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OSU men's basketball: Heartbreaking loss the result of more than a missed layin

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Oregon State’s two-point loss to rival Oregon on Monday night came down to much more than just Warith Alatishe’s point-blank miss at the buzzer.

Ducks coach Dana Altman praised the Beavers last offseason for their improved physicality, a factor that helped OSU defeat Oregon in last year’s Pac-12 tournament semifinals and continue a postseason run deep into the NCAA tournament.

Remembering those comments, Beavers coach Wayne Tinkle was in his players’ ears before Monday’s game at Gill Coliseum, making sure they knew that rebounding would be key.

For whatever reason, that didn’t resonate.

Oregon had a plus-10 advantage on the boards, grabbing 17 offensive rebounds, and kept the ball away from Oregon State for a 78-76 Pac-12 men’s basketball win.

“We play defense and you’re able to make them miss, a team like this who can really shoot it … when you’re not coming down with that rebound defensively, it’s kind of demoralizing because you just played defense for 30 seconds,” said Beavers center Roman Silva.

N’Faly Dante and Eric Williams Jr. each had 11 rebounds and combined for nine offensive boards for the Ducks (9-6, 2-2). As a result, Oregon overcame a 31-of-58 shooting effort by Oregon State (3-11, 1-3), which has now shot better than 50% overall in four straight games.

The Ducks were 31 of 68 and unable to take better advantage of the 10 additional attempts.

“They really made us pay,” Tinkle said. “As good as we were scoring it, it was taking possessions away from us and obviously it caught up to us in the end.”

Alatishe, who missed just once in nine field goal attempts before teammate Jarod Lucas found him wide open under the basket in the final second, had a game-high 16 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Alatishe’s final shot was too hard and bounced away.

Dashawn Davis added 14 points and five assists and Silva 12 points and nine rebounds for the Beavers, who were playing for the first time in 11 days after having two home games postponed. OSU was supposed to host Oregon this past Saturday, but the game was moved back due to COVID issues in the Ducks’ program.

Jacob Young led five Oregon players in double figures with 16 points. Williams added 14 and Dante 12.

OSU was just 2 of 16 on 3-pointers to Oregon's 8 of 26.

Oregon State rallied from nine points down with nine minutes left to tie it on Alatishe’s layin off a Glenn Taylor Jr. inbounds pass with 4:53 to go.

From there, the Beavers scored to tie the game four times but couldn’t take the lead. Alatishe scored again off an inbounds play, this time from Davis with 38 seconds remaining, to knot it at 74-all.

A Will Richardson 3 on the next possession put Oregon right back in front. Davis was immediately fouled, and he made both to close the gap to one.

The Ducks gave the Beavers some help down the stretch, going just 5 of 10 at the foul line in the closing five minutes.

Young made 1 of 2 free throws with eight seconds left. Jarod Lucas, a hot shooter coming in who was 0 for 8 on 3-pointers Monday, brought the ball up court and came off a Maurice Calloo screen to find Alatishe under the basket.

Tinkle praised Taylor, a freshman forward, first by keeping him on the court late in the game and second by his words afterward.

“He’s trying to play the way we ask him to play day in and day out,” the coach said of Taylor, who had seven points on 3-of-5 shooting (including a 3-pointer), three assists and two rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench.

“Really just locking in from the stretch. Every possession counts, really,” Taylor said of what he’d take away from the defeat. “I’m going to go back and watch film, see the defensive miscues that I messed up on, see what I could have done better out there and just come back the next one.”

Tinkle said he’s done a (crappy) job and that this is the latest in the season, in his 16 years as a head coach, that one of his teams has come together.

“I’ve got to take that blame square on my shoulders,” Tinkle said. “But we drew a line in the sand a while back and we’ve responded. The guys have been better the last four games. But we can’t compete and be happy with a close loss.”

It doesn’t get easier now, as the Beavers go to No. 5 USC on Thursday and No. 3 UCLA Saturday.

Trailing by four at halftime, the Beavers kept the Ducks within reach early in the second half.

But Richardson’s 3-pointer gave Oregon a 51-44 lead with 14 minutes left, the visitors’ biggest lead to that point.

OSU answered with five straight on a Dexter Akanno 3 and a Davis jumper. Oregon came right back with five in a row of its own. The Ducks later pushed it to a 62-53 advantage on Dante’s three-point play with nine minutes remaining.

But the Beavers weren’t done, as they found a way to turn up the pressure on both ends in a hurry.

Silva’s tip-in of a Davis reverse capped a 6-0 OSU run. Taylor answered a Dante offensive rebound and basket with a 3-pointer then found Alatishe off an inbounds play to tie the game with 4:53 to go.

Jesse Sowa can be reached via email at jesse.sowa@lee.net or on Twitter, @JesseSowaGT.

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