Nelson, Burton Lead Beavers To 82-64 Win Over Utah
Feb. 6, 2013
CORVALLIS, Ore. - The tandem of Roberto Nelson and Joe Burton put on a show Wednesday night at Gill Coliseum as Nelson scored a game-high 26 points and Burton nearly had a triple-double with 17 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Beavers to a much-needed 82-64 win over Utah.
The Beavers (12-11, 2-8 Pac-12) took a punch to the gut early - literally - and played inspired basketball throughout to notch their second Pac-12 win and start the second half of the conference season on a positive note.
"In the first half I got elbowed right in the gut and I wasn't ready for it," Nelson said. "I think that got everybody going. Some of the players on our side saw that and it got us fired up. Coach looked at the bench and said that we had to come out and play hard and everyone contributed."
"It was the beginning of the game but listen, if it helped fire us up, that's good," Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said about the gut shot. "I liked our response to it and the guys were not going to back down, which they don't do anyway. I think I was madder than they were; they were calming me down."
It definitely fired up Nelson, who took only 10 shots from the field but made seven of them, including three from beyond the arc, and was perfect from the free throw line on nine attempts to finish with 26 points. He now has three consecutive 20-point games for the first time in his career.
Burton continued his excellent play with his second straight double-double, and needed only three rebounds for just the second triple-double in Oregon State history to join Gary Payton, who had 20 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists against Portland on Nov. 26, 1988.
Did the senior know he was close to making history? "I didn't know that I almost had a triple-double," Burton said. "I was just trying to do what was right for the team. Just trying to contribute any way I can."
Eric Moreland also had a strong game with nine points and 15 rebounds, and Devon Collier added eight points and seven rebounds to finish just one point shy of joining the 1,000-point club. Challe Barton got his second-straight start and had a career-high nine points.
The Beavers doubled their nine-point halftime lead to 47-29 at the 13:21 mark before the Utes cut it to 49-41 with 10:14 to play. But Oregon State was never seriously threatened after that and knocked down 9 of 10 free throws in the final 1:09 of the game to reach the 80-point mark for the first time in conference play.
Oregon State shot a season-best 83.3 percent (25-for-30) from the free throw line to better the 81.5 percent (22-for-27) it shot against Howard on Dec. 19, 2012.
"I'm sure the guys got tired of losing games because they weren't making foul shots, so they are working on them even more so than they have been before," Robinson said. "Really, what it comes down to is that if you want to be a good foul shooter, you have to take a lot of foul shots when you're not at practice and I just think guys have been doing that. They are just tired of missing them and they are starting to make sure they work on them."
With the scored tied 12-12, Olaf Schaftenaar nailed a three-pointer, Burton hit a floater, Moreland buried a baby hook and Barton converted a three-point play to spark a 10-0 run and put the Beavers up 22-12.
The Utes went on an 11-1 run to tie it at 23 before the Beavers closed the half on a 11-2 spurt with Nelson knocking down nine free throws and Burton adding a layup to take a 34-25 lead to the locker room.
The Beavers have three days off before hosting the Colorado Buffaloes on Sunday at 6 p.m. in a game televised nationally on the Pac-12 Networks.
Click on the following YouTube link to watch the post-game press conference with Coach Robinson:
Click on the following YouTube link to watch the post-game press conference with Nelson and Burton:
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