Cunningham, Collier Lead Oregon State Past UCLA, 87-84
Jan. 19, 2012
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Jared Cunningham scored a game-high 21 points and Devon Collier added 20 as Oregon State (12-7, 2-5) snapped a 13-game losing streak to UCLA (10-8, 3-3) and a three-game overall skid with an 87-84 victory in front of 6,019 fans at Gill Coliseum Thursday night.
The Beavers used clutch free throws down the stretch to win the game, hitting 20-of-24 overall in the second half, including connecting on 10-of-12 in the final 1:12 as UCLA was forced to foul without any timeouts remaining. The Bruins used their last timeout of the game with 11:36 to play and it proved to be a key factor of the game in the waning moments.
"The key was finally getting UCLA to not score," Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said of the second half. "It seemed like they were shooting 75 percent from the field in the first half. In the middle of the second half, we got a couple of stops in a row and then we converted on the offensive end and we were able to take it out to about eight points and then stretch it to 10 or 11 points. I think the key was that slot in the game. It is what good teams do. When they have an opportunity, they seize upon it, and our guys did a great job. It made UCLA call a few timeouts that they didn't want to call, and that helped us toward the end of the game."
Cunningham hit a three-pointer with 13:48 to break the game's seventh and final tie. The Beavers pushed the lead to 11 points three different occasions over the next five minutes, but couldn't quite deliver the knockout punch until the late free throws. UCLA had an opportunity to close the gap to a one possession game with 4:45 remaining, but Tyler Lamb threw an errant alley-oop pass and OSU's Ahmad Starks drilled a clutch three on the following possession to build the lead back to nine points and keep the Bruins at bay.
"I've tried to limit the amount of pressure that I put on the team by saying that all of the games are important. but this was an important win for us tonight from a lot of different standpoints," Robinson said "First and foremost, it was important getting a win, when you haven't won one in a few. Secondly, you have heard me talk about how hard these guys work in spite of the bad luck that they've had over the past few games, and they did it again this week. They came to work on Monday and they were like, 'OK, well we are back home, we have got to win and get back to work.' It is remarkable to me as their coach to see them with that kind of maturity. There is a lot of pressure on those guys; not only do they want to do well for themselves and the guys in the locker room, but also for these fans and they are enjoying these crowds we are having at Gill."
The Beavers scored the game's first eight points, but UCLA quickly went on a 10-1 to lead for the first of 10 lead changes. The lead was never greater than five points for the OSU in the first half or three by the Bruins as the Beavers took a 39-38 lead into the halftime locker room thanks to an Angus Brandt three-pointer.
"I wanted to win this game," Robinson said. "These guys (OSU) operate the way a coach wants his team to operate. They come to work and they work on their craft. They are doing all of the right things off the court. This is the kind of team that when you try to turn a program around, you need a lot of things to go right and very few things to go wrong. This team has held up their end of the bargain. It is important to take advantage of all of the work they put in to win the games. They have lost a couple of close ones, so this one was really important from my stand point because I wanted them to get back on the right track."
Both teams shot 58 percent from the field. UCLA was led in scoring by Lazeric Jones' 17 points.
The Beavers play another home game on Saturday, before hitting the road for two weeks and three games, when USC visits Gill Coliseum at 7:30 p.m. in a game televised on ROOT Sports.
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