Cougars no match for inspired Beavers

Culminating one of the most tumultuous weeks in the history of Oregon State men's basketball, Richie McKay watched as the Beavers blew past Washington State in front of 7,362 at Gill Coliseum.

The win kept OSU in the hunt for the 8th and final spot in the Pac Ten tournament to be held March 7-9 at The Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Senior guard Brandon Payton, playing in his last home game, continued to fill the void left by the departure of Jimmy Haywood on Monday. Payton played his best game of the season, and paced the Beaver offensive attack with 21 points. Payton was a torrid 8-10 from the field, including 4-5 from the three point line.

The Cougars, who have lost 18 of 19 games, and fell to 1-16 in Pac Ten conference play were never in the game. Oregon State started the game on a 7-0 run, and also had runs of 10-0 and 17-0.

Brian Jackson, who returned to the team Friday, added 13 points and 4 rebounds. Phillip Ricci and J.S. Nash added 14 points, and Adam Masten added 10. All OSU starters scored in double figures.

Oregon State led 43-25 at halftime paced by their defense which forced WSU to settle for jump shots. The Cougars shot a miserable 29% for the game, contrasted by Oregon State's best shooting game in conference play. The Beavers shot 55% for the game, and made 21-22 free throws.

In order to qualify for the conference tournament the Beavers now must hope for a split next weekend versus UCLA and USC, and they must now hope that Washington State can somehow find a way to beat Washington in Seattle.

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