Beavers look to get back on the court after extended break

By Jesse Sowa / The Corvallis Gazette-Times

The postponement of last weekend’s home game was not all bad for the Oregon State men’s basketball team.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff was not able to fly out of Dallas leading up to the contest, which was postponed twice after it had been originally been scheduled for Saturday.

OSU coach Craig Robinson had his team ready, practicing Friday and Saturday as if the game was the next day.

But with final exams this week, the Beavers (3-2) were not just sitting around at home between practices wondering what was going to happen next.

“The only saving grace is that we have exams, so I think that takes some of it off of (the players’) minds,” Robinson said. “But for me it’s just torture.”

Oregon State has not played since a 93-81 loss at DePaul on Dec. 1.

The 12 days in between games will be the longest stretch in Robinson’s six seasons at OSU and the first such extended in-season layoff for the program since a 12-day break early in the 2001-02 campaign.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2-6) has been rescheduled again, this time as the first contest in a Friday doubleheader with the Oregon State-Hawaii women’s game at Gill Coliseum.

The men’s game will be played at 5 p.m., and the women’s game will start about 30 minutes after the men’s game is completed.

Junior guard Challe Barton said having finals — for him, papers to write — helped him keep his focus off basketball.

Senior center Angus Brandt, who finished finals on Tuesday, said it was good to have a break and not worry about a game.

Robinson said he is concerned that his team might be rusty.

He is glad, though, to have this week’s practices to get prepared for Friday.

“It’s better for the young guys that we’ve had practice,” the coach said. “They’ve had a chance to really get a feel for the mistakes they made in the first five games. Then work on that stuff and be better prepared for their next six games.”

When it comes to preferring practice or a game, Brandt said his team would probably get more out of a game.

“Just because the younger guys, with five or six games under their belt … so there’s time to mature and understand what a game situation in college is like,” he said.

Barton said games and practices have their positives and negatives, but with practices the players get to know each other better.

The rescheduling gives Oregon State three games in a six-day span.

The Beavers host Maryland Eastern Shore at 3 p.m. Sunday and play Towson, also at home, at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 18.

Having the first two of those games in three days provides Oregon State some preparation for a Pac-12 weekend, when two games often are played two days apart.

It also sets up the Beavers for the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii, where they will play three games in four days (Dec. 22-25).

“That’s really good preparation, especially for Hawaii as well,” Barton said. “It’s close enough to Pac-12, so that’s great.”

Robinson said his team’s practices have been good during the break between games. With a roster filled with veteran players, the Beavers know when they need to be intense and when they can be loose.

The coach is treating the Friday and Sunday games as a conference weekend series and likes the challenge of playing three times in six days.

“I’m not discouraged by the schedule,” Robinson said. “I would just liked to have less of a layoff.”