Beavers close, but let Ducks slip away

OREGON STATE came out against Oregon with a new lineup Sunday night that included walk-on junior Joey McConnell. And the underdog Beavs more than held their own in the first half, trailing by the narrowest of margins at 33-32 following the first 20 minutes. The second half was similarly contested but in the end, a leaky OSU defense resulted in another loss for the black and orange.

With the 80-68 defeat, Oregon State has now dropped 16 straight Pac-10 games and is in danger of becoming the first team since the league formed in 1978 to go winless in conference games. This one looked like for a time, however, like it might go the Beavs' way.

The final score was not indicative of the kind of game it was -- Oregon State was within three with a little over three minutes remaining -- but the result was ultimately the same, another OSU loss.

Oregon State started well against the Ducks, staying within their offense in the opening minutes. But then the Beavs stopped running their plays in favor of simply racing down the court and launching one up. With Oregon shooting well from the perimeter, the early result was a 20-10 UO lead.

But Oregon State launched the first of many mini-comebacks, Calvin Haynes often leading the way with 11 points in the first half. Meanwhile, Mailk Hairston, the Ducks' leading scorer, was held scoreless over the opening 20 minutes.

FOR ONE OF the few times this hoops season, the Oregon State bench was jacked up at the end of the first half. So too was the OSU crowd. The place went nuts when the Beavs opened 4-for-4 to start the second half and forged a 42-39 lead at the 17:11 mark.

But Maarty Leunen was a thorn in OSU' side all night long and the lead was short-lived.

The Beavs allowed Leunen open look after open look and the UO forward complied by going 4-for-4 from beyond the arc to start the second half, the last of which gave the Ducks a 47-42 advantage.

Leunen scored 32 points, a career high, on 8-of-10 shooting and hit 7-of-8 from behind the arc.

OREGON SEEMINGLY took control with an 11-0 run but Oregon State closed to 58-55 with 8:00 remaining on a trey by Marcel Jones, and then again to 68-65 with 3:27 remaining, but in the end could not get over the hump.

Lathen Wallace led all Beaver scorers with 18 points, Jones chipped in 17 and corralled 12 rebounds, while Haynes finished with 16 points.

Oregon went to the free throw line 15 more times than did the host Beavers, going 21-31 from the stripe. OSU was 12-16.

Freshman Sean Carter did not play Sunday, having been suspended indefinitely by OSU interim coach Kevin Mouton for an undisclosed violation of team rules. It was the second time this season Carter has been suspended.

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