Oregon State opens with 72-59 win over UC Riverside
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State fell behind UC Riverside in the second half of their season opener, but a full-court press and a couple of turnovers put the Beavers quickly back in control.
“We know what we’re capable of doing when we’re fired up,” Tres Tinkle said. “In our closed scrimmage, our exhibition game and even in practice, we know when we kind of turn up a notch everybody gets even more focused, energy comes up. We just needed a spark, so that was the main reason for that. When you press and trap, you’re flying around, so it’s a quick way to get us going, get our motors going, get everyone locked in.”
Tinkle had 19 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and the Oregon State Beavers won their season opener 72-59 over UC Riverside on Tuesday night.
Ethan Thompson added 19 points and older brother Stephen Thompson Jr. had 18 more for the Beavers, who came out sluggish in the second half but rallied to lead by as many as 17. Oregon State improved to 5-0 in season openers under coach Wayne Tinkle.
The Beavers’ victory spoiled David Patrick’s debut as head coach for UC Riverside. Patrick was an assistant at TCU the past two seasons.
Dikymbe Martin led the Highlanders with 20 points. Martin, one of six returning Riverside players, averaged 13.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists last season. The Highlanders went 9-22 overall last season and 4-12 in the Big West.
“The main thing I stressed was playing hard and not giving up, and I think they did that tonight,” Patrick said.
Oregon State returned all of its key players except Drew Eubanks, who is currently on a two-way contract with the San Antonio Spurs. Senior Gligorije Rakocevic started in his spot against the Highlanders.
The Beavers finished 16-16 last season, 7-11 in conference play. Tres Tinkle, the coach’s son, is the conference’s top returning scorer with an average of 17.6 points per game. He also averaged 7.2 rebounds.
The Beavers used a 9-0 run to take an early 13-3 lead. Stephen Thompson’s jumper in the paint put Oregon State ahead 23-13. But the Highlanders went on a 14-5 run to narrow the Beavers’ lead to 28-27 at the half. Martin led all scorers with 13 points.
Martin’s jumper early in the second have gave Riverside a 32-31 lead. But the Highlanders couldn’t separate themselves much and the Beavers responded with a 14-0 run to go up 47-35 on Stephen Thompson’s consecutive 3-pointers.
Patrick said the Highlanders were good with turnovers for the first 30 minutes.
“But we had a six-minute run where we turned it over six times and they got it going,” Patrick said.
Tinkle’s 3-pointer extended the lead to 56-43 with just under eight minutes left and the Beavers cruised the rest of the way.
“Gutty win to pull that one out,” coach Wayne Tinkle said. “Obviously we need to play a lot better. We got off to a good start and then I think we got away from the game plan, got a little selfish offensively, and defensively — as always when you don’t keep your focus offensively you carry over a little bit of that frustration to the defensive end.”
Oregon State: The Beavers went 8-4 in nonconference play last season. … Oregon State was picked in the Pac-12 preseason media poll to finish 10th in the league.
UC Riverside: The Highlanders went 3-9 outside of the Big West last season. … UC Riverside was picked to finish seventh in the Big West. Freshman guard Dragan Elkaz started had 12 points for the Highlanders.
Rakocevic finished with 12 points and four rebounds, going 6 of 9 from the floor.
“I still need to finish. I need to finish every single shot,” he said. “I get inside, so that’s on me I need to work on my right hook shot more.”
Oregon State: Host to Wyoming on Saturday.
UC Riverside: Visits Portland State on Saturday night.