Three wins to open the season that weren’t perfect but still resulted in victories allowed Oregon State men’s basketball to learn lessons while feeling good about the progress being made.
Saturday night’s 79-66 home loss to Portland State provided plenty of areas to work on as the Beavers see a significant uptick in competition this week.
The biggest deficiency that stood out to Beavers coach Wayne Tinkle against the Vikings was turnovers. OSU had 12 turnovers in the first half on their way to 18 total, one short of the number they had in the opener against Tulsa.
“We knew that was going to be a key. They didn’t trap. It wasn’t great pressure,” Tinkle said. “The three things were toughness, discipline and togetherness, and we failed all three of those.”
A sped-up pace produced by Portland State had Oregon State making poor decisions.
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“On the vets’ side, we knew what was going to happen. We knew what they were going to come here to do,” said sophomore forward Glenn Taylor Jr., who had a career-high 25 points but also five turnovers. “That’s our fault, not gathering up our team and keeping them poised.”
Dexter Akanno, another team leader, had four turnovers.
Tinkle said he believed his team frequently “settled” on offense, resulting in a season-low eight assists. The coach said that number showed some selfishness by his players. He also saw a lack of fundamentals in the way the Beavers attacked the basket. There were numerous turnovers related to ball handling in the key.
The coach was looking for ball and player movement offensively and for the Beavers to play off of two feet, and those were all areas the team struggled to maintain.
“When we’ve had our good moments we’re moving the ball. We don’t care who’s getting the limelight,” Tinkle said. “The good-look 3s from draw-kick, in-and-outs, we shoot higher percentages. But when we do that stuff one on one, we prove that we’re not a very good team.”
Tinkle said the lack of offensive movement resulted in frustration on defense and an inability to slow down Portland State regardless of the scheme being played. In addition, the Beavers had a difficult time defending without fouling.
The Viking shot 12 of 24 (50%) from the floor in the second half and for the game were 26 of 56 (46.4) to record a season-high percentage by an Oregon State opponent.
Akanno said correcting those problems start with preparation.
“We saw that we weren’t getting it done in practice then low and behold it happened in the game,” the junior guard said. That’s on our vet leaders to round up our troops and get us going. It’s on us to respond.”
That response will have to come against a ranked team.
The Beavers play No. 7 Duke at noon Thursday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the Phil Knight Legacy, an eight-team bracketed tournament that will also include games at Moda Center and Chiles Center at University of Portland.
Oregon State will play Florida or Xavier on Friday and then No. 2 Gonzaga, Portland State, Purdue or West Virginia in its tournament finale Sunday.
One bright spot versus Portland State was the offensive production and efficiency from Taylor, who has now reset his career-best scoring total in consecutive games.
An all-Pac-12 freshman team selection last season shot 6 of 8 overall and was 13 of 15 at the free-throw line. He also had two rebounds and two assists.
Taylor had 10 straight Oregon State points — converting two conventional three-point plays in the process — that helped the Beavers dig out of an 11-point deficit midway through the first half.
“I thought he was fairly patient. He was cutting and moving. His teammates found him,” Tinkle said. “He was attacking downhill. Obviously got out in transition, I thought got him going a little bit. Then he converted pretty well at the free-throwing. Getting fouled, drawing contact.”
Freshman point guard Jordan Pope had 14 points with two 3-pointers on 5-of-8 shooting, putting him in double-figure scoring in all four games this season. He added two assists and two steals.
Outside of Taylor and Pope, the rest of the team shot 9 of 27.