Oregon State looks to bounce back at Arizona

Sports

Oregon State rebounded strongly from a lopsided loss against Arizona last month, and the Beavers must try that again beginning with a game Thursday against the Wildcats after a 29-point defeat at Colorado on Monday.

The Beavers (10-8, 6-6 Pac-12) played their third game in five days and lost to the Buffaloes 78-49 while shooting a season-low 32.7 percent while committing a season-high 20 turnovers.

Following a 98-74 home loss to Arizona on Jan. 14, Oregon State won three straight games and five out of seven.

“We’ve got to wash this one away but learn from it,” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said after the loss to Colorado. “We have to come together as a group and understand the next time we face adversity we’ve got to handle it much, much better.”

Tinkle was referencing the increased number of games in limited days caused by COVID-19 postponements. When Oregon State first played Arizona (13-6, 7-6), it was coming off a pause because of the pandemic, and the Beavers had only practiced twice in a nine-day span.

Arizona freshman guard Bennedict Mathurin scored 31 points in the first meeting in his first career start. Jordan Brown, a transfer post player from Nevada, added 25 points. Mathurin and Brown combined to make 20 of 24 shots from the field.

Arizona coach Sean Miller expects Oregon State to defend Mathurin differently on the perimeter.

“Benn’s played some excellent basketball, and when you get into conference play, coaches and players on the other team know that,” Miller said. “He’s no longer an unmarked freshman. So the scouting report (changes) and the defense will try to take away certain things that we do for him and that he’s very good at.”

Mathurin is coming off being benched in losses at Utah and Colorado last week. He responded with a 22-point effort in the loss at Boulder, Colo., last Saturday.

Miller also incorporated Kerr Kriisa into the lineup for the first time last weekend after the Estonian freshman guard missed the first 70 percent of Arizona’s games due to an NCAA clearinghouse eligibility penalty.

Kriisa’s addition provides Miller the opportunity to ease the load a bit for James Akinjo (averaging 35.8 minutes entering last week).

Ethan Thompson was Oregon State’s high scorer against Colorado with only 10 points. Roman Silva added seven points and five rebounds.

Thompson scored all 12 of his points in the final 8:37 in a 68-66 win over Washington State last Saturday.

–Field Level Media

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