Home court advantage

True Beaver fans are there for the athletes through thick and thin, supporting the kids no matter what the circumstances are. Having said that, I'm willing to admit that I got out while the getting was good, and turned off my television when the Beavers were down by 10 to Washington.

Atrocious rebounding, poor shot selection, and ghastly ball control made it easy on the Huskies to run their lead up to 40, despite Coach Jay John being rushed to the hospital at halftime. But hey, if you went 1-10 in college football, you'd probably want to pour it on in hoops a little, too. After all, it's not like the Seahawks were much better.

AP/Karl Maasdam

Lucas shot 12 of 18 from the field for a team leading 27 points.

So going into tonight's game, I had reservations as to which Beaver team I was going to see. Was it going to be the same resilient OSU team that swept the L.A. schools and triumphed in all of it's home games? Or was it going to be that…other one?

Oregon State shredded the Sun Devil defense for most of the night, five Beavers scored in double figures, and Ike Diogu's hot streak fizzled out in the second half, resulting in an 88-66 drubbing of Arizona State, and a big confidence boost for the fans and players of Beaver Nation.

Playing under acting head coach Kevin Mouton, the Beavs played most of the second half against Ike Diogu, the referees, and themselves, rather than most of the players from Arizona State.

Diogu came out firing, appearing at one point like he might make a run at 50 points for the night. The junior from Garland, Texas wreaked havoc from all parts of the floor. Two long, arcing three-point shots earned him zero style points, but kept ASU in the game when no one else from the Sun Devils squad seemed to be capable of making shots. Indeed, at halftime, Ike was responsible for over half of ASU's points.

Turnovers prevented Oregon State from putting away the game in the first half. No calls seemed to go Oregon State's way. Despite shooting over 65% from the field and holding an advantage in rebounds, offensive fouls and traveling calls kept OSU in check for most of the first 20 minutes. At halftime, the game was still close at 49-32.

The second half changed all of that.

OSU put the clamps on Diogu. Although he had put up 22 points with five minutes left in the first half, Diogu ended with 27 points thanks to consistent post pressure from several different Beaver defenders. With ASU's main scoring threat out of the way, Oregon State went to work.

AP/Karl Maasdam

DeWitz was a perfect 9 of 9 from the field for 22 points.

Lucas made the post defense for ASU look laughable at times. The Lucas of Yore seemed to be channeling the same sweet post moves that made him so successful last year. He spun, faded, and hustled his way to 27 points. Nick DeWitz added a perfect 9-for-9 performance from the field to amass 22 points, and three other Beaver players (Stephens, Nash, and Fontenet) got into double figures to widen the Oregon State lead all the way to 23 before ASU whittled it down to the final score of 88-66.

For the game, Oregon State shot 62.5% compared with 43.5% for Arizona State. They out-rebounded the Devils 35-30, and kept any Devil but Diogu from breaking into double figures. By the end of the game, the student section could be heard "LEE-UM, LEE-UM", as the big English center made his Pac-10 debut at Gill Coliseum, grabbing a defensive rebound in one minute of playing time.

Thursday's game was a complete turnaround from the Washington debacle; in fact, according the Mike Parker on the post-game show, the 62-point positive turnaround between games was the largest in 20 seasons, harking back to 1984-1985. More importantly, the Beavers climbed back to .500 in conference, made the plays they needed to, and looked again like a team that could push for at least the NIT Tournament if they continue to play like they did.

The Beavers are currently tied for fourth place at 3-3 in conference with Oregon and Washington State (who both must visit Gill in the next few weeks). With UCLA's loss to Stanford, Beaver and Golden Bear wins on Saturday would put Oregon State in third place in the Pac-10. However, the task won't be easy, as Saturday sees Arizona come to town.  But, of course, most Beaver fans remember what happened LAST YEAR.

Box score on OSUBeavers.com.

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