Buffaloes pull away in the end
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 11, 2013 01:02
The last month of Oregon State basketball might as well be a sequel to “Groundhog Day.”
Every game seems the same: close game, Beavers seem to be pulling ahead and then they lose it in the final minutes.
Sunday night was no different as Oregon State (12-12, 2-9 Pac-12) lost to Colorado, 72-68, in Gill Coliseum, its fifth straight loss by single digits.
Head coach Craig Robinson attributed the inability of the Beavers to close out tight games to their lack of execution.
“I don’t think it’s effort. I don’t think it’s lack of talent so I always go back to execution,” Robinson said. “I think if you broke it down within execution it’s really consistency because if you can execute for 37 minutes, you can execute for three minutes.”
Leading by four points with 4:29 left, OSU turned the ball over four times in four minutes to give Colorado (16-7, 6-5) a lead they never gave up.
“You can’t play against team this good and turn the ball over 21 times,” Robinson said.
The Beavers finished with 21 turnovers compared to Colorado’s nine. Robinson gave several explanations for the turnovers.
“Nerves, youth — a couple of them were freshmen, a couple of them were guys trying to make plays. And then bad decisions, too,” Robinson said. “And it’s a shame because I thought we were playing so well, playing so hard, we were making them miss. And we’d go down in transition and we’d just turn the ball over.”
After trailing by as many as 13 points in the first half, Oregon State ended the half on a 26-14 run to take a one-point lead into halftime. The Beavers were fueled by 17 points by junior guard Ahmad Starks during the run. Starks would finish with 20 points including six 3-pointers — tied for his second-highest amount of 3-pointers in a game this season.
“It was just the way the game went,” Starks said of his shooting performance. “I got a few passes from Joe and Roberto that were easy knockdowns and towards the end I just got into a good rhythm there and that’s just how it went.”
Junior guard Roberto Nelson was the leading scorer for the Beavers finishing the game with 21 points — his fourth game in a row scoring at least 20.
Also contributing for Oregon State was big man Joe Burton, who has been on a hot streak for the Beavers lately averaging 16.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.7 assists in the three games coming into Sunday night. He finished with 15 points, 12 rebounds, and three assists against the Buffaloes. Robinson attributed this to both the Beavers’ need for a big man to step up and Burton realizing that he has limited games left in his Oregon State career.
For Colorado, Spencer Dinwiddie had an almost perfect game, shooting a perfect 6-for-6 from the field and 8-for-8 from the free throw line to contribute a game-high 24 points for the Buffaloes.
The Beavers did a good job of keeping Colorado from grabbing boards. The Buffaloes came into the game averaging 38.1 rebounds per game, but Oregon State outrebounded them 39-30 and held the Pac-12 leader in rebounds, Andre Roberson, to 10 boards.
Despite the fact that they are underachieving — by the standards they set at the start of the season — Robinson says that his team does not have a negative attitude.
“I don’t think we’ve lost confidence,” Nelson said. “We’re a team that plays with confidence. We don’t hang our heads, we keep fighting throughout the game, we don’t give up. I think our confidence is just as high as it was last week and last game.”
Oregon State travels up north to take on the Washington schools this weekend, playing Washington State on Wednesday.
Alex Crawford, sports reporter
On Twitter @dr_crawf