Preview: Oregon State at UCLA
Oregon State is fresh off its first season sweep of rival Oregon in nine years. The Beavers are now eyeing another sweep Thursday when they visit UCLA.
Beating the Bruins, though, at home (79-66 on Jan. 13) and on the road would be even more notable as that hasn’t happened in 31 years. In the meantime, Oregon State has second place all to itself in the Pac-12 – sitting a half-game ahead of Arizona State and Utah – and coach Wayne Tinkle knows his team has plenty of work to do over the final six games of the regular season. “(Sweeping Oregon) is a good start,” Tinkle said Saturday in his post-game news conference. “We just have to bring our hard hats and lunch pails every day.” UCLA also has work to do to get itself out of its current tailspin, having lost four of its last five games and seven of 10 since a 3-0 Pac-12 start.
TV: 11 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
ABOUT OREGON STATE (16-8, 8-4): The 72-57 win over the Ducks was the Beavers’ fourth win in their last five games, ensuring the program’s best 12-game conference start since the 1990-91 squad began 11-1. Forward Tres Tinkle (20.1 points per game) and guards/brothers Stephen Thompson Jr. (16.3) and Ethan Thompson (13.7) account for more than two-thirds (67.6 percent) of Oregon State’s scoring and each of the three also averages at least 4.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists. As a team, the Beavers rank second in the conference in field-goal percentage (47.0) and assists per game (15.2) but bring up the rear in 3-point accuracy at 32.3 percent.
ABOUT UCLA (13-13, 6-7): Points haven’t been the problem for the Bruins who are averaging a conference-best 79.6 in Pac-12 play. Rather, sloppy ball handling (league-most 16.2 turnovers in conference action), off-target free-throw shooting (conference-worst 62.8 percent for the season) and poor defense (79.5 points surrendered per Pac-12 contest) have been UCLA’s downfalls, and its 104-80 loss at Stanford last Saturday night is only the latest example. Guards Kris Wilkes (17.3 points), Jaylen Hands (13.0) and center Moses Brown (10.5) are the Bruins’ leading scorers while Hands leads the team – and the Pac-12 – with 6.2 assists per outing.
1. The Thompson brothers had 17 points, six rebounds and six assists apiece in Oregon State’s Jan. 13 win over UCLA while Wilkes scored a game-high 21 for the Bruins.
2. UCLA has won 13 of the last 14 against Oregon State at Pauley Pavilion, with the lone Beavers victory during that span coming on March 5, 2016.
3. Tres Tinkle is the only Pac-12 player to rank in the top 10 in scoring (second), rebounding (fifth), assists (eighth) and steals (second).