CORVALLIS — Most of the fans in the sellout crowd of 9,301 at Gill Coliseum were on their feet as Oregon State’s coaches waved their arms and encouraged those still sitting to join the celebration while the final seconds ticked away.
After Oregon State moved into sole possession of second place in the Pac-12 men's basketball race with a 72-57 win over Oregon on Saturday night, the Beavers ran past the student section for a line of handshakes and high fives on their way to the locker room.
“That was a huge win for us, awesome,” senior center Gligorije Rakocevic said. “The best feeling ever. I think that was the best game we have ever played as a team.”
The Beavers (16-8) swept the Civil War for the first time since 2009-10 to improve to 8-4 in the Pac-12, equaling their second-highest conference win total in the past 28 years with six games still left on the schedule. OSU sits above every team in the conference except Washington as it seeks to secure one of the four first-round byes at the conference tournament for the first time ever.
“Big win for us obviously, proud of the guys,” OSU coach Wayne Tinkle said. “It wasn’t a thing of beauty.”
Oregon (15-10) would agree after leading throughout the first half before being outscored 45-29 in the second half to drop to 6-6 in Pac-12 play.
“In the first half we did a nice job defending them, but in the second half we gave up too many easy baskets and it bit us in the butt,” Oregon senior Paul White said.
Oregon had a total of 18 turnovers while making 10 shots from the field in each half.
“You turn the ball over 18 times, go 8-for-15 from the line and miss the front end of two one-and-ones when you are struggling offensively, that’s going to be a problem,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “And then they score 45 points and shoot 54 percent in the second half. That’s not a good formula for winning on the road.”
Oregon led 28-22 when Kenny Wooten hit two free throws with 3:45 left in the first half before Tres Tinkle scored the final five points of the half.
Stephen Thompson Jr. opened the second half with a four-point play that gave OSU its first lead before Ethan Thompson followed with a three-point play and Tinkle added a basket before Oregon ended an eight-minute scoreless streak.
White and Louis King combined to score 12 straight Oregon points to put the Ducks back ahead 42-40, but Thompson Jr. followed with a 3-pointer to give Oregon State the lead for the rest of the way.
Miles Norris got the Ducks within 50-46 before Tinkle made a 3-pointer on the first of six straight possessions where the Beavers scored to take a 66-51 lead.
“They had a span where they broke out and it was hard for us to catch up,” White said.
King led Oregon with 20 points and White added 12, but the rest of the Ducks combined for 25 points. Payton Pritchard had seven assists, but took just four shots en route to four points while Wooten also had four points while attempting two shots.
“We predetermine the plays we are going to try and make and it gets us in trouble,” Altman said. “We missed a lot of open shots and missed a lot of open receivers to get better shots.”
Thompson Jr. scored 15 of his game-high 22 points in the second half as Oregon State shot 14-for-26 from the field during the final 20 minutes. Tinkle added 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds and Ethan Thompson had 10 points.
“Our guys really cranked it up, especially near the end of the first half and got some momentum,” Wayne Tinkle said. “Stevie helped us offensively when we were struggling to score and then our defense really took over in the second half.”