One breakthrough down for the Oregon State men’s basketball team.
Time for building to begin.
The Beavers got their first Pac-12 win of the season on Wednesday evening, 74-66 over Washington before 4,213 fans in Gill Coliseum.
A 1-5 conference record is not a hole too deep. Not if the Beavers can match the 40 minutes of energy and intensity they brought to the UW game.
“I think early on (in the season) we were able to put the effort in for just 20 minutes or just half of the game,” freshman forward Jarmal Reid said. “I think the Washington game showed that we actually put it together for the whole 40 minutes and it showed and we were able to come out with a nice result.”
The Beavers led by 20 in the first half, but by the 12:17 mark in the second half it was down to one at 53-52.
In prior games, that run would have resulted in a defeat.
This time the Beavers did not lose their intensity and were able to turn back the run.
“The intensity level was obvious. Even when we lost the lead, our intensity level didn’t wane,” coach Craig Robinson said. “It was there the entire time and I was actually less concerned with the loss of the lead than I was during the game when I saw it. It just never felt like we were not going to get our run back.”
Damage on offense came through ball movement and finding players flashing to the hoop or drifting uncovered on the perimeter.
Defensively, the Beavers used their length to bother UW’s shooters and disrupt passing lanes.
The Beavers clicked when they went to man-to-man. After watching film of the game, Robinson estimated that the defense worked 85 percent of the time.
The Beavers did a particularly good job with their help defense against UW.
“We’re still very early for being a man-to-man team and I know it’s hard for people to understand that, but when you’re going from being a mostly zone team with mostly zone talent to playing man-to-man, it does take some time to get the nuances of help defense,” Robinson said. “That’s what we’ve really been deficient in is help-side defense and I thought in the Washington game we did a very, very good job of that.”
Getting that first win was a step forward and the Beavers can’t afford to move back.
Washington State is up next at 2 p.m. today. The Cougars are also 1-5 in the Pac-12 but they’ve have been a tough matchup for OSU in recent seasons.
“You can’t just say it’s a win,” guard Ahmad Starks said. “We have to be fully prepared (today) for our game. It’s a semi-early game so we need to be extra-prepared for that and come in and get loose.”
WSU is led by 6-foot-10 forward Brock Motum with 18.8 points and 6.4 rebounds a game.
Guard Mike Ladd (6-6) averages 11.2 points and six rebounds, although he’s scoring 16.2 points a game in Pac-12 play. Guard DaVonte Lacy is also a threat with the ball.
D.J. Shelton adds size at 6-10 and had one of his best games for the Cougars last season in Corvallis with 14 points and nine rebounds. He was 5 for 5 from the field and 4 for 4 from the free-throw line.
“They’re really strong working their sets and then trying to find Brock whenever he’s available because he’s a really good scorer,” Starks said. “So we have to try to limit his touches and make sure the other guys don’t get off.”