HONOLULU, Hawaii - Roberto Nelson scored 20 points, but Oregon State wasn't able to hold off an aggressive Akron team in the opening round of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic, falling 83-71 on Sunday night at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Nelson carried Oregon State (6-3) in the first frame, recording 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the floor, two of which came from downtown. He added six points in the second half, and finished with four assists.
Daniel Gomis played well for the Beavers, posting a career-high nine points and a career-high tying five rebounds in valuable time on the floor. Challe Barton added a season-high tying nine points and three rebounds for the Beavers.
The second half started on a sour note for Oregon State, as Angus Brandt collided knees with an Akron defender and was helped off the floor and into the locker room. He did not return.
The Beavers fell for the first time in front of President Barack Obama and The First Family, but still hold a 4-1 record when they are in attendance.
"We needed a double digit rebounder in there, and that's a tough nut to swallow for me," Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said. "I let the guys know that we have more basketball to play and that we can dig ourselves out of this relatively quickly."
Demetrius Treadwell posted a double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds for Akron (6-2). Nyles Evans added 17 points for the Zips, hitting 5-of-7 shots from beyond the arc.
Akron came out hot in the first half, going on a 16-2 run to begin the contest behind strong three-point shooting.
The Beavers showed signs of life after the Zips dominant start, going on a 6-0 run of their own at the 13:29 mark. With 9:34 left to play in the opening frame, the Beavers narrowed the Akron lead to 22-16.
After holding for the final shot of the half, Nelson drilled a deep three-ball with a defender in his face to bring the score within one point, 35-34, going into the locker room.
At the intermission, eight Oregon State players had found their way into the scoring column, converting on 43 percent of shots from the field.
With 8:57 left to play, Barton stormed down the floor and converted on a lay in to bring the Beavers within five points, with the score 54-49. Just a minute later, Barton drew contact in the lane, and hit both shots from the stripe.
Oregon State brought the game to within four after a mid-range from jumper from Hallice Cooke at the 6:22 mark, but Akron answered at the other end. With just 3:01 to play, Devon Collier responded to an Akron three-pointer with a layup on the other end, bringing the score to 68-63. The remainder of the game highlighted a back and forth battle, but the Beavers could not capture the lead.
On Monday, Oregon State will face George Mason in the semifinals of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic at 11:30 a.m. PT (9:30 a.m. HST) in a game televised nationally on ESPNU. Following that game, the Beavers will also play on Christmas Day in the eight-team tournament.