Courtesy: Oregon State Sports Information
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State’s backcourt of Ahmad Starks and Roberto Nelson combined for 41 points, Joe Burton had a double-double for the third consecutive game and Devon Collier hit the 1,000-point mark, but the Beavers dropped a nip-and-tuck battle to Colorado, 72-68, Sunday night at Gill Coliseum.
The Beavers (12-12, 2-9 Pac-12) climbed back from a 13-point first-half deficit to take a 56-49 lead with 13:03 to play, before the Buffaloes (16-7, 6-5) took advantage of costly turnovers and made free throws down the stretch to close the game on a 23-12 run for the win.
“We can’t play against a team this good and turn the ball over 21 times,” Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said. “That was the first thing I noticed. And then the second thing, I think we missed probably five, maybe even seven, point-blank shots right around the basket that when you’re playing against an NCAA team, you have to make those play. We didn’t make those plays.
“Having said that, I was very proud of the effort the guys put forth. We got off to a bad start. Actually, I didn’t think it was a bad start. I think they got off to a hot start and we sort of had to get our footing. But once we did, I thought it was a pretty nice effort there.”
Collier became the 37th player in Oregon State history to score 1,000 career points when he tipped in his own miss with 10:10 to play in the first half. He finished the game with six points and now has 1,005 in his career.
Nelson led the Beavers with 21 points, the fourth-straight game he has scored 20-plus, and Burton had his third straight game with a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Starks finished with 20 points and knocked down six three-pointers, which is just one shy of the Oregon State single-game record that he shares with Nick DeWitz, Josh Steinthal and Gary Payton. With the six triples, Starks moved into a tie for third all-time with Payton with 178 career three-pointers.
The Buffs raced out to a 19-6 advantage before Starks caught fire and hit five three-pointers to give him 17 first-half points and the Beavers a 34-33 lead at the break. Nelson and Burton took the torch in the second half as they combined to score the team’s first 19 points before Starks nailed his sixth triple of the game to give the Beavers their largest lead of the game at 56-49.
But Colorado forced 10 Oregon State turnovers in the final 13 minutes of the game, while committing only one, and went 8-for-10 from the free throw line and 3-for-7 from beyond the arc to pull out the come-from-behind win.
When asked about the late turnovers Robinson said: “Nerves, youth, a couple of them were freshmen, a couple of them were guys trying to make plays, and then bad decisions, too. So it was a combination of those three things. And it’s a shame because I thought we were playing so well, playing so hard. We were making them miss. We’d go down in transition and we’d turn the ball over.”
The Beavers have now lost each of their last five games by eight points or less.
“I don’t think its effort and I don’t think its lack of talent so I always go back to execution,” Robinson said about the close losses. “I think if you broke it down within execution it would be consistency, because if you can execute for 37 minutes you can execute for three minutes. It is just being consistent enough at the end of games at important times when the pressure is on to be able to do it.”
Spencer Dinwiddie had a game-high 24 points for Colorado, going 6-for-6 from the field, 4-for-4 from deep and 8-for-8 from the line. Josh Scott added 17 points, Sabatino Chen had 10, and Andre Roberson finished with seven points, 10 rebounds and five steals.
The Beavers head to the Palouse for a Wednesday tilt against Washington State (11-13, 2-9 Pac-12) that tips at 7 p.m. at Beasley Coliseum on the Pac-12 Networks.
Oregon State Head Coach Craig Robinson:
Roberto Nelson and Ahmad Starks: