INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Over the last two weeks, Oregon State's men's basketball team saved their best for last, and the result is a berth in the Sweet 16.
The No. 12 Beavers (19-12), led by former Montana coach and player Wayne Tinkle, continued their Cinderella run on Sunday evening with an 80-70 win over No. 4 Oklahoma State in the Midwest Region round of 32 at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Oregon State advances to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1982, when the Beavers advanced all the way to the Elite Eight. The 1982 season was ultimately vacated by the NCAA making 1975 the last non-vacated year the Beavers advanced this far into the tournament.
After trailing 9-4 early in the contest, Oregon State's offense and defense began to show up as the Beavers led by as much as 40-22 with 3:03 left in the first half. Oklahoma State came storming back in the second half and cut the lead to 54-52 and ultimately 70-67 with 3:42 left in the game, but the Cowboys never regained the lead as the Beavers held on to survive and advance.
Ethan Thompson led Oregon State with 26 points, including a 15-for-16 mark from the free throw line, while Jarod Lucas and Maurice Calloo each scored 15 for the Beavers. Oregon State shot 41.2% from the field and 6 for 20 from deep, and out-rebounded Oklahoma State 55 to 33 and collected 11 blocks.
The Beavers continue to prove everyone wrong in Tinkle's seventh year leading the program. After getting picked to finish last in the Pac-12 Conference in the preseason poll, Oregon State won the conference tournament for the first time in program history last Saturday. Tinkle and the Beavers then topped No. 5 Tennessee in the first round on Friday to win the school's first tournament game since the vacated 1982 season.
Oregon State will take on No. 8 Loyola-Chicago in the Sweet 16 next Saturday. Loyola-Chicago topped No. 1 seed Illinois 71-58 earlier on Sunday.
The wins over Tennessee and Oklahoma State are Tinkle's first victories in his fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament as a head coach. Along with this season, Tinkle took OSU to the tournament in 2016 after leading the Montana Grizzlies to the NCAA Tournament in 2010, 2012 and 2013.