OSU takes on Stanford tonight
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 00:02
The last time the Stanford men’s basketball team came to Gill Coliseum was an unusual one.
Roberto Nelson made back-to-back 3-pointers with only one shoe on in the first half, and it took four overtime periods to decide a winner.
Although that game may be among the most memorable ones for the fans, head coach Craig Robinson said it’s hardly a blip on Oregon State’s radar.
“I think everybody is focused on what we are doing now and trying to beat them from the game that we should have beaten them the last time,” Robinson said. “I think last year’s quadruple-overtime game is not that much in our sights.”
Senior forward Joe Burton had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds the last time these teams met.
“I’m hoping we get them in the regulation, I hate to go overtime and then lose,” Burton said. “We barely lost to them at their place so it should be a good game.”
When the Beavers (13-13, 3-10 Pac-12) faced Stanford (15-11, 6-7) earlier this season, the Cardinal hit a season-high 14 3-pointers and held off a strong OSU comeback for an 81-73 victory.
“I thought we played real well except for a couple of minutes at the end there, which has been our swan song all season long,” Robinson said.
Although it is unlikely that the Cardinal will shoot the three-ball as well as they did last time — Stanford finished with 56 percent from 3-point range — junior guard Ahmad Starks said it’s the Beavers’ plan to force Stanford to score more inside on Thursday.
“They were just pretty hot that day,” Starks said. “Actually I thought we played a better game, so if we just play similar to that we should be alright.”
Starks knows a thing or two about 3-pointers himself as he has made 60 this season, and set the Oregon State record for all-time 3-pointers made in a career on Saturday against UW.
“It’s a good thing, I’m happy about it,” Starks said. “I wasn’t thinking too much about it but the one thing I am happy about is that I was able to do it in three years ... where everyone else did it in four.”
Last Saturday may have been a meaningful day for Starks, but these last two games will have extra-special meaning for Burton, the team’s lone senior still playing (Angus Brandt will return next year after a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament). Burton is the first recruit of Robinson’s to have gone through four years in a Beaver uniform, and will be playing his final two home games this weekend.
“[Burton] has represented us on the court fantastically, but off the court he has been just a tremendous ambassador for himself, his family, for our program,” Robinson said. “He does so much in the community with young kids, with regular students on campus and with just people in the community who aren’t kids.”
“[This weekend’s games] mean a lot,” Burton added. “Last two games in the Pac-12, so it’s been a long four years and a good road, had some bumps along the road, but the wheels are still on, still turning and I’m close to the finish line.”
Burton was in rare form during Tuesday’s press conference — smiling and cracking joke after joke with reporters. He’s also been in rare form on the court. Burton is arguably playing the best basketball of his career and has had a double-double in three of his last five games.
Robinson said despite the Beavers’ dismal conference record they don’t view themselves as underdogs and want to be the team that no one wants to play.
Joe Burton — not one to shy away from any food — seemed mighty hungry to close out his career with some wins.
“We barely lost to them last year and we barely lost to them this year so we got to get them back somehow,” Burton said.
Alex Crawford, sports reporter