Tres Tinkle is back and playing better than everfor Oregon State. The 6-foot-8 redshirt sophomore forward missed the 2016 NCAATournament and all but six games last season due to two separate injuries, but hebrings a double-double average into Saturday night’s home date with Long BeachState.
Tinkle, the son of Beavers coach Wayne Tinkle,missed the 2016 NCAA tourney with a broken foot and then was sidelined for theteam’s final 26 games a year ago after breaking his wrist last November. Heaveraged 13.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as a freshman, then 20.2 and 8.3,respectively, last season and now is up to an even 22 and 10 through two gamesthis season. Tinkle also has six assists, three steals and a team-most three3-pointers while connecting on 9-of-10 free throw attempts. In other words, he’llbe the matchup key for the visiting 49ers, who are coming to Corvallis off winsover San Francisco (83-71) and Division II San Francisco State (95-70).
TV: 11 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network
ABOUT LONG BEACH STATE (2-0): Saturday’s gametips off a six-game road trek for the 49ers, who are looking for the program’sfirst 3-0 start since 1993 when current ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg was on thebench. Senior forward Barry Ogalue (17.5 points) and junior guard Bryan Alberts(13.5) are Long Beach’s leading scorers so far while senior forward Gabe Levinis pulling down a team-best 10 rebounds per contest. Forward Temidayo Yussuf, apreseason All-Big West Conference selection who averaged 9.4 points and 4.6rebounds as a starter last season, has yet to play this year after undergoingarthroscopic knee surgery in early October and his status remains uncertain.
ABOUT OREGON STATE (1-1): Aside from Tinkle, forwardDrew Eubanks (16.5) and guards Stephen Thompson Jr. (12.0) and Ethan Thompson(11.5) also own double-figure scoring averages. Ethan Thompson, the freshmanyounger brother of junior Stephen, had a dynamic debut with 20 points, eightrebounds and five assists in the Beavers’ 99-82 season-opening win overSouthern Utah but hit only 1-of-6 shots and finished with 3 points beforefouling out of Monday’s 75-66 loss to visiting Wyoming. Tinkle has connected on3-of-6 3-pointers so far, but his teammates are a combined 6-of-34 (17.6percent) from long range.
1. Long Beach State leads the series 3-2 afterrallying late for a 71-67 win last Dec. 16 in the Dam City Classic in Portland.
2. The 49ers’ victory over the Beavers lastseason marked their first win over a Pac-12 foe since 1995.
3. Oregon State owns the early Pac-12 lead insteals (8.0) with Stephen Thompson averaging a team-best 2.5.
PREDICTION: Oregon State 78, Long Beach State 76