At 2-2 in Pac-12 play, ASU basketball heads back home to host Oregon State, which is led by junior forward Tres Tinkle.
To say the least, it hasn’t been an easy start for Arizona State.
The Sun Devils have gone toe-to-toe with some of college basketball’s strongest programs -Kansas, Nevada and Mississippi State – and played against some of the NCAA’s most elite talent in the process. Once ranked as high as No. 17 in the AP Poll, the Sun Devils have somewhat faded out of relevance after losses to Princeton, Utah and Stanford within a five-game span.
But the past is the past.
Now, ASU sets its sights toward Oregon State and Oregon. First, the 11-4 Beavers enter Wells Fargo Arena on Thursday.
To start Pac-12 play, the Beavers have been as good as anybody in the ‘Conference of Champions.’ The majority of Oregon State’s wins have something in common: Tres Tinkle‘s dominance.
A junior forward, Tinkle has been a menace, averaging 20.0 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. Tinkle has reached double figures in all 14 games he’s played this year and has exceeded 20 points in six of those.
Despite missing the USC game with an ankle injury, Tinkle was excellent in the Beavers’ other two Pac-12 games. Against in-state rival Oregon, Tinkle scored 28 points along with eight rebounds, and he followed that up with a 14-point game in OSU’s comfortable win over UCLA.
Not only is Tinkle the leader on a talented Oregon State squad, he’s among the most prolific players in the Pac-12. He’s second in the conference in scoring, fifth in rebounds per game and seventh in assists per game.
Only two games earlier, however, ASU was undeniably effective against Colorado’s big men. Forward Lucas Siewert, who averages 11.4 points per game, was held to just three points, and as a team, the Buffaloes were limited to 20 points in the paint.
Just like Okpala and da Silva, who are both 6-foot-9, Tinkle is tall and versatile. Standing 6-foot-8 and 225 pounds, Tinkle’s size makes him a force down low.
Senior forward Zylan Cheatham acknowledged that the Sun Devils will need to gel – like against Colorado – in order to stop Tinkle.
“We really go in planning on locking anyone down,” Cheatham said. “But it has to be a team effort; it has to be five guys locked in for 40 minutes.”
But he can also work outside. Tinkle is shooting just under 50 percent this year as well as 31.9 percent from beyond the arc, a fair mark from a post player.
“He’s a really complete player,” Cheatham said. “He can score on different levels, impact the game in many ways.”
All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.