Men's basketball stumbling, faces WSU tonight
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 00:02
Times are tough for the Oregon State men’s basketball team right now.
The Beavers’ last five losses have come by single digits, and if they want to get another one of those elusive wins, it is going to have to come on the road against a team that has already beaten them this season.
After falling just short of the Cougars, 81-78, back on Jan. 26, the Beavers (12-12, 2-9 Pac-12) look to win the rematch against WSU (11-13, 2-9) in Pullman, Wash., tonight.
Various comments made by OSU players and head coach Craig Robinson recently should illustrate how they are feeling.
At last week’s press conference, junior guard Roberto Nelson and senior forward Joe Burton made a point of saying that the Beavers were not a desperate team.
This week, Robinson wanted to assure the media present that he wasn’t suicidal.
“I’ll start off by thanking everyone who’s been calling, texting or emailing me to try and talk me off the ledge, but I’m actually not on a ledge,” Robinson said. “I feel like we’re playing well, but we’re just not doing some things at the end of the game.”
The Beavers haven’t won in Pullman since Feb. 14, 2009, during Robinson’s first year in Corvallis, and Washington State has won six of their last seven meetings.
“I don’t like that term, ‘having OSU’s number,’” Robinson said. “They’ve had our number, [it’s] sort of situational, but sometimes it’s just they way we’ve played against them.”
WSU power forward Brock Motum is the third leading scorer in the Pac-12, with 18.1 points per game and, like his team, has OSU’s number. He had 20 points and 10 rebounds against OSU last time they played.
Sophomore forward Eric Moreland guarded Motum most of the last game, and he said limiting Motum was going to be a big factor if the Beavers want to win.
“I don’t know what coach is going to do with that situation this time, but when I do get on him, I just [will have] to sacrifice some blocks and rebounds to stay with Motum because you can’t leave him,” Moreland said.
Looking for their third Pac-12 win of the season, the Beavers were leading Colorado for most of the second half on Sunday until turnovers killed them. They finished the game with 21 turnovers, including four in the final four minutes.
“I can’t remember the last time I had a game with 21 turnovers, but I probably lost that game by about 30,” Robinson said.
In fact, the Beavers had 20 turnovers back on Nov. 15 against Alabama and only lost by three points. Junior forward Devon Collier said turnovers are the key to an OSU victory on Wednesday.
“[We just need to] limit our turnovers, and we’ve been playing good defense recently,” Collier said. “[It’s] just the little mess-ups that we’ve been having. We’ve just got to polish them up and we’ll be good,” Collier said.
Collier — averaging 13.5 on 51.3 percent field goal percentage — has been quiet for OSU recently, scoring a combined 14 points on 6-18 shooting over the last two games.
“If my offense is not going I just can’t limit my game,” Collier said. “That means I’ve got to pick up my defense even more if my offense is not going,” Collier said “These past games I’ve been playing good, I’ve just got to pick up my defense if my offense is not going.”
Alex Crawford, sports reporter