Jared Cunningham led the Beavers with 24 points as Oregon State advanced to the Pac-10 Tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday night. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
The Beavers advanced to the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament on Wednesday after a 69-67 win against the Stanford Cardinal. This was the first game of the 2011 Pac-10 Tournament, and the first time Oregon State won their first game in the tounament since the 2004-2005 season.
Jared Cunningham led the Beavers with 24 points off the bench, one of three Beaver players in double figures. Devon Collier followed him with 19 points, also off the bench.
The first twenty minutes could have been the worst in the history of basketball, with Oregon State shooting 33% from the field and Stanford shooting 12%. If not for free throws and Ahmad Starks, both teams would have been lucky to score 15 points. The game started out fairly normal for a Beaver Basketball game, with both teams struggling to shoot the ball early on. Oregon State would slowly break out of the slump, but the Cardinal would not. Stanford finished the half going 9 for 27 from the field.
After taking a 10-9 lead, Ahmad Starks hit a pull-up jumper and the Cardinal would never see the lead again. The Beavers would finish the final 10-plus minutes on a 15-8 run, a period filled with missed lay-ups and wide open jumpers, to take a 26-18 lead into the locker rooms.
8 of 13 Beaver players got into the game, not counting Rhys Murphy and Eric Moreland, who are out for the year with injuries. Kevin McShane, Omari Johnson, Joe Burton, Angus Brandt, and Roberto Nelson got the start for the Beavers. Burton led the starters with seven points and 14 rebounds.
For the Cardinal, Jeremy Green led the way minutes-wise with 38. Green led Stanford with 25 points, followed by Dwight Powell and Anthony Brown, who added 11 points a piece. Following them was Jarrett Mann with seven points. Stanford came into this game as the eight seed in the Pac-10 Tournament with a record of 15-15.
The biggest stat of the night was in bench points, where the Beavers outscored Stanford 58-7.
Trailing by eight at halftime, the Cardinal came out running and firing in the second half. Stanford went on a quick 7-2 run to begin the final twenty minutes and cut the Oregon State lead to 3. However, the Beavers didn't press or force any shots and kept the lead until Stanford tied it at 34. Oregon State would regain a seven point lead at 43-36, and they held a three-seven point advantage until the 6:40 mark. From there, it was anybody's game. But Stanford could never take the lead, and the Beavers could never pull away.
Stanford began to foul for profit with 2:20 remaining, down by four at 57-53. That's when Jared Cunningham hit the first two of 14 free throw attempts down the stretch. In between Cunningham free throws, Jeremy Green would be attacking from behind the three point line. Green pulled the Cardinal within two points with 25 seconds left, and got within one at the 13 second mark.
Ahead 68-67 with five seconds remaining, Cunningham split a pair of free throws to give Stanford a chance to win or send the game into overtime. But Stanford never got a shot away before the buzzer, and Oregon State earned the right to face top-seeded Arizona in tomorrow's 2:40 PM game at the Staples Center.
With the win, the Beavers improved to 11-19 and Stanford dropped to 15-16 as they head back to Palo Alto, awaiting their postseason fate. Now with a losing record, the only hope for Stanford would be a CBI bid.
As far as the crowd goes, the attendance number was not released, and maybe for the best. There appeared to be 10 orange clad fans in the arena, not counting the band.
Next up for the Beavers is Arizona, Thursday at 2:40 PM in Los Angeles. The game will be televised by FSN.
Arizona defeated Oregon 90-82 last Saturday at the McKale Center. Arizona (25-6) led the Ducks (14-16) by as many as 17 points en route to their 8 point victory.