CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Pac-12 scoring leader Azuolas Tubelis had 25 points to help No. 9 Arizona beat Oregon State 86-74 on Thursday night.
The Wildcats (15-2, 4-2 Pac-12) were coming off a 74-61 loss to Washington State that snapped Arizona’s 28-game home winning streak. Tubelis was instrumental in getting the team back in the win column.
He made 11 of 15 from the field and had 10 rebounds. Oumar Ballo scored 15 points with 14 rebounds and two blocks.
“He’s had a great year,” Arizona coach Tommy Loyd said of Tubelis. “He’s had a great career. He’s a really good player and he has a knack for putting the ball in the basket (inside).”
Oregon State (7-10, 1-5 Pac-12) struggled against Arizona’s aggressive man-to-man defense. The Beavers shot just 25% in the first half and trailed 44-26 at the break. Tubelis scored 15 points in the first hal
Oregon State had no answers for the inside strength of Tubelis and Oballo.
“We need those guys to perform on that level to win games, home or away,” Loyd said.
The Beavers scored the first five points of the second half to cut the lead to 12, but Arizona responded with a 10-0 run and led by as much as 24 points.
Oregon State rallied to make the game interesting late in the second half.
A Jayden Stevens layup cut the lead to 72-62, but Arizona’s Kerr Krissa answered with a 3-pointer and Oregon State was unable to get closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
Despite a fourth straight loss for Oregon State, there were some positives.
Freshmen forwards Tyler Bilodeau and Michael Rataj scored 18 points apiece to pace the Beavers, and freshman guard Jordan Pope, the team’s leading scorer, added 14 points and four assists.
“We had some guys grow up tonight,” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said “They weren’t afraid to jump in the fray.”
Arizona responded after its most disappointing performance of the season against Washington State.
The Wildcats scored the game’s first seven points and never trailed. After three straight games shooting under 38%, Arizona connected on 52.9% of its field goal attempts against Oregon State.
“Obviously we’re not satisfied we lost (to Washington State) in Arizona,” said Krissa who scored 13 points with 11 assists. “We wanted to come out, be aggressive and show our game. That’s what I feel like we did. We came out aggressive in the first half and set the tone from the very first second.”
Courtney Ramey’s 3-pointer culminated a 10-0 run and gave Arizona a 20-point lead at 37-17.
Oregon State was unable to cut the lead to single digits the rest of the game. The Beavers shot 38.3% overall and were out rebounded 43-31.
Arizona: After shooting under 38% in their last three games, and 16% on 3-pointers in their previous game against Washington State, the Wildcats found the range against Oregon State. Arizona shot 52.5% and made 11 of 29 3-pointers.
Tubelis continues to be a force for the Wildcats, especially inside where the 6-foot-11 junior forward scores most of his points.
Oregon State: Bilodeau, a 6-9 freshman forward, had his best game of the season with 18 points and six rebounds. The Beavers have shown progress from last year’s 3-28 nosedive after reaching the Elite Eight in 2021, but they remain a work in progress with 11 newcomers on the roster, including eight true freshmen.
Arizona: The Wildcats will be at Oregon on Saturday.
Oregon State: The Beavers will be at home Saturday against Arizona State.