Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle did something really neat for the team's Senior Day game against Oregon... but it might have cost them the game.
He started his squad's five walk-ons, all of whom were born in Oregon, for the big game against their biggest rival. We see teams start seniors on Senior Day a lot, but none of these players were seniors: Just guys who had worked hard all year and hadn't had the opportunity to shine. He rewarded them for their thankless task with legit court time in a game they'd probably dreamed of playing in their whole lives.
However, Oregon wasn't exactly having it. They ran their trapping press against the walk-ons, who didn't have a chance. The poor walk-ons turned the ball over twice and allowed the opposition to score on both possessions before getting pulled just 28 seconds into the affair. They left the game with Oregon State trailing 3-0... and Oregon ended up losing 65-62.
You can't blame Oregon for doing what they did. The Ducks are very much on the NCAA Tournament bubble -- our Chris Dobbertean has them playing in the First Four -- and a loss to Oregon State could ruin their season. If they can get a few free points at the beginning of a game in a frenzied road environment, they'd be crazy not to. And it's not like they ran the press to be jerks -- they run it all the time.
But you still have to feel for Oregon State's walk-ons, who were completely hapless against five fresh Pac-12 starters playing their hardest, especially since the points they allowed ended up being the point differential.
Hopefully the harsh beginning to the game doesn't scare Tinkle from doing this in future years -- it was a really neat gesture.