CORVALLIS, Oregon (AP) — Pac-12 scoring leader Azuolas Tubelis scored 25 points to help No. 9 Arizona beat Oregon State 86-74 Thursday night.
The Wildcats (15-2, 4-2, Pac-12) pulled away from a 74-61 loss to Washington State that snapped Arizona’s 28-game home winning streak. Tubelis was instrumental in bringing the team back into the winning column.
He made 11 of 15 from the field and grabbed 10 rebounds. Umar Ballo scored 15 points with 14 rebounds and two blocks.
“He had a great year,” Arizona Coach Tommy Loyd said of Tubelis. “He had a great career. He is a really good player and he has a knack for getting the ball into the basket (inside).”
Oregon State (7-10, 1-5 Pak-12) struggled with Arizona’s aggressive close defense. The Beavers only shot 25% in the first half and were down 44-26 at halftime. Tubelis scored 15 points in the first half
The State of Oregon had no answers to the question of Tubelis and Oballo’s inner strength.
“We need these guys to perform at the same level to win games home or away,” Loyd said.
The Beavers scored the first five points in the second half, cutting their lead to 12, but Arizona responded 10-0 to lead by a full 24 points.
Oregon State rallied to make the game interesting at the end of the second half.
Jayden Stevens’ layup cut the lead to 72-62, but Arizona’s Kerr Criss fired a 3-pointer and Oregon State couldn’t get close to 10 for the rest of the run.
Despite Oregon’s fourth straight loss, there were some positives.
Freshman forwards Tyler Bilodeau and Michael Rataj each scored 18 points to beat the Beavers, while freshman defenseman Jordan Pope, the team’s leading scorer, added 14 points and four assists.
“We had a few guys grow up tonight,” said Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle. “They weren’t afraid to jump into a fight.”
Arizona responded after their most disappointing performance of the season against Washington State.
The Wildcats took the first seven points of the game and never fell behind. After three straight games under 38%, Arizona had a 52.9% field goal percentage against Oregon State.
“Obviously, we’re not satisfied that we lost to (Washington State) in Arizona,” said Crissa, who scored 13 points on 11 assists. “We wanted to come out, be aggressive and show our game. That’s what I feel like we did. We were aggressive in the first half and set the tone from the first second.”
Three-pointer Courtney Ramey ended the series 10-0 and gave Arizona a 20-point lead at 37-17.
Oregon State was unable to cut the lead to single digits for the remainder of the game. The Beavers hit 38.3% and lost 43–31 on rebounds.
Arizona: After shooting 38% in their last three games and shooting 16% in the previous game against Washington State, the Wildcats found distance against Oregon State. Arizona threw 52.5% and made 11 of 29 three-pointers.
Tubelis continues to be a force for the Wildcats, especially on the 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 fall after reaching the Elite Eight in 2021, but they continue to work with 11 rookies on the roster, including eight real freshmen.
Arizona: The Wildcats will be in Oregon on Saturday.
Oregon State: The Beavers will be at home on Saturday against Arizona State.