When Oregon State beat Washington State in Pullman last month, it was in the midst of a surprising 5-4 start to the first half of the Pac-12 season. Now, the Beavers will be attempting to end a three-game losing streak that has dropped them to 5-7 when WSU comes to town on Thursday (6 p.m. PT, Pac-12 Networks).
WSU's 11-point loss to Oregon State was actually one of its closer games without leading scorer DaVonte Lacy on the floor. It was also the Cougars' second-best offensive performance without Lacy--WSU scored a still-bad 0.93 points per possession against an Oregon State defense that has allowed 1.11 overall against Pac-12 competition.
Since Lacy's return, WSU has been below that 0.93 number just once, the last time out against Stanford. Oregon State isn't nearly the mismatch that Stanford is for the Cougs, so a better offensive performance is likely in Corvallis.
The will need to score efficiently against Oregon State, because the Beavers are one of the better offensive teams in the conference. That has a lot to do with OSU's 3-point shooting, and that 3-point shooting has a lot to do with Roberto Nelson. The senior guard has hit 41 percent overall from downtown, helping the Beavers to an absurd 46 percent in conference play.
Freshman Hallice Cooke is also dangerous from the outside, hitting on 55 percent of his 3s this season.
If WSU sells out too hard to prevent the outside shot, Oregon State is also dangerous from the free-throw line. The Beavers are getting to the line at the fourth-highest rate in conference play, and knocking down 71 percent when they are there.
KenPom has Oregon State winning 84 percent of the time, with an average score of 72-62.