Corvallis, Ore. -- Oregon State men's basketball returns home following a pair of road losses to the University of Arizona and Arizona State. Head coach Wayne Tinkle called the final two games on the road an end to what he considered 'the hardest start to the Pac-12 season'. Now with a road trip to Oregon, two home games against UCLA and USC, and away games at Arizona and ASU, the Beavers are able to enjoy the comfortability of home. Five games out of the next seven will be within the confines of Gill Coliseum, starting with Washington State on Thursday night at 8:00 pm.
What comes after is a difficult game, regardless of it being at home or on the road. The University of Washington is currently the top team in the conference, having had several near ranked upsets in their non-con schedule. Tinkle, along with guards Ethan and Stephen Thompson Jr. discussed with the media the importance of starting out fast against both the Cougars and Huskies, and what two wins at home would mean in a wide open Pac-12 conference.
Forward Kylor Kelley was also honored on Tuesday as one of the 15 Naismith defensive player of the year watch listers. Kelley leads the country in blocks, and played pivotal roles in both wins over Oregon and USC. Prior to the Beavers loss to Arizona, the Gervais native was on a 14 game streak of multiple blocks a game.
"He's got great instincts and we gotta give him credit for that," Coach Tinkle mentioned Tuesday. "He's got great timing on the blocked shots, instincts. Where we've helped him is his positioning on the flloor. Understanding ball and man, getting off blocking towards the ball."
Oregon State tips off against the Cougars on January 24th at 8 p.m.
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