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Ethan Thompson

Oregon State's Ethan Thompson defends UC Riverside's Dikymbe Martin on Tuesday. The Beavers put together a strong second-half effort to pull away for the win.

The first sentence out of Wayne Tinkle’s mouth in Tuesday night’s postgame conference talked about the “gutty win” his team had gathered against UC Riverside, a 72-59 season-opening men's basketball victory after pulling away from the Highlanders in the second half.

The second sentence described the task at hand going forward.

“Obviously we need to play a lot better,” Oregon State’s coach said. “We got off to a good start, and then I thought we got away from the game plan, got a little selfish offensively.”

The Beavers’ defense was solid throughout, save for a short stretch where UC Riverside shooters were left open, allowing the visitors to get back in the game.

Oregon State (1-0) certainly used Tuesday’s mistakes as it prepared for Saturday’s noon home game against Wyoming at Gill Coliseum.

One bright spot was the play of senior center Gligorije Rakocevic, who scored 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting.

“He did a really good job of getting in front of the rim,” Tinkle said of Rakocevic, who also had four rebounds and a steal. “We knew we were going into him. We’ve got to get to where we can throw it into our bigs and they go score baskets for us. Otherwise teams are just going to go pressure our perimeter players.”

Oregon State had no problem getting offense from those who play away from the basket. Tres Tinkle had 19 points, Stevie Thompson 18 and Ethan Thompson 17.

The Beavers scored 44 points in the key (to Riverside’s 18), which coach Tinkle said was an important statistics.

“We wanted to continue to attack. Those points are huge, and it’s not just throwing it to a post player and going one-on-one,” he said. “You spread the floor, you attack, you get to the free-throw line, you get to the rim. That’s as good as post play and points in the paint.”

Wyoming (0-1) is coming off a 76-66 Tuesday home loss to UC Santa Barbara in which former OSU guard JaQuori McLaughlin scored 17 for the victors.

The Cowboys got outrebounded 40-29 and shot 36.2 percent (21 of 58) overall, including 5 of 29 on 3-pointers.

Wyoming defeated Oregon State 75-66 at Gill last Nov. 13 while shooting 26 of 51 (51.0 percent) from the floor. Tres Tinkle had 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Beavers.

Justin James, a 6-foot-7 senior guard, is the Cowboys’ top returning scorer. He averaged 18.2 points and 6.0 rebounds last season. He had 19 points against the Beavers.

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Sports Reporter