Men's basketball begins conference play 0-3
Published: Monday, January 14, 2013
Updated: Monday, January 14, 2013 01:01
If there was a book written describing how the Oregon State men’s basketball team has played to start Pac-12 play, it would be: A Tale of Two Halves.
For the third game in a row, the Beavers (10-6, 0-3 Pac-12) saw a solid first half crumble into a double-digit loss, eventually succumbing to No. 4 Arizona, 80-70, on Saturday night in Gill Coliseum.
The Wildcats’ (15-1, 3-1) eight-point halftime lead was their largest of the first half, and several times the Beavers were just one bucket away from tying it.
The second half was a different story though, as Arizona went up by as many as 17 points, and the Beavers looked completely deflated. Head coach Craig Robinson said the biggest difference maker in this game was what Oregon State did with the opportunities presented.
“I thought the separator was that we didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we had because we had some of those same ones,” Robinson said. “There were so many of those types of things that we were on the downside of and you can’t play a piecemeal game like that against a team that is this good.”
Despite the loss, Oregon State’s third in a row, Robinson said he liked the effort he saw from his players.
“I thought we played a lot better than we did the other night [vs. Arizona State],” Robinson said. “I was very pleased with our effort. I was really pleased with our execution for probably 85 percent of the time, which is not good enough. We have to have that 100 percent of the time, but the effort was fantastic.”
The stats agree with Robinson’s analysis. Both teams grabbed 12 offensive rebounds and Arizona committed two more turnovers than OSU. The problem lies in that the Beavers shot only 39.3 percent from the field and 65.4 percent from the free-throw line.
Robinson pointed out this lack of execution as a problem that could haunt the Beavers when they go on the road this coming weekend.
“You can’t win on the road in this conference no matter how good you are if you don’t execute,” Robinson said.
Despite being without sophomore forward Eric Moreland — who is averaging a double-double — the Beavers did manage to shore up their defense in the paint against the Wildcats, only being outscored 36-32. Both ASU and Oregon outscored the Beavers by double digits in the paint.
Grabbing rebounds and stopping opposing big men is going to continue to be a problem for OSU until Moreland returns. Junior guard Ahmad Starks — who was the Beavers’ leading scorer Saturday with 18 points — agreed that Moreland was missed against a tall and athletic team like the Wildcats.
“His presence in the interior is incredible with his length and athleticism,” Starks said. “He can guard guys on the perimeter and guard multiple positions.”
Junior forward Devon Collier had to shoulder more of the rebounding burden in Moreland’s absence and did a good job of it, finishing with 15 rebounds to go along with his 13 points.
Next up is a date with UCLA on Thursday.
A victory for the Bruins on Thursday night would mark the 10th consecutive victory for UCLA.
It has been a disappointing start for Oregon State, especially since the first three games against Pac-12 opponents have been in Gill Coliseum.
“It’s definitely a tough start,” Starks said. “You don’t feel like going into conference play with three straight home games that you’d lose them all.”