It was the tale of two halves and this time Oregon State's inability to put teams away comes back to haunt them in the second half as the Towson Tigers hang around to force an overtime in which they end up hitting the game winning last shot to come out of Gill with a win.
It was a solid first half for the Beavs behind a strong performance by Eric Moreland. With his 11 points and 9 rebounds Moreland helped lead the Beavs into halftime with a seemingly comfortable 36 to 23 lead. Joe Burton and Roberto Nelson both contributed 8 points of their own in the first half. It was a half that saw OSU shooting 48% from the field and holding Towson to 33%. Some highlights for the first half were Olaf Schaftenaar's first two point FG of the season and some excellent three point plays by Moreland and Nelson.
The second half though saw the Beavs go cold from the field to end up only 35% from the field for the entire game. This along with some breakdowns in defense allowed Towson to slowly creep back into the game even though the Tigers only shot 38% themselves, but they were still able to outscore the Beavs 37 to 24 in the second half. Joe Burton seemed to hold off the Tigers run with a three point play at the 5:29 mark in the 2nd half to put the Beavs back up by six points, but Towson held strong and tied the game at 58 to 58 at the 1:16 mark.
In the last minute of the game both teams made a pair of free-throws to have the score tied up at 60 points. Oregon State had a great chance to win the game but Starks missed a close in layup attempt followed by two rebound misses by Devon Collier.
The game went to OT and Towson struck first to take their first lead of the game, but OSU finally makes their first FG in over five minutes of play to keep it close. In the final seconds of the game Ahmad Starks finds his missing touch and makes a long range 3-point shot to put the Beavs up 66 to 65 with only 16 seconds left. But all for not for Towson's Marcus Damas was able to hit the game winning shot in the last eighth-tenths of a second of the game.
Moreland led the OSU scorers with 16 points and added 18 rebounds to finish with another double double. Joe Burton finished with 15 points and Roberto Nelson added 14 points with Devon Collier coming off the bench for 12 points. Towson was led by Jerrelle Benimon who scored 20 points and had 21 rebounds for his own double double.
This in hindsight is a game that was in the making, for the games since the strong overall performance against Kansas have been struggles in finding any type of dominating pull away ability on both sides of the ball for Oregon State. What has been especially concerning of late is the absence of Starks on offense. There are reasons for him to be in control of the game in order to get the ball to the likes of Moreland and Collier, but time after time he has passed up shots he should be taking to also open up the offense options. Teams have keyed in on him too and this is a consideration, but at the same time seeing him take that last second shot and drain it with a bit of pressure around him one wonders why not more of this? This along with other struggles for the entire team are going to have to be addressed very quickly as the non-conference schedule is now winding down to its last game for OSU.
Oregon State returns to the court this New Year's Eve against the 6 and 8 Texas-Pan American Broncs, for the last non-conference game of the season. Tip off is scheduled for 2:00pm.