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Cal Basketball

Bears, Beavers in Battle for the Basement

February 8, 2022
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No men’s college basketball team in the nation has fallen further from where it ended last season than Oregon State. 

The Beavers (3-17, 1-9 Pac-12), who host Cal on Wednesday night, have lost seven in a row and sit at the bottom of the conference standings. They even lost to Cal and not many teams can say that. The Bears (9-15, 2-11) have lost ten in a row and would take over the cellar with a loss.

The Beavers had a 10-game loss skein of their own earlier in the year, and that included a 12-point defeat in the first matchup with the Bears.

To say OSU’s situation is surprising is an understatement. Not that the Beavers are consistent world-beaters, but last season they won the conference tournament and advanced as far as the Elite Eight in the NCAAs.

They began this season with high hopes, but quickly realized they weren’t the same club. Guards  Ethan Thompson and Zach Reichie both graduated and took with them the heart of the team. Thompson was a great facilitator and Reichie was a calming locker room presence. A third guard from last year Gianni Hunt quit the team early in the season. 

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Jarod Lucas

Head coach Wayne Tinkle thought he could recapture the 2021 magic with seven transfers from Division I programs. That obviously has not worked out. The Beavers have been so disjointed at times they look as if they need to introduce themselves to their teammates.

They have certainly had their share of injuries, especially recently. Xzavier Malone-Key (back) has missed the last three games, Isaiah Johnson (concussion) has missed the last two games and Dashawn Davis (ankle) missed the last one. Plus Warith Alatishe has been limited to a total of 11 minutes the last two games due to knee issues. That is a lot of experience sitting in the training room. 

It is hard to find positives, but not impossible. Guard Jarod Lucas, the best of the returning players, leads the team in scoring at 13.7 points per game. 

Tinkle says Lucas has become a more savvy player this year. 

“He now understands that by screening himself and then being a good cutter and mover, defenders lose him,” Tinkle said.

Lucas used to get bounced around by opposing defenses. Rather than push back, Lucas would often flop or try to draw a foul in other ways.

“It really bogged down our offense. We couldn’t get a turn through him because he was trying to sell the fact that guys we’re climbing up into him,” Tinkle said. “He’s done a much better job of learning how to avoid contact and just cut and move in space.”

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Glenn Taylor, Jr.

Glenn Taylor Jr., the only freshman on the roster, made little impact early in the season. But the 6-6 forward has seen his minutes increase recently.

He’s played at least 18 minutes in six of the last seven games. In that seven-game stretch, Taylor is averaging 7.1 points while shooting 42.9 percent overall and 66.7 at the free-throw line, just off his season shooting averages of 47.8 and 70.5, respectively.

He got his first career start in the last game at Colorado and had career highs with 15 points, five field goals and 39 minutes. 

“I think he’s coming into his own right now,” teammate Roman Silva told the Corvalis media. “He’s gaining confidence day after day and it’s really good to see. He’s playing a lot better.”

Tinkle has been patient with the freshman and it’s paying off. He’s found a way to make an impact. He’s a hard-nosed defender, rebounder,” the coach said. “Offensively, at times he gets a little out of control. But it’s not for being selfish. He’s just going a million miles an hour. That’s what we want from all of our guys, to play with that level of tenacity and good things are going to happen over the course of 40 minutes.”

Notes

  • Cal leads the series 90-67.
  • The Beavers have won the last four in Corvallis.
  • Lucas has made 155 career 3-pointers; he needs five more to move into Oregon State’s career top-10 list. 
  • Oregon State is 30-2 the last five seasons when scoring 80-plus points (6-0 in 2017-18; 7-0 in 2018-19; 10-0 in 2019-20; 5-1 in 2020-21; 2-1 in 2021-22). 
  • In eight seasons under Tinkle, Oregon State is 85-22 when leading at halftime and 98-12 when leading with five minutes to play. 
  • Silva Is averaging team-highs 12.5 points and 7.3 rebounds over the last four games, while shooting 61.8 percent (21-for-34) from the field.

Ducks Next

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Oregon has won eigtht of nine games

On Saturday the Bears head to Eugene and take on the Oregon Ducks (15-7,8-3) the surprise team of the conference. They have won eight of their last nin and have road victories over UCLA and USC.

  • This will be Cal’s only meeting with the Ducks this season.
  • The Ducks are led by All-Conference forward Will Richardson, who averages 15.3 points per game.
  • Dante N’Faly, Oregon’s 6-11 center, leads the conference in field goal percentage at 68.4 (67-for-98).
  • Oregon is tied with Arizona for third in the conference in steals, 6.91 per game.
  • In the conference preseason media poll, Oregon was picked second in he conference behind UCLA. 


 

 
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