Former Beavers Gary Payton, Drew Eubanks reunited with Trail Blazers

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PORTLAND, Ore.– A little more than six years ago, guard Gary Payton II and forward Drew Eubanks were teammates at Oregon State, leading the Beavers to an NCAA Tournament appearance after a 26-year drought.

Now they’re teammates once more – and back in Oregon – with the Portland Trail Blazers.

“It’s really cool, especially coming back to Portland, being in Oregon and everything. I saw him yesterday and it was like we never even left,” Eubanks said. “We did something special in Corvallis, we went back to the tournament for the first time in a long time, and trying to do something special here too.”

Payton, son of former Oregon State and Seattle SuperSonics star Gary Payton, won an NBA title with the Warriors last month before signing a three-year, $28 million deal with the Blazers as a free agent.

He emerged last season as a defensive stopper for Golden State, returning from a broken elbow to contribute in the NBA Finals against Boston. He averaged 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds over a career-high 71 games, his first season playing regularly.

“That was just an incredible run, just from the beginning of the season, finding my way on that team everything that came out of that. It’s been a great, great learning experience,” Payton said. “Just to bring everything I’ve learned over there and try to apply it here and build this team chemistry, I think that’s gonna be probably one of the biggest pieces.”

Eubanks signed four 10-day contracts with the Blazers last season, stepping into a key role when big man Jusuf Nurkic was injured. Eventually, Portland signed him for the rest of the season and awarded him with a one-year contract going into this season.

“I thought Drew came here and earned it,” Blazers coach Chauncey Billups said.

When the Beavers went to the NCAA Tournament to cap the 2015-16 season, Eubanks was a freshman from Troutdale, Oregon. He later signed with San Antonio in 2018 as an undrafted free agent and spent time with both the Spurs and their G-League affiliate in Austin.

Payton played two seasons for the Beavers. After going undrafted, he had stints with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards, while also spending time in the G-League. He was even on Portland’s training camp roster in 2018, but eventually waived. He landed with the Warriors in 2021.

Billups praised Payton as the kind of player he can put anywhere.

“He’s just my kind of guy,” Billups said. “He’s just a Swiss Army knife, proved his value and his worth all year long. He’s done something that a lot of people never do in this league – and I’m not just talking about winning a championship. He grinded all the way up, a guy that was on the minimum for a long time and fighting for himself, fighting to get into the league, he’s proven to be a very, very valuable asset.”

Oregon’s Richardson to miss Pac-12 tournament with illness

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EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon will be without guard Will Richardson for the upcoming Pac-12 tournament because of an illness.

Richardson is averaging 14.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists a game. He will not travel with the team to Las Vegas for the tournament, Oregon announced Tuesday.

A senior, Richardson did not play in the team’s regular-season finale at Washington State on Saturday because of the illness. The Ducks lost 94-74.

Fifth-seeded Oregon plays No. 12 seed Oregon State to open the league tournament Wednesday.

No. 2 Stanford women top Oregon St. 57-44 in Pac-12 quarters

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LAS VEGAS — Haley Jones scored 20 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead No. 2 Stanford to a 57-44 victory over Oregon State on Thursday in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals.

Stanford (26-3), which was 16-0 in conference play during the regular season, won its 18th straight game this season and has won 32 consecutive games against Pac-12 opponents, including postseason play.

The Cardinal, 51-6 all-time at the Pac-12 Tournament, improved to 19-1 all-time in the quarterfinals. Stanford, which swept the regular-season series by 23 and 24 points, is 6-0 against Oregon State in the event.

After scoring just two points in the first half, on 1 of 8 (12.5%) shooting, Jones erupted to score 12 of her game-high tally in the third quarter on 5-of-7 shooting to help Tara VanDerveer’s squad pull away.

“Tara said at halftime that the shots I was taking (in) the first half were good shots, so I just kind of had to have confidence in that,” Jones said. “And my teammates instilled a lot of confidence in me that those are shots that are makeable and within the flow of the offense. I think things just started getting going in the third quarter.”

Anna Wilson scored 11 points, and Cameron Brink added 10 points and six rebounds to boost Stanford.

Oregon State (14-13) was led by Ellie Mack and Emily Codding, who each had 13 points. Talia von Oelhoffen added 10.

The Beavers shot just 29.6% from the field. Stanford, which has held 57 of its last 62 opponents to 41.8% shooting or worse, improved to 45-1 when holding its opponent to less than 40% shooting.

The Cardinal finished the game shooting a rather bleak 23 of 61 (37.7%) from the floor, but was 8 for 18 (44.4%) from 3-point range.

Stanford opened the game by dominating the first quarter, taking a 16-2 lead thanks to a hot hand from beyond the arc. Though the Cardinal shot just 37.5% (6 of 16) from the floor, they were 4 of 7 (57.1%) from 3-point range. Oregon State, meanwhile, went 1 of 10 from the field in the opening period.

“The first quarter was awesome,” VanDerveer said. “I thought people were really locked in defensively. And it helps our defense when our offense scores. … I was glad that our team just didn’t really relax and think the game was over because it’s a 40-minute game.”

As the Beavers showed in the second quarter.

After Lexie Hull’s 3-pointer to start the second pushed Stanford’s lead to 17, the Beavers found their rhythm on offense and used a 13-3 spurt to get within seven at 22-15. Wilson ended Stanford’s 0-for-7 drought with five quick points before von Oelhoffen’s half-court drain at the buzzer left the Cardinal with a 27-18 halftime lead.

“For our team, I loved the heart, I loved the fight,” Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. “Obviously it was a tough first quarter scoring the ball. The difference was they made shots, we missed shots. I thought that was the only difference early. Then it was battling back from that point. And I thought our team showed their character today.”

FOR KATIE

The Cardinal players donned Stanford soccer shirts over their jerseys for warmups to honor former goalkeeper Katie Meyer, who was found dead in a campus residence, per school officials. Meyer, 22, was a team captain who made two key saves in a penalty shootout to help Stanford win the national championship in 2019.

KEEP IT LOW

The Cardinal are on a 51-0 run when holding opponents to less than 70 points.

“I thought it was a little bit like a heavyweight fight,” VanDerveer said. “These are two teams that know each other really well. They’re very talented. And I think we just had to step up defensively, which we did.”

BIG BROTHER RUSS

As he has every year during the postseason tournament, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson took his seat near the Stanford bench and sprung to his feet when his sister, Anna, drained the game’s first bucket from 3-point range.

BIG PICTURE

Oregon State: The Beavers, who ranked 11th in the Pac 12 with a minus-5.69 turnover margin, committed 10 turnovers before Stanford surrendered its first at the 6:07 mark of the fourth quarter. The Beavers committed 12 turnovers while Stanford set a conference tournament record for fewest turnovers in a game with three.

Stanford: With Colorado scoring an upset of No. 14 Arizona in Thursday’s first game, the Cardinal avoid the revenge-minded Wildcats, whom Stanford beat in the lone meeting during the regular season and in last season’s national championship. The Cardinal swept Colorado this season.

UP NEXT

Oregon State: With a NET ranking of 52, the Beavers hope their postseason continues in the WNIT.

Stanford: Plays in Friday’s semifinal against Colorado.

Mathurin scores 29, No. 11 Arizona beats Oregon State 90-65

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CORVALLIS, Ore.- Bennedict Mathurin scored a season-high 29 points, including four 3-pointers, and No. 11 Arizona beat Oregon State 90-65 on Sunday.

Christian Koloko added 12 points for the Wildcats (7-0, 1-0 Pac-12), who won their fourth straight against the Beavers. Mathurin finished with six rebounds.

“The first thing that really got Benn going was the offensive rebounding. That’s something he and I have been talking about,” Arizona coach Tommy Lloyd said. “Making plays in the effort areas and not just hunting jump shots. Then he hunted some good 3s and our guys found him in that zone.”

Jerod Lucas scored 17 points to lead the Beavers (1-8, 0-2), who haven’t won since their opener against Portland State.

Arizona fell behind 13-7 early, responded with a 16-0 run capped by Mathurin’s three-point play and steadily pulled away, never relinquishing the lead.

Oregon State got within six points early in the second half, but a layup by Azuolas Tubelis made it 52-41 with 17:13 left and the Beavers didn’t get within 10 points the rest of the way.

“I was really excited the way our guys came out ready for fight. And then just seems like what’s cost us against all teams is little spurts in each half,” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said. “We got down in the first half and then battled back. Second half, same thing. We just we couldn’t keep the ball in front. We couldn’t grab a rebound. We turned it over way too much.”

Kerr Kriisa finished with 11 points for Arizona and Tubelis scored 10.

The Beavers were thwarted by turnovers, with 22 that Arizona turned into 27 points.

“I don’t know if I envision stats going into the game, but I definitely knew we wanted to pressure them and force them to make tough plays in tight windows. Our guys did a good job of that,” Lloyd said.

Arizona was supposed to open Pac-12 play at home on Thursday against Washington, but the game was postponed because of COVID-19 issues with the Huskies. That game has been rescheduled for Jan. 25.

“We played one game basically in the last two weeks. So maybe it took us a little bit to get our feet underneath us, but I’m really proud of how our bench came in and changed the game, pressuring defensively and making some things happen,” Lloyd said.

The Wildcats are averaging more than 90 points per game under Lloyd, who’s in his first season as their coach after 20 years as an assistant at Gonzaga.

TIP-INS

Arizona: The Wildcats’ No. 11 ranking is their highest since they were No. 9 in January of 2018. … Arizona has three wins this season by 45 or more points.

Oregon State: The Beavers have not led a game at halftime this season. … Oregon State has defeated Arizona nine times at Gill Coliseum when the Wildcats have been ranked, most recently on Jan. 12, 2020, when the Beavers beat then-No. 24 Arizona 82-65.

CORVALLIS COOL

Mathurin, a sophomore, had a career-high 31 points against the Beavers at Gill Coliseum last season.

“To be honest, I’m from Canada and Corvallis is pretty much the same as Canada so I’ll just say it’s the weather,” he joked after the game.

UP NEXT

Arizona: Hosts Wyoming on Wednesday.

Oregon State: Hosts Sacramento State on Saturday.

Hillmon leads No. 12 Michigan past No. 16 Oregon State 61-52

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Naz Hillmon had 20 points and 13 rebounds, No. 12 Michigan took control in the fourth quarter and the Wolverines held off No. 16 Oregon State 61-52 at the Daytona Beach Invitational.

The score was tied at 40 entering the fourth quarter before Michigan opened with a 7-0 run, sparked by five points from Leigha Brown. After Oregon State snapped the run, Hillmon and Brown added back-to-back buckets and Michigan led 51-42 with 4:38 remaining.

Oregon State drew within four points with 3:44 to go, but Danielle Rauch and Maddie Nolan hit 3-pointers to keep Michigan comfortably ahead.

Michigan led 31-23 at halftime but a 10-0 run capped by a 3-pointer by Greta Kampschroeder drew the Beavers even at 40.

Brown finished with 14 points and Rauch scored 11 for Michigan (6-0). Hillmon also had four steals but committed seven turnovers.

Kennedy Brown led Oregon State (3-1) with 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. Taya Corosdale grabbed 11 rebounds. Taylor Jones, Oregon State’s leading scorer, was held to six points in 20 minutes of playing time.

It was Wolverines coach Kim Barnes Arico’s 199th win since coming to Michigan 10 years ago. The first shot at win No. 200 comes against Mississippi State on Saturday, the tournament’s final day. Oregon State will wrap up against Notre Dame.

Houston tops Oregon State, reaches 1st Final Four since ’84

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INDIANAPOLIS — Kelvin Sampson stood atop a ladder and yanked loose the remnants of the net from the rim. He turned toward the red-clad Houston fans and started pumping his right fist, the net clutched in that hand the entire time.

Years of building a once-proud program back to prominence, of putting together a formula that was about way more than flashy offense – it all led to this breakthrough moment for Sampson and the Cougars.

Yes, Houston is going back to the Final Four for the first time since the famed “Phi Slama Jama” era after Monday night’s 67-61 win against Oregon State.

“I always thought we could,” Sampson said, “but we had to climb the ladder.”

It was never supposed to be easy to get the second-seeded Cougars (28-3) back into the Final Four for the first time in 37 years, Sampson said. And his team proved him right, blowing a 17-point lead before preventing the 12th-seeded Beavers from adding one more surprising result to a Midwest Region bracket beset by upsets.

Quentin Grimes hit a 3-pointer with 3:21 left to break a 55-all tie, a shot from near the top of the arc that finally steadied the Cougars. And Houston knocked down enough free throws late while holding Oregon State without a basket during a critical 3 1/2 minutes.

That sent the Cougars on to the national semifinals to face Baylor.

Houston shot 29% after halftime and 32% for the game. Yet the performance exemplified the program’s rugged defense-first identity, which had carried the Cougars as far as the Sweet 16 once before in Sampson’s first six seasons.

“This is one of the greatest accomplishments I’ve been around,” Sampson said. “And I have this group of players and this staff … to thank for it. I’m glad they let me go along on the ride with them. It’s been a fun ride with this group.”

Marcus Sasser scored 20 points to lead Houston while Grimes added 18. Fittingly, it was DeJon Jarreau – the American Athletic Conference’s defensive player of the year who led the effort that stymied Oregon State star Ethan Thompson – who was named the most outstanding player of the Midwest Region.

Jarreau finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists two days after flirting with another triple-double and shutting down Syracuse’s Buddy Boeheim in the Sweet 16.

Maurice Calloo scored 13 points to lead Oregon State (20-13), which was vying to become the worst-seeded team ever to make a Final Four – and to extend a remarkable postseason run for a team that was picked to finish last in the Pac-12. The Beavers dug a 34-17 hole at halftime, then climbed all the way back only to see Grimes put the Cougars back in front.

“It was right there within our grasp with the effort we showed in the second half,” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said. “Really proud of this group. We got every single ounce out of them.”

This will be Houston’s first Final Four since Hakeem Olajuwon and coach Guy Lewis led the Cougars to the 1984 title game, in which they lost to Patrick Ewing and Georgetown. When this one was over, Houston’s players sprinted to midcourt to celebrate, then migrated to the corner of the court near the Houston fan section and started jumping around – and on top of each other – in a celebratory mob.

Jarreau shared a long embrace with Sampson at midcourt.

“The story’s still being written,” Jarreau said. “And we’re in the Final Four now.”

BIG PICTURE

Oregon State: The Beavers were 14-12 to close the regular season before making an unexpected run to the Pac-12 Tournament title. That was likely their only path to an NCAA bid, and it opened the door for Tinkle’s squad to throw a bit of madness into March in only its second tournament appearance since 1990. The Beavers regrouped by shooting 56% after halftime while committing just two second-half turnovers, but ultimately fell short of the program’s first Final Four appearance since 1963.

“This team is full of competitors and winners,” Thompson said, adding: “Tonight just wasn’t our night.”

Houston: The Cougars stuck to what got them here. They held the Beavers to 35% shooting in the first half before Oregon State found some openings. The Cougars finished with a 41-29 rebounding advantage and a 19-7 edge on the offensive glass. It was part of the toughness that Sampson has demanded regardless of whether shots were falling. Sampson is in the Final Four for the second time; he took Oklahoma there in 2002.

SLOWING THOMPSON

Jarreau’s work on Thompson was a key factor.

The 6-foot-5 senior guard had averaged 20.3 points in the Beavers’ NCAA victories against Tennessee, Oklahoma State and Loyola Chicago. He finished with 11 points on 3-for-12 shooting, though he also had seven rebounds and six assists.

A FIRST

Houston is the first team to play four double-digit seeds to reach the Final Four. The highest-rated team they faced was No. 10 seed Rutgers in the second round.

UP NEXT

The Cougars face Baylor, the No. 1 seed from the South Region, in an all-Texas semifinal Saturday. The Bears beat Arkansas 81-72 on Monday night, creating a Final Four matchup of former foes from the now-defunct Southwest Conference.