Oregon State men's basketball nearly beats No. 8 Duke in Portland
The Oregon State men's basketball team nearly pulled off a holiday miracle, but it wasn't meant to be.
Led by 14 points from freshman guard Jordan Pope, the Beavers held tight with No. 8 Duke but ultimately fell 54-51 in the first game of the Phil Knight Legacy tournament on Thursday, Nov. 24, at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland. Pope had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but his shot caromed off the rim and OSU was unable to get up another shot before time expired.
On a day where not much separated the two teams, the rebounding battle proved to be key.
Duke outrebounded Oregon State 49-25 thanks in large part to an eye-popping 22 offensive rebounds. Those efforts were led by Ryan Young and Kyle Filipowski, who combined for 29 total rebounds including 13 on the offensive end. Those two were also the only two Blue Devils to score in double figures, as Filipowski led all scorers with 19.
"Got to give Duke a lot of credit, they just kicked our asses on the glass," said Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle after the game.
"We knew that was going to be one of the three main keys: defensive transition, taking care of the ball and rebounding," Tinkle added. "I thought defensive transition and valuing the ball were two strengths, but we just couldn't get physical with them on the glass."
Coming into the game, Duke was ranked as one of the very best offensive rebounding teams in the country, led by the 7-foot freshman Filipowski and Young, a graduate transfer from Northwestern. Against the Beavers, that duo combined for 29 boards — including 13 on the offensive end.
"We knew they were the best offensive rebounding team in the country," said Tinkle of the Duke squad. "We lost that battle."
With the game being so one-sided on the glass, the Beavers needed some help to keep it close. Duke played along by shooting just 26.7% from the field and 17.2% on 3-pointers during the course of the game. Oregon State wasn't much better — 39.5% and 28.6%, respectively — and the two teams combined to go 2-for-22 (9.1%) from downtown in the second half.
Suffice it to say, the game wasn't always pretty.
Still, it was a performance that the Beavers can be proud about, especially on the heels of a home loss to Portland State on Nov. 19.
In addition to the 14 points from Pope, senior guard Dexter Akanno also hit double figures for the Beavers with 12 points. No player had more than two turnovers, and the emergence of Pope as a go-to scoring option in the backcourt continues to be encouraging.
No, the Beavers were not able to pull off the big upset on Thanksgiving Day, but they played admirably in their national TV appointment against a top-10 opponent.
Oregon State's next opponent will be the loser of Thursday's second game between Florida and Xavier, while the winner of that game will face Duke. Both games will be held at Moda Center tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 25. Duke's semifinal game will begin at 12:30 p.m. on ESPN, with the Oregon State consolation game to follow at 3 p.m. on ESPN2/ESPNU.
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