Beavers Cruise To 86-62 Season-Opening Win over CSU Bakersfield
Nov. 12, 2011
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Sophomore Ahmad Starks had 16 points and a career-high six steals and junior Joe Burton had 16 points, five rebounds, five assists and a career-best four steals to lead Oregon State to a season-opening 86-62 win over CSU Bakersfield at Gill Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.
The Beavers (1-0) opened the game on an 11-0 run and led by as many as 26 points in the game to cruise to an easy victory in front of a crowd of 5,423 in the 2nd Annual Nike N7 Game presented by Spirit Mountain Casino.
"To see that many students come out when there is other stuff going on, it just warmed my heart," Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said. "To have a performance like that on the Nike N7 Game, which means a lot to a lot of different people was really nice. I liked the way our guys came out and set the tone for our side."
Oregon State utilized its man-to-man defense to force 27 turnovers with 19 steals, the most by a Beavers team since it set a school-record with 27 steals on Dec. 22, 1984 against Hawaii-Loa. Oregon State led the Pac-10 and was fifth in the nation in steals last season at 9.5 per game.
"Well, it is interesting, because I never imagined that playing man would get us more steals than playing the 1-3-1; I really didn't," Robinson said. "But it was fun to watch our guys play man-to-man, take a smack in the face, and then come right back."
Starks, whose previous career-best for steals was three last season against Utah Valley, enjoys the man-to-man defense the Beavers are playing this season.
"It is a lot of fun, but at the same time, we still have a lot to work on out there," Starks said. "Each day we practice it, so we will get better and better and hopefully continue to do a good job out there."
Junior Jared Cunningham finished with 14 points and five steals and redshirt freshman Eric Moreland had his first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Devon Collier added eight points and five rebounds, while freshman Challe Barton had eight points, going 2-for-2 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free throw line, in his first career game for the Beavers.
The Beavers scored 52 first-half points, their most in a game's opening half since Dec. 21, 2006 when they scored 53 against Mercer. They shot 65 percent in the half and finished the game shooting 54 percent (27-for-50) from the field and 75 percent (27-for-36) from the free throw line.
"Winning is always fun," Burton said. "When you have a group of guys like my teammates, it's fun. In practice going over our assignments, scouting the other team and then the game is just an extra benefit. I'm glad we won and that everybody had fun. This is just another game down and we have plenty more to go. One day at a time."
Four Oregon State players finished in double-figures in scoring. The Beavers accomplished that feat 11 times last season and posted an 8-3 record in those games.
Issiah Grayson led CSU Bakersfield with 15 points, while Rashad Savage had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Adam Young and Tyrone White each had nine points for the Roadrunners.
"I thought it was a good experience for us," CSU Bakersfield head coach Rod Barnes said. "We have a new team, staff and coaches and we got thrown in the fire today by playing a team that will be solid in the Pac-12. I think Coach Robinson has done a great job putting this team together. We were overmatched today, although a few of our main guys stepped up and played well."
The Beavers return to action Monday at 7 p.m. against West Alabama at Gill Coliseum in the opening game of the TicketCity Legends Classic Regional Round.
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