LAS VEGAS — Here are some notes and quotes from my Tuesday interview with Wayne Tinkle that didn't make my preview story for Oregon State's first-round game with California in the Pac-12 tournament at T-Mobile Arena.
Players brought out their phones to get pictures at the T-Mobile Arena, which opened last April, as they walked into the arena before Wednesday’s shootaround.
Tinkle said he wouldn’t have been happy to see last year’s veteran team do that.
“You’ve got to let them enjoy it,” the coach said. “But then also, let’s put all that aside when the ball goes up in the air, let’s take our game plan and try and execute it the best that we can.”
Tinkle said the tournament experience for his young team is a plus.
“All in all the energy has been great, even at the quick shootaround just now. So I think there’s a little extra bounce in their step,” he said. “We want them to share and enjoy that, but then also let’s try to harness it and make sure that we stay focused to the plan. But all of it, whatever happens in the next few days, will be very valuable to our program moving forward for sure.”
Tinkle said his team’s first half against Oregon, in which the Beavers held the Ducks to 11 of 30 (36.7) percent shooting, was one of the better halves of the season.
He also pointed to the first half in home games against Arizona (allowing 27 points) and Colorado (24) and both games against UCLA (34 and 32).
We’ve had some good halves,” Tinkle said. “We just haven’t been able to put them together for 40 minutes.”
Tinkle and his staff have been trying to get the players in the frame of mind of thinking less and just playing.
The results have been hit and miss.
“At times it’s shown and it’s been positive, but we’re not able to do it consistently enough,” the coach said. “But now that we’re in the postseason, what we’ve really been saying the past few days, hey it’s a fresh start, we’re zero and zero.”
Tinkle has essentially asked his players, ‘why not get some momentum going?’ If the players are going to falter, do it on the side of aggression, he said.
The Beavers know the Bears are a solid defensive team, particularly in the halfcourt. Cal held OSU to a 52-point average and a combined 38.8 percent in two wins against the Beavers.
Despite playing essentially seven players in its rotation, Oregon State will look to get in transition to avoid playing halfcourt offense as much as possible.
Guards Stevie Thompson, JaQouri McLaughlin and Kendal Manuel will be at the forefront of making that happen.
“Those are all guys that can push, they can make shots,” Tinkle said. “The one thing we can’t do yet because we aren’t physically there, is get to the rim and score over bigs or with contact. But I know if we push and we get the ball turned we’ll get some advantages to throw it inside to Drew (Eubanks) before they’re ready to double team. We might get some inside-outs with the defense collapsing.”