Oregon State Rolls Past Portland State, 101-68
Dec. 19, 2011
CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State hit a season-high 13 three-point field goals, including seven in the second half, as it turned a close game into a 101-68 rout of the Portland State Vikings in the final non-conference game of the season at Gill Coliseum in front of 5,248 fans.
The Beavers (9-2) have now hit 90-plus points in three consecutive games and have reached triple digits for the second time this year (100 vs. Texas), achieving both for the first time since the 1991-92 season, and are off to their best start since the 1997-98 team opened with the same record through 11 games.
Six Beavers scored in double-figures led by sophomore guard Ahmad Starks' 17 points and a career-high five three-point field goals for the second straight game. Angus Brandt added 16 points and Jared Cunningham had 15 and a career-high eight assists, while Devon Collier and Roberto Nelson each had 14. Eric Moreland had his second career double-double with 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
"This was a nice way to end this homestand," Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said. "To be able to say that you are 4-1 in a five-game homestand is really a nice feeling. To win the last one, in front of a terrific crowd is great. That student section has been with us through the exam period, the vacation period and our fans are starting to come out and it is really nice to see. I think that it helps our guys. Beaver Nation is starting to catch hold and it is really nice for our guys."
The Beavers held a tenuous 42-34 lead at halftime over their Big Sky Conference neighbors and had their lead trimmed to seven on a Lateef McMullan three-point play. The key moment of the game came 29 seconds later when Oregon State turned it over with the Viking poised to close the gap further, but a hustling Cunningham stripped Viking guard Renado Parker leading to an immediate Starks three-pointer, followed by a Brandt triple and the Beavers seized control for good.
Oregon State scored 59 second-half points, its most this season, thanks to a blistering shooting percentage, ending the game at 59.7 percent (40-of-67) from the field, including 61.9 percent (13-of-21) from beyond the arc. The Beavers also handed out 27 assists on their 40 made baskets, setting a new season-high, with Joe Burton (9) and Cunningham (8) combining for 17.
"The first four minutes of the second half has been a little bit of a weak spot for us," Robinson said. "At the four minute timeout, we were winning, but it didn't feel like it because it was kind of like punch for punch with them. What happens when our guys decide they want to start playing defense, they start to wear out the guards on the other team and I thought that is what happened. I thought that Portland State did a great job hanging with us the whole time and we knew they would do that."
Oregon State, which never trailed, was on the verge of taking control of the game in the first half building as much as a 16-point advantage at 35-19 on a Nelson three-pointer at 7:06, but PSU used some untimely Beaver turnovers to claw back into the game at the intermission. McMullan paced the Vikings (6-5) with a game-high 19 points while Chehales Tapscott added 18.
Oregon State plays its next three games on the road, starting Wednesday night at Chicago State. The Beavers opens Conference play Dec. 29 at Washington before traveling across state to play Washington State New Year's Eve in Spokane.
Pac-12 home action begins Jan. 5 with California visiting Gill Coliseum, a game that will not be televised or have live video due to Pac-12 Conference regulations. Tickets may be purchased by calling 1-800-Go-BEAVS or visiting the Gill Coliseum ticket office during business hours, or online.
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