There’s no way around it — last week was frustrating and disappointing for the Oregon State men’s basketball team. The Beavers lost to Stanford and Cal by a combined total of 44 points, despite holding decent leads in both games.
But take a deep breath.
After all, in your wildest dreams did you expect the Beavers to win 10 games this season? If you did, I’d love to buy you a drink. But here they are entering the Civil War at 17-12, with a chance to finish with a .500 Pac-12 record if they can upset the red-hot Ducks. It’s a daunting challenge, but at least the Beavers will be in the friendly confines of Gill Coliseum
Yes, the last several weeks have been rough, but as a whole, this season has been a huge success for Wayne Tinkle and his squad. Buoyed by a strong defense and the all around play of junior college transfer Gary Payton II, the Beavers have been one of the biggest surprises.
More importantly, there’s excitement and momentum surrounding the program, whether it’s the bevy of great press or the larger crowds filling Gill. And that bodes well for the coming seasons when the Beavers should receive a massive talent upgrade with the arrival of their 2015 recruits, who make up a top-20 class.
In addition to Payton this season, we’ve seen Malcolm Duvivier handle the point guard position admirably, Jarmal Reid become a solid option down low, and the entire team play unselfishly, maybe even too much so. But when a group plays together as well as the Beavers have (and seem to enjoy each other), that also bodes well for the future.
Right now, the Beavers’ lack of depth has caught up to them. They are exhausted and banged up. And the fact that they lost their top four scorers from last season is showing, as they struggle to score consistently. So it will be interesting to see how they enter the Pac-12 tourney. But they always play hard and to the end.
Here’s hoping the Beavers can get their 18th win tomorrow. That, combined with a few wins in the Pac-12 tourney, could be enough to get them into the NIT. But no matter what happens, though, this has been a heck of a season and has provided a glimpse into what should be a bright future for the Beavers.
Go Beavs! And beat the ducks! (RW)