This time, though, the Beavers waved goodbye to close contests in big home games, to a three-game losing streak to 11th-ranked Washington, and to the purple-clad Husky fans that made the trip down to Corvallis on Sunday.
The score? You can probably guess one number: Oregon State 90, Gary Coleman and Crew 73.
“What factors contributed to this critical Oregon State win?” you may be asking.
Was it the rebounding? Nope. Oregon State got dominated on the boards by a much shorter Husky team. Although the overall margin was only seven (38-31). OSU got dominated on the Husky side of the floor, giving up a startling 19 offensive boards, compared to a paltry 7 off of their own offensive glass.
Was it another solid effort by the reserves? Nope. Outside of J.S. Nash, the bench contributed just two points in 60 combined minutes. There were a couple memorable plays, including another good post put-back by Jeffers (which was countered with terrible ball handling the next two times down the floor), but nothing to write home to Mama Beav about.
In short, OSU found solutions in the most unlikely of places: the likely places. Our Beavers shot 60% throughout the game, made their free throws, and played enough solid defense to force bad Husky shots. By just working on the basics, and executing well, Oregon State walked off the court as victors.
Surprisingly, after the Beavers pulled away, the game was never really close again. Throughout much of the first half, both teams played on an even keel. Washington got into early foul trouble, earning the bonus, and then the double bonus with about five minutes left in the half. OSU made their free throws to keep it close, but seemed to incur a serious blow when David Lucas got two quick fouls to earn a spot on the bench.
Never fear, J.S. Nash is here.
Nash helped fuel a 7-0 run with the game close at 35-34. The points enabled OSU to go in with a considerable lead at the break, up 44-37. The senior from Moreno Valley did his part, contributing 18 first-half points on five-of-five shooting from the field, and nailing 6 of his 7 free throws.
Halftime seemed to work its own magic for the Beavs. They came out sizzling hot, dialing up the first eight points to go up 15 over the purple and gold. Washington tried the full-court press, but skillful ball handling by Oregon State shredded it easily, resulting in lay-ups and dunks from Nick DeWitz and David Lucas. When the Huskies went to man on OSU, the Beavs took advantage of hot shooting to find the nylon, or else cut up the middle to hit pay dirt. Beaver fans were even treated to something of a rarity: two coast-to-coast drives ending in lay-ins for Lamar Hurd.
The game was high on emotion but low on suspense, which is unfortunate for this writer, who finds himself in an interesting position having to write about a game that didn’t go right down to the wire. Washington tried to make comebacks from beyond the arc, but simply put, the shots didn’t fall. Four for 23 three-point shooting will do that to a team every time.
On the other hand, Oregon State glistened like a diamond in the sun. Four Beavs were in double-figures, Lucas notched his second double-double in the last two games, Lamar Hurd had a season-high in points, and Chris Stephens increased his scoring average with a 17-point outing. Dewitz, Lucas, Stephens, Hurd, and Nash scored all but four of the 90 Beaver points.
Guard play by both teams really ended up being the deciding factor, however. Nash and Hurd have been discussed extensively, but Jason Fontenet also utilized his speed to wear down his defenders while in the game. Conversely, Nate Robinson was held to eight points and Will Conroy to four. Also, Oregon State had little problem getting past the presses and man defense that Washington threw at them. When the going got rough, the Huskies got fouled; Conroy and Robinson tallied four fouls each.
For the game, Washington shot 41.2% from the field, 14.8% from three point land, and a respectable 81.9% from the free-throw line. None of this stopped the “OH-VER-RAY-TED” chants from raining down from the seats in Gill, however.
OSU is just one win away from their first winning season since 1990, and will play Arizona State on Thursday. The game isn’t on TV, so tune in to Mike Parker on the Beaver Sports Network to make the Beavs make a run at greatness…or at least mediocrity. Again.
- ]The 17-point win signified a 57-point turnaround from the 108-68 shellacking
laid on the Beavs on January 15th. Jay John also stuck around to watch the
whole game this time.
- For only the fourth time this season in conference play, Oregon State didn’t
trail in the second half.
- OSU matched their six league wins from last year with six games left to
- The game gives the Beavs the most wins in a season since 1992, when the
first George Bush was still in the White House.
- 9,696 fans were on hand to watch the game on Sunday. Some of them were
Husky fans. Dawgs, if you read this and it applies, I have a piece of advice
for you: Read your tickets next time. There was a group of about 20 purple-clad
Husky supporters who at first tried to sit behind the Washington bench. They
were evicted to the upper level bleachers, then later to the bleachers in
the corner of the arena. Your fans will look a lot less like morons if they
can find their seat BEFORE the game.
- In case you were wondering, more fans were in attendance to watch OSU beat
U-Dub than there were to watch the same Husky team defeat the Ducks in overtime.
- Oregon State is now alone in filth place in the conference. No team holds a tiebreaker over the Beavers this year. All of the teams that beat OSU before will be played again, with the Bay Area schools visiting Corvallis, and Arizona being on the road. A win against Arizona State and a UCLA loss on Thursday would put OSU in fourth place in the conference.