Eric Moreland's length and rebounding might be key for Oregon St. as they face Colorado, and the nation's leading rebounder in the Buffs' Andre Roberson. - (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)
Colorado (15-7, 5-5) at Oregon St. (12-11, 2-8) / Gill Coliseum / 6 PM PST / Pac-12 Channel / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
Oregon St. wraps up the weekend with a Sunday night showdown against Colorado.
The Buffs trailed Oregon all game long Thursday night, only leading after Andre Roberson's game winning dunk with 23 seconds left. Colorado's 48-47 win snapped the Ducks's 20 game home winning streak at Matt Court, third longest in Oregon program history. The last team to beat the Ducks on their own court was Oregon St. in January of last year.
Roberson, who leads the nation in rebounding, with 11.6 boards per game, led Colorado, with a 10 point, 13 rebound double double in the low scoring contest, where both teams shot only 36% and change.
Spencer Dinwiddie, who leads Colorado in scoring and assists, with 14.7 points and 2.7 assists per game, had 8 points and 4 points against Oregon.
Colorado comes into Gill having won 3 of their last 4 games.
The Beavers played one of their better games of the season, albeit against the now last place team in the Pac-12, Wednesday night. Oregon St. easily dispatched Utah 82-64, snapping a 3 game losing streak in the process.
The Beavers got huge nights from both Roberto Nelson and Joe Burton. Nelson led everyone, with 26 points, his third game in a row scoring at least 20 points. Burton posted a 17 point, 10 assist double double, and also added 7 rebounds. It was the first back to back double double at the collegiate level ever for Burton. Eric Moreland was a monster on the boards, with 15, and just missed another double double, with 9 points.
Prior to joining the Pac-12 last year, there was little history between the programs, which had only encountered each other 8 times in over 70 years, with the Buffs winning 6 of those meetings.
Last year, the teams split, with both schools winning rather handily on their own floor. Colorado claimed an 82-60 win at altitude in Boulder, with elevation being a factor, in early February.
Roberson dominated that day, with a game high 16 points, and a game high 15 rebounds. Current Buff Askia, then a bench player, was second in both categories for Colorado, with 15 points and 7 boards.
Devon Collier and Jared Cunningham both had 12 point nights, but Cunningham, Ahmad Starks, and Nelson were never able to adjust to the thin air, and shot a combined 7 of 29 from the field. As a result, it was only a matter of time before the Buffs trampled the Beavs.
Oregon St. won the rematch 83-69 in the final game of the regular season. The Buffs would not lose again until the second round of the NCAA tournament, after running off 4 wins in the Pac-12 tournament to claim the conference championship in their first season as a member.
Starks, who again struggled against the Buffs, and was shut out in the first half, finally found the range, and may as well have had a buffalo gun, putting up a game high 18 points after the break to lead the way to the win. Booker led the Buffs, with 15 points off the bench, but Burton also had a big day off the Oregon St. bench, with 10 points and 7 rebounds.
Booker can be a streaky shooter, and one key for the Beavers tonight will be to keep pressure on him, and not let him get into a shooting rhythm. The other obvious key is getting position on Roberson and then keeping it. Moreland might be the single biggest factor in the game, with his length and rebounding ability as an offset for Roberson.
A win would also be a big boost for Oregon St., with 5 of their remaining 7 games in the regular season on the road, starting with a trip to the state of Washington later this week.