Long Beach State was no match for Drew Eubanks on Saturday night.
The 49ers had no one who matched up well with the Oregon State junior forward, and the Beavers took advantage.
Eubanks had 26 points and 11 rebounds in Oregon State’s 89-81 men’s basketball win at Gill Coliseum.
“I knew they weren’t going to have anybody was long, or strong enough to bang down low,” said Eubanks, who shot 9 of 12 from the floor. My teammates put me in a good position and I just finished at the rim.”
Often guarded by players 3 or 4 inches shorter and 20 pounds lighter, the 6-10 Eubanks started fast with 16 first-half points. He added to that total after the break while the Beavers (2-1) got offensive contributions across the board.
Eubanks made all eight of his free throws, along with 11 rebounds and two blocks. He’s now 23 of 26 (88.5 percent) at the line this season.
Tres Tinkle added 20 points, four rebounds and four assists and Stevie Thompson 17 points and six rebounds.
Thompson, who has struggled with his shooting early in the season, had nine points in the last 3-plus minutes as the 49ers were making a comeback.
The junior guard shot 6 of 14 overall to improve to 14-38 for the season. He was 0 for 5 on 3-pointers and now 1 of 15 in three games.
Wayne Tinkle said he told Thompson “now’s your time” as player stood at the free-throw line late in the game. Thompson produced some key plays.
“We’ve just got to get him to relax. We know he’s a great shooter. I think he’s really putting a lot of pressure on himself,” the coach said. “We have to find a way to get to relax because when he’s hitting shots and making plays, it’s just another piece to our deal that obviously puts us at a different level.”
Bryan Alberts had 19 points for Long Beach State (2-1), which hit nine 3-pointers, six in the second half.
The 49ers dug into their nine-point halftime deficit quickly. Three 3-pointers, two coming from Edon Maxhuni, cut the OSU lead to 46-45 less than four minutes into the second half.
A 9-2 run, with five points from Tres Tinkle, got the Beavers headed in the right direction. A short Eubanks hook shot made it 55-47 with 13:45 left.
Eubanks continued his domination down low with a pair of dunks in a 72-second stretch that pushed the OSU advantage to 10.
The Beavers held the 49ers at arm’s length for more than nine minutes, never letting Long Beach get closer than seven points in that stretch.
Tinkle’s 3-pointer — his third of the game — with 3:58 left pushed the lead back to 10.
The 49ers climbed to within five on Barry Ogalue’s basket off a steal with 1:29 remaining. It got to three with two Ogalue foul shots 27 seconds later.
Stevie Thompson came back with a contested lay-in and Eubanks hit two free throws with 25 seconds left to push the lead to seven. The 49ers got no closer than four from there.
Coach Tinkle said he saw good execution from his team in stretches.
“The guys got it going. We got the ball, we started to attack. We hit some timely 3s,” he said. “(Eubanks) was a load down inside. They didn’t have an answer for him.”
The Beavers head to the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando with some momentum. They open the eight-team tournament playing St. John’s (3-0) on Thursday.
OSU and Long Beach State could meet again Friday, in a second-round game, should both win or lose their opening games Thursday. The 49ers defeated the Beavers 71-67 in Portland last December.
Oregon State got exactly what it wanted early in Saturday’s game, when the Beavers didn’t get in a hurry and lose the ball or throw it away.
OSU opened with a 16-7 lead and three dunks, including two by Eubanks.
The Beavers were shooting well, starting 7 of 11, but they also had five turnovers in the game’s first eight minutes.
Soon after, the offense disappeared altogether, as the mistakes were joined by poor offensive movement.
Stevie Thompson’s short floater ended a scoring drought of nearly six minutes as the Beavers held onto a 20-13 lead.
Fortunately for the home team, the visitors were equally careless with the ball. Both teams had 10 turnovers in the game’s first 15 minutes.
OSU renewed its effort to get the ball to Eubanks and it paid off. The junior post had six points in the last 5:05 in the half and got to halftime with 16 points and seven rebounds.
The Beaver defense led to some transition opportunities, and 3-pointers by Tinkle and Kendal Manuel helped OSU to a 40-31 lead at the break.