In Roberto Nelson's first counting game as the replacement for Jared Cunningham in the starting lineup, the junior put up 22 points to lead Oregon State to a 19 point, opening night victory.
Final Score: Oregon State 102, Niagara 83
After a four-game exhibition swing through Europe, a scrimmage against Nevada, and another exhibition against Lewis & Clark, Oregon State finally got to play a real game on Friday night at Gill Coliseum. The result was a success, a dominating 102-83 victory over the visiting Niagara Purple Eagles. The game was the first of two in the 2K Sports Classic Corvallis Regional.
The Beavers let the Eagles know early on that an upset wouldn't be in store on opening night by jumping out to a 30-20, and later, a 40-28 lead in front of the 3,206 fans at Gill Coliseum.
Perhaps the most concerning result of the game was Oregon State's extremely poor perimeter defense. The team looked downright slow in help and rotation situations, and Niagara continually made the Beavers pay by knocking down its shots from beyond the arc. The first 18 Eagle points came on three-pointers, just to show you how bad it was at the beginning. Luckily for Craig Robinson's bunch, Niagara's defense was just as slow and lifeless throughout the game.
While Niagara was staying in the game on the offensive end of the court, the defense had no answer for the inside-out punch of Angus Brandt and Ahmad Starks. Junior combo guard Roberto Nelson led all scorers with 22 points, 14 of which came in the first half. This is where Brandt and Starks did most of their work as well, no surprise when you see the Beavers took a 53 spot into the locker rooms at halftime.
Brandt Was Firing On All Cylinders Friday Night (credit: Andy Wooldridge)
15 of the 16 Beaver players on the roster saw game action, with only Daniel Gomis sitting out. It is unknown if he didn't play due to a tweaked knee suffered last week, or something else entirely.
The second half bounced around the 11 to mid-twenties point range, with the dagger belonging to a Nelson three to put the Beavers up 75-55 with 12:25 remaining. Robinson began emptying the bench a few minutes later, with intriguing freshmen like Victor Robbins, Langston Morris-Walker, and Jarmal Reid all seeing minutes down the stretch.
Junior guard Marvin Jordan led the Purple Eagles, with 15 points in defeat.
The surprise of the night belonged to Eric Moreland, who finished the night with 14 points. For once, Easy-E didn't look rushed or out of control when he had the ball. Calm and collected, Moreland scored with efficiency and consistency throughout the game.
Jullian Powers capped the night off with a coast-to-coast run that resulted in a layup, bringing the final tally to 102. Oregon State goes to 1-0 on the season with the victory, while Niagara dropped to 0-1.
For fans not attending the game, we got our first taste of how college hoops would be handled on the Pac-12 Networks this season. JB Long and Lamar Hurd provided great commentary as usual, and the only big mistake was spelling Joe Burton's name wrong in the starting lineup list.
Next up for the Beavers is their final Corvallis Regional game against New Mexico State on Sunday night, while the Purple Eagles will face St. Francis (PA) on Tuesday in Lewiston.