Center.
It was an ugly game on several levels. Poor shooting, turnovers and missed free throws plagued the game. These type of games aren’t uncommon for the Beavers; these are the games that Oregon State has won since Wayne Tinkle took over as the head coach two seasons ago.
Now, in Tinkle’s third season, those type of wins aren’t happening.
With the game tied at 22 at the half, the Pilots (7-3) started the second half on a 9-2 run, pushing the lead to 31-24 by the first media timeout. OSU was not able to dig themselves out of that hole.
“I thought we kind of came apart as a group, just the energy that was there,” OSU freshman point guard JaQuori McLaughlin said. “No one really talking to each other or picking each other up during that time.”
The Beavers shot 28 percent from the field, missed eight free throws, finished with only five assists, did not have a single point from their bench and only managed seven points off 16 Pilot turnovers.
The Pilots on the other hand, dominated the paint on both ends of the floor. They outscored OSU by 10 points in the paint, outrebounded the Beavers by 20 and led for over 28 minutes of the game. It was OSU’s eighth loss against a non-power five team.
When the game started to slip away, players started to isolate themselves, rather than work together as a team.
“Too many times when it becomes the moment of truth, guys isolate themselves out there,” Tinkle said. “And we need to address that. It’s no secret. People that watch us see it. That’s part of chemistry. That’s part of accountability. That’s part of leadership.”
Tinkle alluded to the team not playing with enough toughness, and not being good enough to simply show up and win against non power five teams.
“We’ve got to get a chip on our shoulder,” Tinkle said. “A lot of the teams that are knocking us off are playing with more of one than we are.”
Opposing team’s are starting to figure ways to stop the OSU offense; double-team sophomore center Drew Eubanks down low and force the Beavers to make shorts from the outside.
Portland did their job against Eubanks, holding him six points on 2-of-7 shooting. OSU didn’t help their cause by only making 5-of-18 shots from behind the arc– four of which came from McLaughlin who scored 23 of the team’s 45 points in the losing effort.
“They were double teaming (Eubanks) when he got the ball and that gave us a little bit of problems down low,” said junior guard Stephen Thompson Jr.“We just didn’t get much ball movement to counteract they way they were packing it inside and shutting down driving lanes.”
Oregon State will try to rebound in their next game against Kent State at Gill Coliseum at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
Until then, Tinkle has challenged his team to respond and guaranteed that his team will find a way to right the ship.
“I do know this: it is going to turn,” Tinkle said. “It’s going to turn.”
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