Courtesy: Oregon State Sports Information
BOULDER, Colo. – Joe Burton and Eric Moreland each had a double-double, and Burton joined the 1,000-point club, as Oregon State upset Colorado, 64-58, Saturday afternoon at the Coors Events Center. The teams will meet again in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament.
The Beavers (14-17, 4-14 Pac-12) played hard in front of an energetic crowd of 10,105, taking the lead for good at 32-31 with 18:41 left in the game and holding on for the road win. It was the first time in seven tries Oregon State defeated Colorado (20-10, 10-8) in Boulder.
“I told them that this place is going to be the hardest place to play in the Pac-12,” Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said. “We wanted to let the guys in the locker room know that if you can win here, you can win anywhere. I tried to do a little reverse psychology. I told them how hard it was to play here hoping that they would raise the level of play.
“It was a real team effort and it was guys rebounding and covering for each other. I was very, very proud of these guys. It was a very good win.”
Oregon State enters the Pac-12 Tournament as the No. 12 seed and will play No. 5-seed Colorado Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. The Beavers are the only Pac-12 team to play at the new venue for the conference tournament, as they defeated San Diego there, 86-79, on Dec. 22.
It’s the second straight year Oregon State enters the Pac-12 Tournament with a win, and the momentum helped the Beavers last year as they won two games before falling in the semifinals to Arizona.
“Last year we sort of did the same thing,” Robinson said.” I remember telling the guys in there that we started our win streak too early. Maybe they listened to me because we started a little later so that we could win more games in the tournament.”
Burton needed five points entering the game to reach the 1,000-point mark. He got his first basket on a right-handed hook shot, his second on a left-handed hook and then reached the milestone with another right-handed hook. He’s the 39th player in Oregon State history, and third this season to join Devon Collier and Roberto Nelson, to score 1,000 career points.
“I think it was a good way for me to get the milestone with my signature hook shot,” Burton said.
The senior center also became the first player in Oregon State history to record 1,000 points and 700 rebounds and 300 assists.
Moreland had one of his best overall games in his career, finishing with a double-double for the 11th time this season with a team-high 17 points and 10 rebounds. He went 7-for-8 from the field, including one three-pointer, and added two assists and two blocked shots.
The Beavers jumped ahead 14-9 before Colorado answered with a 12-0 run to take a 21-14 lead. The Buffs had won the last two meetings against Oregon State in Boulder by an average of 24 points and looked to be well on their way to another blowout win.
But Oregon State didn’t give up and scraped back with a 13-8 run to trail 29-27 at halftime, despite Nelson being held to zero points in the first half.
The Beavers opened the second frame with another run, this time a 22-12 spurt, to take their biggest lead of the game at 49-41 with 10:15 to play. Colorado cut it to 60-58 when Spencer Dinwiddie made three free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt, but Nelson made a driving layup and added two free throws for the final margin.
It was the first time in 10 tries this season Oregon State won when trailing at halftime.
“Roberto does a lot for us,” Robinson said. “He is a terrific player and he does a lot of different things. Tonight I thought was one of his better games. Even though he didn’t score in the first half, he helped us get going. He helped other guys get going. It was fantastic to watch him make plays out there. He let his offense come to him in the second half. That’s the sign of a guy that really knows the game. He’s got a high basketball IQ and he cares about his teammates. He’s smart enough to know what it takes to win a big game on the road. I thought he could have gotten to the line a few more times and the game was quite physical. He didn’t let that bother him. We need that level of toughness.”
Nelson scored all 15 of his points in the second half and became the first Oregon State player since Gary Payton in 1990 to lead the Pac-12 in scoring in conference games as he finished with an average of 19.1 per game.
Dinwiddie was the lone Colorado player in double figures as he finished with 18 points. For a second straight game, Colorado played without Andre Roberson, who’s sidelined with a viral illness. Head coach Tad Boyle hopes to have the nation’s leading rebounder back on the court in the conference tournament.
“I don’t know what they need,” Boyle said about his team. “But I do know they need a reality check. The reality check is that we just lost to a team that was 3-14, coming into our building with a great crowd, on senior day, and we got beat. That is the reality. We better figure it out because the regular season is over with, it is either win or go home, from here on out. There are no guarantees of tomorrow.”
Oregon State and Colorado have met 12 times in history with the Buffaloes holding an 8-4 advantage. The teams have never played at a neutral site. Colorado won four games in four days last season to win the inaugural Pac-12 Tournament and receive the free ticket to the NCAA Tournament.