TUCSON, Ariz. — Oregon State got just about everything it could have asked from its defense Thursday night against a high-scoring team in Arizona.
The Beavers just weren’t up to the task offensively, as they answered several second-half runs by the Wildcats but eventually were unable to match the firepower.
Led by Rawle Alkins and Deandre Ayton, No. 17 Arizona used a 16-3 run late in the game to pull away for a 62-53 win at McKale Center.
Tres Tinkle had 18 points and nine rebounds for OSU (10-6, 2-2 Pac-12) but was also tagged with seven of the Beavers’ 15 turnovers. Stevie Thompson added 12 points, five rebounds and five turnovers.
Drew Eubanks had his hands full with Ayton, the Wildcats’ dominating big man. Oregon State’s junior forward had eight points on 4-of-13 shooting with five rebounds and two blocks.
Ayton had 14 points (on 6 of 8) with 10 rebounds and a block. Allonzo Trier led Arizona (13-4, 3-1) with 15 of his game-high 21 points in the second half, with four 3-pointers and four rebounds.
Oregon State’s second-half mistakes, including eight turnovers, were put in the spotlight.
Beavers coach Wayne Tinkle said in a radio interview afterward that a moral victory might have been OK last year, when his team went 5-27 with a roster featuring less talent and depth. He said he loved his team’s effort but that it needs to add some “smarts and discipline.”
Arizona, averaging 83.8 points and shooting 50.4 percent for the season coming in, was 22 of 53 (41.5 percent) overall and 6 of 21 on 3-pointers. Oregon State was 22 of 56 (39.3) and 6 of 14 from deep.
Trailing by one at halftime, Arizona turned up its defensive pressure in the opening minutes of the second half and Oregon State couldn’t handle it.
Despite some poster-worthy dunks by the Wildcats that got the crowd revved up, the Beavers survived the initial wave.
Tres Tinkle hit a 3-pointer and Seth Berger tipped in a Eubanks miss to get OSU back ahead at 31-29. Eubanks later scored inside against Ayton to make it a 7-0 run.
As they did in the first half, the Beavers continued to make it difficult for the Wildcats to score with a stingy zone defense.
Arizona came back with its own 7-0 run as Oregon State again struggled to take care of the ball.
But the Beavers weren’t done.
Thompson was quiet offensively before scoring consecutive baskets to give OSU its final lead of the game at 39-38.
Eubanks blocked a shot by Parker Jackson-Cartwright, gathered the ball and got it ahead to Thompson for the one-handed flush.
“We answered and our guys weren’t scared,” coach Tinkle said.
The Beavers had the momentum but it was soon an afterthought.
The Wildcats scored eight straight points in less than two minutes. Ayton added two free throws to make it a 10-0 run. Alkins capped what would eventually be a 16-3 stretch with a 3-pointer with 4:11 left for a 12-point lead.
Oregon State got no closer than seven from there.
OSU junior center Gligorije Rakocevic played six minutes after missing the last four games with a right calf injury. He had one rebound.
The Beavers got to halftime with a one-point lead despite not scoring after Tres Tinkle’s layin with 5:29 left gave the visitors a 22-15 advantage.
OSU started fast, jumping out to a 12-2 lead less than five minutes in with scoring from four different players.
Turnovers in the following stretches kept the Beavers from extending their lead.
Arizona responded with an 11-2 run covering seven-plus minutes. Trier gave the Wildcats their first 3-pointer after seven misses to cut the deficit to 16-13.
Layins by Tinkle and Kendal Manuel helped OSU to a seven-point lead, and another by Tinkle shortly after got it back to seven.
“I thought our guys really came out with great effort to the game plan,” coach Tinkle said. “Then, unfortunately, that wasn’t enough.”
The Beavers didn’t score again in the half, and the Wildcats got the final six points before the break to close within 22-21. Arizona’s 21 points were eight fewer than in any other first half this season.
The Beavers started the game 5 of 10 from the floor but were 5 of 19 up to halftime after missing their last several attempts. The Wildcats opened 2 of 8 and reached the half at 9 of 24.
Second personal fouls for Ayton and Trier, Arizona’s top two scorers, limited the duo to a combined 10 points and 25 minutes in the first half.