Men's basketball seeks revenge against Oregon
Oregon State tries to avenge a Jan. 6 loss to Oregon tonight in Eugene
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 02:02
Last year’s Civil War game in Eugene Jan. 29 was a microcosm of Oregon State’s entire 2011-12 season.
Down at halftime, Jared Cunningham put the team on his back. The current Dallas Maverick scored 24 points in the second half and the Beavers shocked the Ducks at their own arena.
This year the Beavers (13-15, 3-1 Pac-12) travel to Matthew Knight Arena, trying to escape disappointments in the second half, which has been haunting them all season.
The 339th Civil War tips off in Eugene, at 8 p.m., as the Beavers try to end their three-game losing streak against No. 24 Oregon (22-6, 11-4 Pac-12).
Head coach Craig Robinson said he isn’t using last year’s road victory as extra motivation for the team.
“You use that to point out that you have won there, and you’re capable of winning there, but the teams are completely different now,” Robinson said.
Oregon State hasn’t lost by more than 10 points since playing Oregon in the first conference game of the season back on Jan. 6. Despite OSU’s disappointing season, Robinson said the Civil War doesn’t have much more meaning than any other game at this point.
“I would say that [even] if we weren’t playing with the same enthusiasm that we’ve been playing with,” Robinson said. “I think our guys take every single game as seriously as any other game. If I thought this team was demoralized and our effort wasn’t there, I would maybe answer that question differently, but these guys are still pounding away, trying to get better, win games and prepare for the conference tournament.”
The last time these two teams met, the Ducks won by 13 and started the Beavers on a five game losing skid. In that game, OSU blew a six-point halftime lead. Damyean Dotson scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half to lead Oregon to a victory.
Sophomore forward Eric Moreland and junior guard Roberto Nelson cited transition defense as OSU’s key to pull off the upset.
“Earlier in the season, I don’t think our transition defense was that good. But, I think as the season’s progressed we’ve gotten a lot better at it,” Nelson said.
“Our Achilles’ heel has been the second half, and like Roberto said, they killed us in transition defense,” Moreland added.
Overall, the Ducks and the Beavers are first and second, respectively, for rebounding in the Pac-12. Moreland — 10.6 rebounds per game — and Oregon forward Arsalan Kazemi — 9.8 rebounds per game — will undoubtedly battle it out down low.
“[Kazemi’s] a tough player and one of the toughest in our conference. I have to battle him on the boards, and he’s a great defensive player, so I just have to battle him all night long,” Moreland said.
Oregon head coach Dana Altman said this week that injured point guard Dominic Artis will play on Thursday night. The Ducks were a perfect 6-0 in the Pac-12 before Artis injured his foot on Jan. 23 against Washington State, but are 5-4 since then. Artis was replaced in the starting lineup by Johnathan Loyd, who will still start at point guard Thursday night.
“Not to disparage Loyd, I think Loyd did a very capable job,” Robinson said. “I just think that Dominic [Artis] is taller and he’s a little better outside shooter, so that helps them both offensively and defensively with the height factor there.”
Despite the Ducks’ obvious advantage in Thursday night’s game, Oregon State’s players remain optimistic.
“We don’t like to think about the past games too much or dwell on that,” Nelson said. “I think we are more than capable of beating this team, and I think we beat ourselves a lot during the season.”
The Beavers cannot be blamed for not wanting to think about the past, considering their 3-12 Pac-12 record. But with the Ducks’ program on the rise and Oregon State having a bad season, last year’s Civil War victory will be all Beaver Nation has to hold onto until Oregon State rights the ship.
Alex Crawford, sports editor