Wayne Tinkle alluded to Tres Tinkle, his son, and Stevie Thompson as Batman and Robin.
Thursday night, Batman wasn’t available and Robin had to pick up the slack and make something happen.
Thompson certainly did that, with Tres Tinkle on the sideline with a bad ankle for Oregon State’s game with USC at Gill Coliseum.
A career-high 34 points from Thompson led the Beavers to a 79-74 Pac-12 men's basketball win to get to 2-0 in conference play for the first time since 2011.
Coach Tinkle first praised the play of freshmen Antoine Vernon and Warren Washington — sitting alongside him during the postgame press conference — during a key 18-0 first-half run.
“Then what do you say about Stevie?” the coach asked. “Just stepping up as a senior, willing our team to victory. Everybody else fed off of him and they all took turns making plays. Huge win for us, huge win for the program.”
OSU (10-4, 2-0) led by five at halftime and by as many as eight in the second half before USC (9-7, 2-1) finally tied the game on forward Bennie Boatwright's 3-pointer with 2:59 left in regulation.
It was a 3-pointer by Ethan Thompson, Stevie’s younger brother, with one minute left in the five-minute extra period, that put Oregon State ahead for good.
The Beavers had a hard time slowing down Boatwright, who had a career-high 37 points. But he missed twice in the final minute of the game and OSU was able to close out the game at the free-throw line.
Tres Tinkle, the Beavers’ season leader in scoring, rebounds and assists, sat out with a sprained ankle suffered in last Saturday’s win at Oregon.
Thursday, Stevie Thompson tied a career high with 10 rebounds and added five assists.
Ethan Thompson had 13 points and four rebounds; Gligorije Rakocevic 10 points; Kylor Kelley five points, five rebounds and seven blocks; and Washington, a freshman big man who didn’t play against Oregon, contributed seven points, seven rebounds and solid defense that helped slow down Boatwright in the latter stages of the contest.
“Coach said to be ready because we have some wounded warriors,” Washington said. “I made sure I was ready mentally, physically. I’m glad I got the job done.”
Kelley and the Beavers held USC forward Nick Rakocevic, the reigning Pac-12 player of the week, to six points on 2 of 11 from the floor.
The extra period was tied three times before Boatwright canned a medium-range jumper from the baseline with 1:29 left to put USC ahead 74-72.
Ethan Thompson answered with a 3-pointer from the corner deep into the shot clock on an assist from his brother with 60 seconds remaining.
Boatwright missed two 3-pointers from there, and Stevie Thompson made three of four free throws at the other end.
Oregon State shot 27 of 56 (48.2 percent) overall and USC 28 of 66 (42.4). The Beavers won the rebounds, 41-33, and were 9 for 22 (40.9) on 3-pointers, marking just the second time in the last seven games they’ve been over 40 percent on deep balls.
Stevie Thompson picked up early in the second half where he left off in the first. The senior guard’s 3-pointer on the opening possession after halftime gave the Beavers an eight-point advantage and himself 20 points for the game.
The Trojans slowly chipped away at their deficit, and the Beavers found a way each time to make a play or two to hold onto the lead.
Alfred Hollins’ two free throws with 14:33 to go helped OSU equal its biggest edge of the game at eight.
USC closed within four for the second time on a Jonah Mathews 3-pointer. Boatwright’s 3-pointer made it a three-point game, and another shortly after, with 9:17 left, made it 53-51 Oregon State.
The Beavers answered with an Ethan Thompson corner 3-pointer and a Gligorije Rakocevic hook shot to go back ahead by seven.
The Trojans kept pushing and got within one on Shaqquan Aaron’s layin with 4:55 left.
USC later added five straight, on a Boatwright 3-pointer and a Nick Rakocevic basket, the later with 2:19 to go, to take the lead.
Both teams suffered empty possessions before Ethan Thompson followed Washington’s close miss with a layin to tie the game with 18.5 seconds left.
Boatwright missed a shot from the top of the key in the final seconds of regulation, and Ethan Thompson’s heave from three-quarters court just before the buzzer was off the mark.
The Beavers rallied for a 36-31 halftime lead behind an 18-0 run midway through the half.
It was the Trojans with the hot start to the game as the visitors made nine of their first 12 shots to OSU’s 6 of 14.
The Beavers held Nick Rakocevic scoreless for nearly eight minutes. But his teammates were picking up the slack. Boatwright’s conventional three-point play gave the Trojans a 25-14 lead.
But Oregon State soon caught fire while USC struggled to fine the net.
The Beavers made seven of eight shots during a stretch in which the Trojans missed eight straight.
Stevie Thompson scored 10 in the 18-0 run, which put OSU up seven. The Beavers got big contributions from Washington, who had five first-half points Thursday.
Stevie Thompson finished the half with 17 points, including three 3-pointers, on 7 of 9 shooting. Boatwright had 15 on 7 of 10 from the floor.