11-0 run helps OSU flip script
Published: Sunday, January 29, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 21:07
EUGENE — "Here we go again."
If you were a fan of the team that'd lost 13 straight conference road games, that's exactly what you were thinking at the 13:15 mark of Sunday's Civil War.
That's when Devoe Joseph hit back-to-back treys to give the Ducks a 6-point lead and send the nearly sold-out crowd at Matthew Knight Arena into a frenzy.
How could you not be thinking that?
The game was staying true to script.
In true away-from-Gill form, the Beavers came out of the gate slow (10 points in the game's first 14 minutes and 10 seconds), battled back then hung around.
But in the past – in Seattle, in Pullman, in Tucson and Tempe – it was the home team that seized momentum late and made the game-changing plays down the stretch.
So when Joseph got hot – seemingly seconds after OSU had tied it for the first time since early in the game – the outcome seemed inevitable.
But Sunday, OSU flipped the script.
In a very big way.
From the 13:15 point forward, OSU played its best basketball of the season.
The Beavers answered Joseph's back-to-backs with an 11-0 run, and the Beaver lead never dipped below three after that.
The final 13:15 was not flawless – this was probably a game the Beavers would have won by 10 had it not been for a few crucial, late-game turnovers that let the home team back into it.
But that's to be expected from a team that hadn't won a conference road game in nearly two years.
The important part is the fact that the Beavers showed resilience at a time they may not have shown resilience one, two or three weeks ago.
If you would have closed your eyes and just listened to the crowd over the game's final 10 or so minutes, you would have thought it was much closer than it actually was.
That's because 11,219 Duck fans tried everything in their power to will their team back into the game, erupting at the most faint sign of hope.
But each time the crowd rose, and each time Oregon grew a little bit closer, Oregon State responded.
Whether it was Jared Cunningham getting to the free throw line, Ahmad Starks hitting a trey or the defense forcing a turnover, the Beavers had an answer.
This could be a turning point in the season.
Yes, that's easy to say. Cliche to say.
But when asked last week what's key to the Beavers winning on the road, Craig Robinson said "getting that first win."
And the fact that they got that first win, in a hostile environment, when it looked like they were headed for 3-6 in conference play, is huge.
If OSU plays the same way the rest of the season that they played over the final 13:15 of Sunday's game, there's no reason why they can't finish in the top three or four in the conference.
Not to say that will happen, but there's at least some belief — some well founded belief with game film to back it up — that OSU can play well on the road with its backs to the wall.
Grady Garrett, sports editor
On Twitter: @gradygarrett