OSU vs Quinnipiac: It was not easy but the Beavs win 76 to 68

Angus Brandt's strong return after a knee injury in Hawaii carried Oregon St. to victory. - Andy Wooldridge

In the last non-conference game of the 2013-14 season the Oregon State men's basketball team get a strong return performance by Angus Brandt to hold off a scrappy and physical Quinnipiac Bobcats team, winning 76 to 68. Indeed it may have been a strangely late Sunday night college basketball game for many of us but it suited Brandt well as he returns after his injury a week ago to score 21 points and help the Beavs finish their non-conference play out at an 8 and 4 record.

Coach Robinson's hinted at line-up shake up included seeing Angus Brandt returning after going down in the December 22nd game against Akron and seeing Langston Morris-Walker get his first OSU career start at guard.  Quinnipiac though struck first with a three point field goal to be then answered by a strong in-the-paint Devon Collier scoring play.   OSU is able to take its first lead at 4 to 3 on a Brandt jumper, but the Bobcats make a strong run to take a 11 to 5 lead at the 16:27 mark.

Robinson did go to the bench fairly early with Hallice Cooke giving Roberto Nelson a bit of a break, and Victor Robbins and Daniel Gomis going into the game at the 14:21 mark.  OSU though makes its run and Collier had the chance to tie the game but missed his free throw attempt on a three-point play, but Devon is able to score later on a strong inside move to give the Beavs a 14 to 13 lead going into the 11:36 timeout break.   During this Beavs scoring run they were able to take advantage of what looked to be in-the-paint mismatches with strong rebounding, block shots, and inside scoring; including coming out of the time-out hook shot scoring play from Daniel Gomis to put the Beavs up 16 to 13.

The Beavs continued to attack the inside with back-to-back Brandt scores, but Quinnipiac found ways to break the OSU 1-3-1 OSU defensive pressure.   Brandt's presence was huge though as Angus not only finds his game in the paint but also is able to drain the first OSU three point jumper putting the Beavs up 23 to 18.

Freshman Hallice Cooke also helped the Beavs fend off some scrappy Quinnipiac play that allowed the Bobcats to get the game within two points at 27 to 25, as Cooke's three point field goal and nice fast-break pull up jumper puts OSU up 32 to 25 at the 4:28 mark.

OSU finally opens up the game a bit with Roberto Nelson knocking down a three point shot to put the Beavs up by ten points 39 to 29 at the 2:09 mark, and OSU was able to take that 39 to 29 lead into the locker room.

The first half overall was a bit 'deliberate' in its pacing for both teams.  The play was not necessarily sloppy by either team, but neither was it overly sharp.   The Beavs shoot 55% from the field including going 3 for 8 in three point FGs.   Brandt had a wonderful first half leading the OSU scorers with 17 points and Gomis played aggressive on defense and the boards with two key block shots and three rebounds, but Nelson and Collier were relatively quiet with only 15 points between the two of them.   OSU though was able to score 18 out of its 39 points in-the-paint, and out rebound the Bobcats 20 to 18.   Quinnipiac shoot 29% including 4 out of 10 three point FGs and the Bobcats were able to hit all five of their free throw attempts; they were led by Umar Shannon with 9 points and Ike Azotam with 7 points.

The Bobcats again strike first in the second half and OSU is able to exchange baskets, but Quinnipiac's Ousmane Drame scores six quick points to help cut into the Beavers lead 43 to 35. The Beavs continued to push the inside game and with a Collier tip in were able to extend their largest lead to 12 points (47 to 35) at the 16:34 mark.   But some poor shooting and decisions by Oregon State combined with some aggressive Quinnipiac play saw that 12 point lead dwindle for the Beavs down to a 47 to 47 tie at the 12:51 mark.

The Bobcats then continued their 15 point run with a Kasim Chandler three-point play to give Quinnipiac its first lead since the first half.  Challe Barton finally is able to break the Bobcats run with a three point jumper to tie the game at 50 at the 11:29 mark.  It then is back to Brandt who is able to put the Beavs back up by three, 53 to 50. A spectacular Collier block on a Quinnipiac break-away lay-up helps keep the Beavs up by two with just over eight minutes left, which allows for Langston Morris-Walker score on a strong momentum changing three-point lay-up play to put the Beavs up 56 to 51.

Cooke added in a three point field goal at the 7:27 mark to put the Beavs up 59 to 51.  A flagrant foul though on Morris-Walker allows the Bobcats to get two free throws and possession, but after the made free throws Quinnipiac shoots a quick three point jumper that goes out of bounds on the top of the backboard, as such giving Coach Robinson a chance to get a rested Roberto Nelson back in to the game to get his own free throws to put the Beavs back up eight points.

The Beavs though are never able to totally shake the Bobcats, but a Nelson three point jumper with just over five minutes left puts the Beavs up 64 to 55 and helps OSU get more breathing space to close out the game.  Quinnipiac continued to play their high energy aggressive game to keep things interesting, including a five point run to cut into the Beavs lead to only be stopped by a Cooke basket to up the OSU lead back to seven.   Oregon State gets a key defensive steal by Barton and Cooke at just under a minute to go, and Barton is able to hit two key free throws with 41.7 seconds to play to put the Beavs up 71 to 64.   Cooke and Nelson then ice the game hitting four straight free throws to get the score to 75 to 66.

The Beavs hitting 7 of 8 free throws at the end to make the final 76-68 was crucial to even getting the win.

Oregon State finishes 46% from the field, 6 for 16 three point FGs, 36 rebounds, and 18 for 22 from the foul line .   Angus Brandt leads the OSU scorers with 21 points, Roberto Nelson adds in 19 points, and Hallice Cooke had a career high with 12 points (including hitting some very importantly timed shots).   Quinnipiac finishes at 34%, 6 for 21 three point FGs, 43 rebounds, and goes 12 for 16 from the foul line; the leading Bobcat scorers were Umar Shannon with 18 points and Ike Azotam with 17 points. Oregon State goes to 8 and 4, and Quinnipiac goes to 6 and 5.

It was not the most impressive of wins for Oregon State, but Quinnipiac is a scrappy team and plays a very physical game (they continued their streak of out-rebounding teams, which is now at 43).   In the end this game may not be a full indicator performance for conference play, but still was solid enough to give OSU some needed confidence going into a very tough opening road conference series against the 21st ranked Colorado Buffaloes at 11 and 2 and the 11 and 1 Utah Utes (who are also the current NCAA Division I leading FG % team).  That said though Devon Collier did have a bit of an off game and against Colorado and Utah he will need to score more than 11 points and grab more than just 3 rebounds.  Additionally the Beavs still seem to be looking for that fifth player to step up into the starting line-up.   At the same time though there were promising signs with Angus Brandt's strong return performance as well as the freshman Hallice Cooke's clutch play down the stretch.

Oregon State tips off against 20th ranked Colorado (11-2) this Thursday evening at 7:00 PST.

Here's Lamar Hurd and Roxy Bernstein with their video recap:

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