Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson:
Oregon State guard Roberto Nelson and forward Devon Collier:
CORVALLIS — Roberto Nelson scored a game high-tying 25 points and Devon Collier added a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, but Oregon State could not hold on late in the second half to take down No. 3 Arizona, falling 74-69 at Gill Coliseum on Wednesday night.
The Beavers played with intensity, fed by the raucous crowd and Beaver Dam. With six minutes remaining, the Beavers held a 62-61 lead, but saw it fall away as Arizona (28-2, 15-2 Pac-12) capitalized on opportunities late in the game, putting away a motivated Oregon State (15-14, 7-10 Pac-12) squad.
Oregon State was crippled by 17 turnovers that led to 21 points for the Wildcats in a game that featured 10 ties and eight lead changes.
“First and foremost, I am so proud of the way the team played tonight,” Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said. “The way they kept fighting in really adverse circumstances here at home was great. It was a great crowd, student section and environment for a college basketball game. Our guys held up their end of their end of the bargain, sticking to the game plan and it’s a nice feeling when the number three team in the country is adjusting to us.”
Nelson carried much of the burden offensively for the Beavers, going 7-of-22 from the field. The senior also grabbed five boards and distributed three assists on the night.
Collier was a monster inside for Oregon State, commanding double teams and powering through them to find the hole. The New York native hit 5-of-9 from the floor and also dished out an assist for the Beavs.
Nick Johnson led Arizona with 25 points, six rebounds and four assists. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Kaleb Tarczewski added 13 and 12 points respectively for the Cats.
Arizona marched out to a 7-0 lead to start the contest, but the Beavers were able to bring it within one, 7-6, at the 16:09 mark after Nelson found space and drilled an open three-ball.
Malcolm Duvivier got a lay-in to fall on a fast break with 11:45 to play in the half, knotting the game at 14. On the next offensive possession, Oregon State took a 16-14 lead after a Nelson layup.
The Wildcats would respond, extending to a 17-4 run that put them ahead 31-22 with just under four minutes before the break. Oregon State kept fighting; going on a 7-0 run that got the game within two, 31-29.
At the intermission, Arizona held a mere 36-33 advantage after a physical half of basketball. Defense told the story in the opening stanza, as neither team was able to shoot over 41 percent from the field. The Beavers were able to outrebound the Cats 20-18 in the first 20 minutes of play, which played a key role in Oregon State’s ability to keep No. 3 Arizona at bay in the period.
The Beavers tied it up at 40 after Nelson grabbed his own rebound inside and dropped in a layup at the 17:19 mark of the final frame. Soon after, Hallice Cooke hit back-to-back three’s that gave Oregon State a 46-44 edge with just over 15 minutes left to play.
The Wildcats were able to take advantage of a 7-0 run that put them ahead 58-51 with under 10 minutes remaining. The Beavers weren’t phased, going on a 5-0 run of their own to bring the game within two, 58-56 behind a Nelson three.
Eric Moreland would come up clutch, tying the game at 58 after getting a tough lay-in to fall at 8:13. Oregon State would get the lead back from the line, as Nelson put the Beavs ahead 62-61 with 6 minutes left.
Despite this, Arizona would take control down the stretch, making the most out of each possession, which ultimately pushed the Wildcats to victory.
Oregon State plays Arizona State at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday in the regular-season finale for both teams and Senior Day for the Beavers.