Radford Shoots Down Oregon St.

Eric Moreland had a career high 23 points, and Hallice Cooke did too, but it wasn't enough for Oregon St. to overcome Radford. - (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

Highlanders use 3 point barrage to lead Beavers wire to wire for 96-92 win in CBI first round.

Oregon St.'s season is over, after Radford, from the Big South Conference, used red-hot early shooting, especially from 3 point range, to build as large as a 15 point lead, and then hold off repeated rallies to claim a 4 point win.

The Highlanders needed it all to overcome career highs by both Eric Moreland and Hallice Cooke, both of whom had 23 points, and a game high 26 points by Roberto Nelson, the Pac-12's leading scorer.

But Ya Ya Anderson led a withering outside shooting exhibition that, coupled with repeated run outs that caught Oregon St. out of position defensively, and built a lead too large to ever overcome.

Anderson hit 5 of 7 3s in a first half that saw Radford make 9 of 15 from behind the arc, and finished with 7 made 3s out of 11 attempts, and 23 points, though Oregon St. did hold him to only 6 points in the second half.

The Highlanders served notice with a 4-0, and 11-2 run to start the game, and though Angus Brandt got off to a fast start, with 11 points in the first 12 1/2 minutes, the Beavers found themselves down by a double digit margin less than half way through the first half, when Anderson made his 3rd 3 pointer in 3 tries, which put Radford up 32-20.

"I don't want to take anything away from Radford, they came ready to play, and we knew they would," Oregon St. head coach Craig Robinson said. "By the time we were ready to play, the game was out of our control, and we had to fight all night to get back into it."

The Highlanders took a 50-35 lead 3:45 before half time, their largest lead of the game, and took a 12 point 57-45 lead to the locker room.

It was by far the worst defensive first half of the season by Oregon St., 12 points more than the 45 that Oregon got on them for the previous high. Radford shot over the Oregon St. 1-3-1 zone almost at will.

An R.J. Price runner to open the second half opened a 14 point lead, but Oregon St. answered with a 12-2 run to pull within 61-57 less than 4 minutes into the half, as the Beavers hit all 4 of their first 4 shots after the break.

But Radford responded with an 8-0 run, capped by back to back 3s by Anderson, for all of his second half scoring, and Oregon St. was down 12 again, behind 69-57 with 12 minutes to go.

Moreland made his first 7 shots, and first 3 free throws, Cooke drained a 3 pointer, and Nelson, despite playing with 3 fouls scored to get the margin back into single digits, but as happened time and again, Price put down another 3 pointer, and it was an 11 point deficit again as the clock rolled under 12 minutes to go.

The Beavers kept clawing away, and a Cooke 3 cut the deficit to 5 points, but Rashun Davis rebuilt the lead to 7 with 9 minutes left.

A 4-0 Oregon St. run got the Beavers within 3 points, the closest they had been since it had been 4-2, with still over 8 minutes left, but Radford re-extended the lead to 8 with 4:43 to go, when they made their first free throws of the game.

That's notable, as the Highlanders got absolutely homered by the officiating. The Beavers were in the double bonus with over 7 minutes left, and those first made free throws weren't just the first ones the Highlanders made, they were the first ones they TOOK in the game.

Moreland picked up his 4th foul with 5 1/2 minutes left, and when Price hit the Highlanders' 13th 3 of the game, the most the Beavers allowed anyone all season, it started a 7-0 Radford run that reopened the lead to double digits, going up 89-79 with 4:19 left.

Cooke's steal led to the basket that yielded his career high, and Nelson's 3 pointer cut the deficit to 7 points. A 6-0 Oregon St. run made it a 4 point game with 1:13 left.

Nelson's 2 + 1 made it a 3 point game again with 25.4 seconds left, and his layup, which would be his last basket as a Beaver, cut the deficit to 2 points with 8.6 seconds left.

But Davis made the second of 2 free throws to force the Beavers to have to take a 3 pointer, and Nelson fired up a 3 that was too long, coming from just over mid-court, and came too soon, with still 4 seconds left when he launched it.

It missed, and Javonte Green grabbed the rebound, drew the foul, and sank the game clinching free throw that made for the 4 point final margin.

Oregon St.'s season is over, and the Beavers dropped back to .500 for the season, finishing 16-16.

Radford improved to 22-12, and will play Old Dominion Monday, after the Monarchs defeated South Dakota St.'s Jackrabbits 72-65 tonight.

Brandt was held scoreless in the second half, after his 14 in the first half, and the Beavers played without senior forward Devon Collier, who sprained his ankle in the Pac-12 Tournament loss last week against Oregon. Oregon St. also got almost no minutes from Daniel Gomis, who also went down with a sprained ankle in practice, and wasn't able to be effective when coach Robinson tried him.

In addition to Anderson's 23 points, both Green and Price posted 20 point nights, Davis added 14, and Jalen Carethers came off the Radford bench for 10.

The Highlanders cooled down after 69%, and 60% from 3 point range in the first half, but still shot 57% for the game, and their 13 of 24 3 point shooting, was the difference, as Oregon St. actually shot 59% from the field, one of their better nights of the year. But the Beavers were only 6 of 16 from beyond the arc.

Beyond the 4 Beavers in double digits, Malcolm Duvivier added 6 points, and the other 5 Oregon St. players to play combined for 0 points.

The seniors who wanted one more game are probably going to all be frustrated with how it turned out.

Moreland had a double double, with a game high 11 rebounds, but the much shorter Radford lineup still out-rebounded Oregon St. 29-28.

It was the first ever win for Radford over a Pac-12 team in 3 tries, having previously lost to Colorado and Washington St.

In addition to losing the game, Oregon St. also lost a huge amount of money on the evening, having paid $35,000 to host the game, not including game expenses. Ticket sales needed to be around 2,500 to break even, and the announced combined attendance and ticket distribution of 1,351 during the middle of finals week didn't come close, especially considering that the first 1,000 students got in for free, and that number included the band as well. Financially, the comeback coming up short probably was the best thing that could have happened, as Oregon St. would have been on the hook for another $50,000 for Monday's quarterfinal, during spring break.

It was the smallest crowd of the season for men's basketball, barely larger than the smallest ever, 1,221 for the game against Mercer a few years ago.

And that attendance included some unused tickets donors paid for but didn't use. In terms of actual bodies, there were more people in Gill for the women's snow game, when people not living on campus were told not to drive to the game for safety reasons. Even the state girls' high school tournament consolation game at 9 AM last Saturday drew a larger head count.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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