Oregon State hopes to pilot new course against Portland

NCAA Basketball

Oregon State aims to bounce back from a late-game collapse when it hosts Portland in a nonconference contest on Thursday night in Corvallis, Ore.

The Beavers (2-2) led visiting Wyoming by six points with under two minutes remaining on Sunday before the Cowboys scored 10 of the game’s final 11 points to leave town with a 76-73 victory.

The disappointing conclusion was Oregon State’s second straight loss. The Beavers also fell 59-55 to Pac-12 foe Washington State on Dec. 2.

“We’ve got to make corrections moving forward obviously, but we’ve got to stay together and keep making improvements and understand what’s cost us these things and correct them moving forward,” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said after the loss to Wyoming.

Senior guard Ethan Thompson scored a season-best 20 points against the Cowboys despite being just 4 of 13 from the field. He made 10 of 13 free throws. Thompson is Oregon State’s lone double-digit scorer and leads the team with averages of 15.3 points and 4.3 assists.

The Beavers got a surprise lift from sophomore reserve forward Dearon Tucker, who posted career bests of 16 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots.

Oregon State is outrebounding opponents by an average of nine per game. Junior forward Warith Alatishe leads the club with a 9.8 average on the boards and also is scoring 9.5 per game.

The Beavers own a 53-17 all-time lead in the series with Portland but the Pilots won the most recent meeting, 53-45 at the neutral Moda Center in Portland during the 2016-17 season.

The Pilots (3-1) are looking for their fourth consecutive victory. They are coming off an 86-73 home win over Portland State on Saturday.

Senior guard Ahmed Ali scored a career-high 28 points against the Vikings for his second 20-point outing in four games with the program. He is averaging 20.3 points per game.

Ali didn’t play last season after transferring from Washington State following the 2018-19 season. He initially transferred to Hawaii but left shortly before the 2019-20 season due to medical reasons. Portland announced his addition to the program in late June.

Junior guard Latrell Jones also played well against Portland State with 15 points and 10 rebounds. The 6-foot-5 Jones is tied for the team rebounding lead at a modest 4.8 per game.

“We have to come out and play hard every game,” Jones said. “We know we’re short. We’re not as big so we have to use what we have.”

Junior forward Eddie Davis (11.3) is the only other Portland player scoring in double digits.

–Field Level Media

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