BOULDER, Colo. - Roberto Nelson scored a game-high 23 points, but Oregon State was unable to upset No. 20 Colorado in the opening game of Pac-12 play, falling 64-58 on Thursday night at the Coors Events Center.
Nelson carried the Beavers offensively, hitting 3-of-5 shots from behind the arc and converting on all 10 of his shots from the free throw line. The senior also added three rebounds and two assists.
Eric Moreland made his highly anticipated season debut for Oregon State (8-5) after missing the first 12 games for a violation of team rules. The versatile big man made his presence felt early, pulling down eight boards in the first half, helping the Beavers outrebound the Buffs 21-14 at the break. Moreland finished with 10 rebounds for Oregon State, the 30th time he has double-figure rebounds in his career.
The Beavers found themselves tied up at 40 after battling their way back into the contest after a 12-2 run with just under 11 minutes to play. But the Buffs responded with a 13-3 run that proved to be too much to overcome late in the game.
Oregon State was able to hold Colorado (12-2) to 38.2 percent shooting from the field, only allowing 21-of-55 shots to fall for the Buffs.
Colorado capitalized on 17 Beaver turnovers, which helped the Buffs keep Oregon State at bay throughout most of the contest.
Josh Scott posted a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Askia Booker and Jaron Hopkins each recorded 13 points of their own for the Buffs, putting their balanced offensive attack on display.
Hallice Cooke nailed a three at the 14:49 mark in the first frame to give Oregon State an 8-5 lead early in the highly defensive contest.
With 9:30 remaining in the opening stanza, the score was knotted at 12. Colorado would jump out to a 15-13 advantage at the 7:28 mark, but the Beavers answered, tying the game at 18 after a Daniel Gomis lay-in and Malcolm Duvivier three-pointer with 5:33 remaining.
Nelson cashed in on an open three-ball with 3:25 left on the clock, giving Oregon State a 21-20 lead late in the opening half. Colorado would close out the stanza on a 8-2 run, giving them a 28-23 lead going into the intermission.
The first half featured a defensive battle for both teams. Neither Oregon State nor Colorado shot over 35 percent in the frame, as the Beavers converted on 8-of-23 shots and the Buffs hit 9-of-26. Oregon State was able to convert on 3-of-4 shots from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes, which was key the Beavers offensively.
Nelson hit his second three-pointer at the 19:13 mark in the beginning of the closing half, bringing Oregon State to within four, 30-26. Colorado responded by going on an 8-2 run, bringing its lead to 38-28.
The Beavers kept fighting, closing the gap to 38-33 after a free throw by Jarmal Reid, an Angus Brandt jump hook and a Devon Collier layup. Langston Morris-Walker would bring Oregon State within four by drilling a three at the 12:17 mark, 40-36.
Nelson tied it up at 40 from the stripe with 10:35 left to play, giving the Beavers a 12-2 run. The Buffs answered by going on a 9-0 run, taking a 49-40 lead with 7:24 remaining in the game. Just moments later, Nelson's third three-ball found the back of the net at the 7:16 mark, narrowing the Colorado lead to 49-43.
Morris-Walker energized the Beavers, drilling his second shot from downtown and narrowing the Colorado advantage to 58-49. Oregon State got a stop on the defensive end and powered back down the floor as Moreland dropped in his first points on the night on a tip-in at 4:04, giving the Beavers a 5-0 run.
With just 2:30 left, the Beavers trailed 60-53, but Duvivier nailed a triple to bringing Oregon State to within four once again, 60-56. Despite the Beavers late run, Colorado was able to hold on, closing out the game from the line.
The Beavers continue their first road trip of Pac-12 conference play on Saturday, going head-to-head with Utah at 1 p.m. PT (2 p.m. MT) in a game televised on the Pac-12 Networks.