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'It's been a long time coming': Former Beavers react to unexpected NCAA Tournament run by men's team

Before the season started Oregon State was picked to finish last in the Pac-12. They ended up winning the Pac-12 tournament and an NCAA Tournament game.
Credit: AP
Oregon State guard Ethan Thompson (5) drives on Tennessee guard Jaden Springer (11) during the second half of a men's college basketball game in the first round of the NCAA tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Friday, March 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

PORTLAND, Ore. — It was an exciting win for the Oregon State men’s basketball team Friday afternoon as they upset the No. 5 seed Tennessee Volunteers. The win marked the first for the Beavers in the tournament since 1982.

Before the season tipped off Oregon State was picked to finish last in the Pac-12. They ended up winning the Pac-12 tournament last weekend.

“It's been a long time coming and I don't think anyone saw it coming from this team. It just shows what you have when you have great chemistry," said former Oregon State basketball player Steve Johnson, who was part of the “Orange Express” in the early 1980s. At one point in his senior season, in 1981, Johnson and the Beavers were ranked No. 1 heading into the tournament. He said this year’s group has the necessary confidence to go far in the 68-team tournament.

“Once you get the momentum going, you don't know how long it's going to go so just ride it as long as you can,” Johnson said.

Former Beaver David Lucas said this team's success could mean good things to come in Corvallis in the future. 

“I think it definitely puts them into position to be able to recruit at a higher capacity," said Lucas.

Both Johnson, Lucas and all of Beaver Nation hope this year’s Cinderella team can keep those glass slippers a little bit longer.