OSU falls 79-66 to Ducks in Civil War
Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 01:01
The Oregon State men’s basketball team has been in this position before.
After losing to the University of Oregon, 79-66, in the 338th meeting between the two teams on Sunday night at Gill Coliseum, the Beavers lost their conference-opener for the second year in a row.
Regardless of the similar slow starts to Pac-12 play, head coach Craig Robinson believes there is a big difference between this year’s squad and last year’s.
“This team is better than last year’s team,” Robinson said. “This is the best team I’ve had us start a Pac-12 season with in five years.”
The Beavers certainly played like an experienced squad at times during Sunday’s home loss, but at other times they looked overmatched and had trouble stopping the Ducks’ inside game. Oregon grabbed 11 more boards than the Beavers, and outscored them 46-26 in the paint.
Robinson had a simple answer for stopping that kind of prolific scoring in the paint.
“Play better defense,” Robinson said. “I actually thought in the first half our defense was pretty good, but in that second half I just thought we got so caught up in the fact that we couldn’t score, we let our defense lapse.”
The Beavers went in with all the momentum at halftime, leading 34-28 and scoring the final 5 points of the half. It was a tale of two halves, though. Despite the Beavers decent start, the Ducks came out and changed the game in the second half.
“They just outplayed us,” said junior guard Roberto Nelson. “I think we got a little ahead of ourselves coming in with the lead, and didn’t execute as well as they did. They came out with a purpose and played extremely hard.”
Oregon started the second half on a 15-2 run to go up by seven points, but the Beavers tied it back up with 12:32 to go via three straight buckets from junior forward Devon Collier.
Everything went downhill after that.
Following a jumper from junior guard Ahmad Starks with 11:44 left in the game, the Beavers proceeded to go over five minutes without making a field goal — at one point missing back-to-back-to-back 3-point shots. During that same time period, the Ducks scored nine points, went up by eight and never looked back.
“This has to be a two-half game and we have noticeably not played a good two-half game in a while, so that’s something I need to have us work on,” Robinson said.
The Beavers only had five players score: Nelson, Collier, Starks, sophomore forward Eric Moreland and senior forward Joe Burton. The other four players who got in the game failed to register a single point. On the other end, the Ducks had nine players who scored at least two points. Still, Robinson says he isn’t worried about depth.
“We have five guys averaging double figures,” Robinson said. “We have enough guys who can score. What we need to do is, for those guys who can score, to be able to score.”
Obviously no team wants to start conference play with a loss, especially in a rivalry game at home, but Robinson remained optimistic.
“The upshot to this is that we have 17 more games [within the conference], so I’m trying to keep these guys really positive and just move forward,” Robinson said. “I don’t think anybody is going to go 18-0 this season.”
The Beavers play again Thursday at 8:30 PM in Gill Coliseum against Arizona State.
Alex Crawford, sports reporter