CORVALLIS, Ore. — No matter how hard UCSB tried on Wednesday, it still remained one of the half-nots of college basketball.
Oregon State became the third straight team to overwhelm the Gauchos during a second half, pulling away for a 78-67 victory at Gill Coliseum.
“We have to get stops,” UCSB coach Joe Pasternack said. “I was really happy with how hard we competed on the glass. We beat them on the glass 43-to-30 — had 18 offensive rebounds — and that was an emphasis this week.
“But they’re a great team; they’re an NCAA Tournament team. They have the best player in the Pac-12, an NBA first-round pick, and we didn’t have any answers for him.”
That player, coach’s son Tres Tinkle, recorded a double-double of 27 points and 11 rebounds. He helped the Beavers shoot 69.2% percent during the second half (56.6% for the game) while increasing a halftime lead of seven points (34-27) to as many as 19 (51-32) with 13:38 remaining.
It was familiar story for UCSB (1-3). Its last three opponents have averaged 48 points during the second half while shooting 65.1%
Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle got a preview of Wednesday’s second half by watching the video of the Gauchos’ second-half collapses last week against UCLA and Rice in games that UCSB led at halftime.
The Beavers scored 24 of Wednesday’s second-half points off drives to the basket.
“We kept telling our guys not to settle,” coach Tinkle said. “We felt that we had, at every position, an advantage at the rim.
“For a while there we settled — we had three really mediocre possessions in a row in the first half when we settled for threes.”
They took their cue from the Gauchos during that first half. UCSB shot 15 three-pointers during the first 20 minutes, making only two, and were just 5-for-27 in the game (18.5%). Their backcourt of Max Heidegger, JaQuori McLaughlin, Brandon Cyrus, and Devearl Ramsey were a combined 3-for-22.
“We didn’t shoot the ball,” coach Joe Pasternack said. “It’s very uncharacteristic.
“I think we’re shooting almost 40% from three and, for whatever reason, it was like there was a lid on the basket.”
The Gauchos, who were vastly more effective inside the arc (19-38, 50%), were led by forward Amadou Sow with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds.
“We had open looks but just couldn’t make a shot,” Sow said. “That’s unfortunate, but we’ve got to get back in the gym and work on our game and get back out there.”
The Gauchos fell behind 7-0 after missing their first four shots. McLaughlin, who played his freshman season at Oregon State before transferring to UCSB, got the visitors back into the game with two free throws and two feeds to Sow. The sophomore forward dunked on the first one and made a wide-open three on the next to tie the game at 7-all. McLaughlin finished with a game-high six assists and eight rebounds.
Their offense went right back to sleep, however, with seven misses in their next eight shots. Robinson Idehen’s layup was UCSB’s only make.
The Beavers also struggled to get the dam to burst. They missed six of seven shots and committed three turnovers before finally slipping head 11-9 on a jumper by Ethan Thompson. He finished with 16 points.
“We’d just lost our way there for a few minutes,” coach Tinkle said.
Ramsey, who didn’t start because of a strained hip muscle, hit a jumper to end a three-minute scoreless drought for the Gauchos. He added a three to reduce Oregon State’s lead to 25-22.
The Gauchos were still within three, 29-26, on McLaughlin’s turn-around fade shot from the right elbow with 2:45 left in the period.
But UCSB didn’t make another basket before the break. It finished the first half with abysmal shooting percentages of 29.4% from the field and 13.3% from three.
“We left some guys (open) at times, but I thought overall we really contested well behind the arc, and that’s something we’re trying to get better at,” coach Tinkle said.
The Beavers, getting 13 points from Tres Tinkle, took a 34-27 lead into halftime.
They shot only 44.4 percent in the first half, but found the pickings easier in the second, making their first four shots. Thompson drove for three straight baskets to improve the Beavers’ lead to 46-31.
“What I wanted our veteran group to do was to put a little bit more discipline on display out there in the second half, so that the young guys could see it and learn from it,” coach Tinkle said. “It didn’t always go perfect but they’ve got to learn from these guys.”
Oregon State had made 9-of-11 shots by the time Roman Silva scored a put-back and a layup on consecutive possessions for a 53-34 lead.
Sékou Touré brought UCSB to life with a driving, three-point play. Heidegger, who struggled to find his shot all night, located it momentarily with a pair of threes during a 76-second span. He finished with 13 points and four assists, which included a pass to Sow for a double-pump layup which reduced Oregon State’s lead to 61-48.
A running floater by Matt Freeman reduced the Beavers’ lead to 61-50 with 6:22 still remaining. Freeman scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half and shot 6-for-8 from the field.
But the Gauchos got two looks at getting their deficit into single digits, and missed both times.
Sow said UCSB will be better from the experience.
“Every game is a learning experience for all of us, especially going against a Pac-12 team — a really good team,” he said. “It’s always an opportunity for us to get better, to craft our games and just get better overall.”