CORVALLIS, Ore. – Roberto Nelson scored a game-high 24 points and both Angus Brandt and Devon Collier registered double-doubles as Oregon State flew to a 79-73 victory over Portland Wednesday night at Gill Coliseum.
Nelson showed his scoring prowess, posting his 19th straight game in double digits with 24 points, 14 of which came in the second half. The senior shot 9-of-17 from the field and also added a career-high tying seven assists, four rebounds and four steals.
The Australian senior Brandt recorded his second career double-double, finishing with a stat line of 13 points and 10 rebounds. A slam dunk at the 9:09 mark in the second half got the fans on their feet as Brandt made his presence felt under the basket.
Collier also played well in his first game back from suspension, bringing his hard-nosed mentality to the paint, registering 11 points and 11 rebounds. In a game where the Beavers outrebounded the Pilots 40-32, every board was crucial.
"Getting Devon back was the key for us and you saw exactly how much we've been missing him," Nelson said. "For him to come in after sitting out a few games without looking rusty helped us big time. With him back, we are all feeling a lot better."
Portland (1-1) came out with a lot of energy, looking to knock off the Beavers in front of their home crowd of 3,179, but Oregon State's consistency on both ends proved to be too much for the Pilots.
“It’s always nice to get that first win," Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said. "We’ve had a couple seasons where we haven’t gotten that first win in the first games, so it’s nice for the guys in the locker room that we got this win."
Bobby Sharp led the Pilots with 18 points, most of which came from a 5-of-11 three-point shooting performance. Ryan Nicholas also made his presence felt for Portland, tallying 14 points, 13 rebounds and four assists.
Brandt made an impact early in the first half, posting five points and five boards in the first seven minutes of the game. Going into the locker room, he had already recorded nine points and seven rebounds, well on his way to a double-double.
Cooke scored his first career bucket off of a steal and fast break lay-in with 6:18 remaining in the first period. The trend continued as he also came up with crucial back-to-back fast break scores off steals at the 7:23 and 6:27 marks in the second half, on his way to nine points on 4-of-5 shooting.
In the opening frame, the Beavers went on an 11-0 run behind sharp-shooting and great defense. Portland was able to break it up with a three-pointer with 11:53 remaining in the half, but it was not enough for the Pilots, as the Beavers would not trail the remainder of the game.
Oregon State was able to take a 41-33 lead into the break behind a balanced offensive effort highlighted by 10 Beavers finding their way into the scoring column. The Beavers made 50 percent of their shots in the opening half and outrebounded the Pilots 24-16. Oregon State also boasted an impressive 16-2 points off turnover differential and outscored the Pilots 28-12 in the paint in the first stanza.
Portland returned from the intermission with a chip on its shoulder, narrowing the lead to within one point at the 12:30 mark, 49-48. The Beavers held off the scrappy Pilots team for nearly five minutes before Portland stormed back to tie the game at 59 with 7:50 remaining in the final frame.
Nelson found the back of the net with a three-pointer at the 3:06 mark to give Oregon State a 72-66 lead, but Sharp answered with a three of his own, bringing the score to 72-68 with 2:35 left in the game. After the proceeding timeout, Nelson came out and drained another one from downtown, but Portland answered once again with a layup inside.
With one minute to go, the Beavers led 75-71, and intense defensive pressure led to a travel by Portland. After being fouled in transition, Cooke went to the line, making one-of-two and securing the Beavers victory.
Oregon State heads east to play Maryland this Sunday at 3 pm PT in a game televised nationally on ESPNU.