In what was both an ugly and unusual game, Oregon St. avenged last year's overtime loss to Towson, but it didn't go as anyone expected. But in the end, while also one of their ugliest wins ever, it was also one of the best wins by the Beavers in a long time, given the adversity and unexpected circumstances that had to be overcome along the way.
Things got off to a good start for Oregon St., as the Beavers opened a 20-12 lead on Hallice Cook's 3 pointer just over 3 minutes into the game. But then it appeared the wheels were coming off, as the situation turned dramatically.
Devon Collier picked up a pair of early fouls, and the Beavers fell into a scoring drought that would last over 5 minutes in terms of game clock time, and a lot longer than that in real time.
With Collier already on the bench in foul trouble, Roberto Nelson and Towson's Marcus Damas got tangled up away from the ball, and in front of the scorer's bench. The Pac-12 officiating crew spent over 10 minutes, including 2 different extended video review sessions, followed by extended discussions, after what in every way appeared to be a coincidental contact, play on situation. After those long deliberations, Nelson was assessed a foul and a flagrant two foul, which carried an automatic ejection.
Nelson, the Pac-12's leading scorer, and third in the nation, was gone with 4 points, which ended his 24 game streak of games scoring in double digits.
Four McGlynn's free throws and a basket by Walter Foster on the ensuing possession tied the game at 20 apiece, and when Oregon St. went almost 2 more minutes without scoring, things didn't look promising.
But then the Beavers bucked up, and went on a 10-0 run, which they eventually extended to a 21-5 stretch that opened a 41-25 lead.
Towson cut into the deficit with the last 4 points before halftime, and without any reliable outside scoring, Oregon St. was not able to sustain the energy level they had responded to adversity in the first half with.
The Beavers went over 5 1/2 minutes into the second half having scored only 3 points, but their defensive effort allowed the Tigers to claw their way only back within 10 points, down 44-34.
Foul trouble was beginning to find Towson in the process, as Timajh Parker-Rivera, who had picked up his 3rd foul 9 seconds into the second half, got his 4th 2 1/2 minutes later.
But once the margin dropped to 10 points, Brandt kicked it into overdrive. A Brandt 3 pointer ignited an 11-0 Oregon St. run, 7 of which were by Brandt.
The suddenly 21 point margin allowed Oregon St. head coach Craig Robinson to get away with resting both Brandt and Collier, this without Nelson production, for several minutes. And though the Beavers lacked virtually any offensive production, they were able to play solid enough defense that Towson got only within 9 points despite the Beavers not scoring from the field for over 6 1/2 minutes.
Challe Barton's 3 pointer from the top of the key reopened a 12 point, 64-52 point lead with less than 4 minutes left.
Brandt got the last Beaver field goal of the night with 2:12 left, though he then got his 4th foul on a bad call on the other end of the floor.
Towson nailed a pair of 3 pointers down the stretch, by Mike Burwell and then Damas, which pulled the Tigers within 7 points with 35 seconds left, but Oregon St. made 10 of 12 free throws, including 6 of 6 by Cooke, to salt away the 9 point 76-67 win.
Brandt fouled out with 26 seconds left, 6 seconds after his last 2 free throws on a 10 of 15 evening at the line pushed his career scoring high to 27 points, and Collier was the only other Beaver in double digits, with 13. Collier also had 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
Burwell led Towson, with 20 points, and Damas added 14. Jerrelle Benimon, Towson's leading scorer, posted a double double, with a game high 12 rebounds, but only 11 points. Benimon was one of 3 Tigers to finish with 4 personal fouls, in addition to both Foster and Parker-Rivera fouling out.
The Beavers got 7 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks from Victor Robbins, and 8 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds by Barton. Cooke came up just short of double digits, with 9 points, but his 6 of 6 free throw shooting down the stretch was vital in keeping Towson at arms' length once Brandt got into deep foul trouble.
Oregon St., which came into the game leading the country in field goal percentage, shooting 55%, was only able to shoot 45.5% against the Towson defense, and without Nelson's shooting.
The Beavers did outrebound the Tigers 40-36, significant given that Towson is 15th in the country in rebounding.
The win gives Oregon St. a 2-1 edge all time against Towson, and was the first win by either team on their home court in the series.
The Tigers dropped to 7-5, with all the losses coming in all of their road games.
The Beavers improved to 6-2 for the season, and depart in the morning for Hawaii, and the Diamond Head Classic, beginning with a first round game against the Akron Zips Sunday afternoon at 4:30 PM PDT.
Oregon St. may not know whether they will have Nelson's services in the opener until they land in the islands, as the Pac-12 Conference will review the video clip of the incident that eventually led to the flagrant two call, and determine if any game suspension will be assessed to Nelson.
Thursday Morning Update:
After review by the Pac-12, Nelson will not miss any further game action, and will be available to play Sunday against Akron.