Beavers Take Down Cougars In Opening Round Of Pac-12 Tourney, 69-64
March 7, 2012
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Devon Collier scored a game-high 19 points as Oregon State defeated Washington State, 69-64, in the opening game of the Pacific Life Pacific-12 Conference Tournament Wednesday afternoon in front of former Beaver greats A.C. Green and Gary Payton at the Staples Center.
The win was the third straight time the Beavers have entered the tournament as the No. 9 seed and won their opening game over a No. 8 seed and also ended a four-game skid to the Cougars.
"This game should be a confidence builder for this team," Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said. "We showed a lot of maturity today against a team that we have struggled against and it shows we can beat anybody."
Collier had his best shooting game of the season making 7-of-8 field goal attempts to go along with 5-of-9 free throw attempts. He was joined by Joe Burton's 15 points, his most since an early January game against Stanford, and Ahmad Starks' 13 points.
Eric Moreland played possibly his best game of the year with nine points to go along with 12 rebounds to break the Oregon State freshman rebounding record with 205 and pass Lonnie Shelton who had 204 in 1973-74. He also picked up two more blocked shots and has 57 on the season, the third-most in a season in school history.
The Beavers (18-13) earned the victory even though their leading scorer, Jared Cunningham, struggled from the field. The Pac-12 leader in scoring entering the game had a season-low four points on 1-of-8 from the field, but defensively he played a huge part in the victory.
"Jared does a lot of things for us besides scoring," Robinson said. "What he didn't do on offense, he picked up on defense and that was really important. For us to win a game with Jared having just a so-so offensive game shows the growth of this team."
The Beavers clamped down defensively in the second half, particularly in crunch time, as WSU (15-16) did not have a field goal in the last four minutes of the game and in the process OSU went on an 11-4 run to clinch the game.
WSU shot 68 percent in the first half, but could manage just 28 percent in the second half. The Cougars, who were led by Brock Motum's 18 points, scored only 25 second half points, to tie the lowest by an Oregon State opponent in the second frame this season.
The Beavers opened the game racing to a 24-8 lead, thanks in big part to Starks hitting four three-point field goals in the early moments. However, WSU took advantage of some defensive breakdowns by the Beavers and went on their own 24-4 run to take a 32-28 lead at the 4:18 mark. From that point of the game the biggest lead was by WSU at 44-38 early in the second half before Oregon State pulled away at the end. There were five ties in the second half, the last at 60-60 with 3:16 left.
OSU, winners of three straight games, move into the quarterfinals where it will play the No. 1 seeded Washington Huskies at noon on Thursday in a game that will air live on FSN/Root Sports NW. The Huskies won both games this season, but both were competitive.
"I think we are in position athletically, better than in years past, that we can give Washington a pretty good run," Robinson said. "But we have to stay with our game plan like we did today."
Support Oregon State University Athletics by making your tax deductible donation to the Beaver Athletic Student Fund. For more information follow this link or call 541-737-2370. i> Former Student-Athletes are invited to join the Varsity O Facebook Page for upcoming Alumni events.
Follow Oregon State Athletics On YouTube.