It was Gligorije Rakocevic in the season opener providing a scoring complement to Oregon State men’s basketball’s top three scoring options.
On Saturday, it was Alfred Hollins and Kylor Kelley sharing that role.
Hollins had 16 points, Kelley 12 and both grabbed eight rebounds in an 83-64 win against Wyoming at Gill Coliseum.
Tres Tinkle had another stat-filling game, scoring 28 points on 12-of-18 shooting from the floor to go with 11 rebounds and five assists. Stevie Thompson had 16 points and four assists and Ethan Thompson seven points, five rebounds and four assists for the Beavers (2-0).
But OSU also had role players step up, a key factor if the team is to have a successful season.
“It’s huge. We know those guys, Tres, Stephen, Ethan, what they’re going to bring. But we’ve got to develop more than that,” Beavers coach Wayne Tinkle said.
Rakocevic, the starting center, had 12 points in Tuesday’s 72-59 home win against UC Riverside.
Hollins, a 6-foot-6 sophomore forward, equaled his career high in rebounds Saturday. Kelley, a 7-foot junior transfer forward in his second official game with the program, shot 6 of 8 from the floor, including four lobs, and had four blocks to give him seven on the young season.
Their efforts helped the Beavers to a 45-28 edge on the boards, with 15 coming on offense. Wyoming (0-2) was playing without its two tallest players, both 6-10, due to injury, and rebounding was thus a point of emphasis for Oregon State.
Hollins said he took on the “all gas, no brakes” mantra from the coaching staff. He was challenged to hit the rebounds after collecting just one — to go with two points on 1-of-5 shooting — versus UC Riverside.
“I think the team vibed off of me just going hard and being physical, and I think that’s why we got the large margin,” he said. “Just me buying into the system and continually figuring out my matchup problem for different teams.”
Coach Tinkle said Hollins is figuring out how much of a “nightmare” he can be given his athleticism being able to drive to the basket.
“Bigger guys can’t guard him on the perimeter, smaller guys can’t guard him around the basket. He’s starting to get it, slowing but surely, right?” the coach said, turning to Hollins on his left during the postgame press conference.
Coach Tinkle says Kelley, who played at the NAIA and community college levels the previous two years, is a “work in progress” but noted Kelley’s block total and his ability to finish at the rim.
“Definitely have to get bigger, that’s what we’re working on,” said Kelley, listed at 215 pounds. “We’ll be playing against bigger guys soon. That’s what we’re working toward.”
Freshman forward Warren Washington made a contribution despite playing less than seven minutes. He had two points, making his only field goal attempt, and three rebounds.
Oregon State surged to a quick double-digit lead early in the game before
Wyoming got within eight later in the half.
The Cowboys closed the deficit to seven on the opening possession of the second half before the Beavers found their momentum again and put the visitors away for good.
Hollins had six points in the first five minutes after halftime to double his scoring output in the first 20 minutes.
A 14-0 run, capped by a Stevie Thompson 3-pointer with 13:48 left, made it 55-34, Beavers. The Cowboys got no closer than 16 the rest of the way.
Coach Tinkle said he saw his team step up on defense, create turnovers and not allow Wyoming to get back in it.
“I thought at key moments in the game, when maybe (the Cowboys) were going to try to make a move, the guys really responded to that and got out and were able to keep that buffer zone,” he said.
The Beavers shot 31 of 63 (49.2 percent) and the Cowboys 24 of 57 (42.1).
Tres Tinkle found his shooting range early. The junior forward hit three 3-pointers and scored 11 of the Beavers’ first 17 points.
With all parts of the game clicking, OSU used a 19-2 run to go ahead 26-11.
Hollins scored four points in that stretch, while Stevie Thompson hit a floater and later a 3-pointer to cap the run.
The Cowboys went more than five minutes without scoring but didn’t go away.
Wyoming guard Justin James, the team’s leading returning scorer who had 20 points in a loss to UC Santa Barbara earlier in the week, started slowly but fueled a run that got the visitors back in the game.
James scored eight straight Wyoming points as the Cowboys eventually cut what was a 15-point deficit to eight. Ethan Thompson had five points in the closing minutes of the half, and the Beavers pushed their advantage back to 12 and led 41-32 at the break.
Tres Tinkle had 15 points and James 11 at halftime to lead their respective squads. James finished the game with 18 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.