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OSU men's basketball notebook: Utah win 'up there' among team's best Pac-12 efforts
OREGON STATE MEN’S BASKETBALL NOTEBOOK

OSU men's basketball notebook: Utah win 'up there' among team's best Pac-12 efforts

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Wayne Tinkle wasn’t quite ready to commit to declaring Thursday night’s 70-51 home win against Utah his team’s best 40-minute effort in Pac-12 men’s basketball play this season.

Oregon State’s coach was pleased with the final score and the positives of performing well on both ends of the court, but there were some hang-ups.

Tinkle said his team occasionally got sloppy with its passing, made risky gambles on defense for potential steals and got beat on backdoor plays at the end of the shot clock a few times.

“It’s up there,” Tinkle said of the overall result.

The Beavers (15-9, 5-7) played almost exclusively man-to-man defense in the win against Oregon last Saturday. Thursday, they were able to successfully jump from one defensive set to another and hold Utah (14-10, 5-7) to just 37.3% shooting.

“That’s big time for our guys to be locked into the plan,” the coach added. “Really proud of how we set the tone defensively and the way we shared the ball, made a lot of plays for each other. Big, big win for us.”

Oregon State got a second consecutive Pac-12 victory for the first time this season and will try to make it three when it hosts No. 16 Colorado at 7 p.m. Saturday at Gill Coliseum.

Passing the ball

Oregon State had 19 assists (on 24 baskets) Thursday, the team’s second-highest total in conference play this season, surpassed only by the 21 the Beavers recorded in scoring 82 points versus Arizona.

Ethan Thompson had 11 of those Thursday to equal a career best (at Washington State last season).

The junior guard averaged 4.8 assists through the first 17 games this season before going through a five-game stretch where he had just six total. Thompson has dished out 15 assists the past two games to boost his season average to 4.25, good for eighth in the Pac-12.

Climbing charts

OSU’s Tres Tinkle is on the verge of four school records.

The senior forward is currently tied with Mel Counts (1961-64) for the most consecutive games scoring in double figures with 89.

Tinkle needs 65 points to pass Gary Payton (1986-90) for the school’s all-time points record. He needs to make 10 free throws and attempt 15 to break Counts’ marks of 543 and 693, respectively, in those categories.

With eight rebounds Thursday, Tinkle moved past Dave Gambee (1955-58) for third on the school’s career list. Tinkle now has 834. Counts is first at an untouchable 1,375 and A.C. Green (1981-85) second at 880.

In pursuit of Madness

Oregon State has wins against the top four teams it’s faced in the NCAA NET rankings, a tool used by the NCAA tournament selection committee to fill out the bracket. The rankings are updated daily.

One of those is Colorado, which was 17th in the NET as of Friday. The others — Arizona was ninth, Oregon 25th and Stanford 33rd. Eighth among Pac-12 teams, the Beavers were 64th in the NET Friday, moving up five spots after beating Utah.

Most noted sites making NCAA bracket predictions have the Pac-12 getting five or six teams in the tournament. Oregon State’s next five opponents — Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon and Stanford — are all included.

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