The casual observer would have thought that it was Saint Patrick's Day Thursday night at Haas Pavilion with all the pinching going on after Oregon State's 69-65 win over Cal, but it wasn't. That was Craig Robinson, pinching himself after what was one of Oregon State's better wins in recent memory.
In twenty years, Coach Robinson will probably look back on this week as one of the best of his life. I'm not completely up-to date on the personal life of Oregon State's first year head coach, but come on. It doesn't get much better than this.
And the week isn't over yet.
First, Robinson attended the Presidential Inauguration of his brother-in-law in Washington D.C. His yawn on national TV suggested that he might have been a bit (okay, a lot) tired from early-morning practices and a cross-country plane ride, but he made it back to Berkeley in time to meet his team for a Wednesday-afternoon walkthrough.
"I felt a lot of pressure on this game and on the guys for a lot of reasons." Coach Robinson said after the win. "They had so many distractions this week, even those guys didn't travel with me to Washington D.C., they were with me in spirit. They could have easily, easily, taken the week off. It's like having a substitute teacher-- it takes a level of maturity and teamwork for them to have gone to work when I wasn't there."
In Berkeley, Robinson coached his team to their second Pac-10 victory of the season, the first road win since January of 2007, when the Beavers beat Arizona State at Wells-Fargo Arena in Tempe, Arizona.
The win boosts his team's confidence, which was already noticeably higher than it was a year ago when the Beavers went 0-18 in conference play. Now, with two Pac-10 wins under their belt, nobody will take the Beavers lightly.
The Beavers will be in Palo Alto on Saturday, where they'll try to pick up their third conference win of the year.
Roeland Schaftenaar set a career-high with 22 points in the game. Calvin Haynes was right on his heels with 21 points-- it seemed like these two were trading big shots all night long. Roeland was 4-of-4 from behind the arc, while Haynes was 7-of-11 shooting with seven assists.
Just as important as Schaftenaar and Haynes' offensive performances was Seth Tarver's defensive performance. The Beavers had six steals in the game, four of them by Seth.
Cal pushed the lead to 11 in the second half at one point, but Oregon State rallied back.
"Seth was the leader of the defense at the top of the 1-3-1," Robinson said. "He is credited with four steals, but he also caused other people to get steals. I bet he was involved with all six of the steals we had in the game"
Oregon State's 1-3-1 forced Cal to take deep, outside shots-- a shot they can make more than any other team in the nation-- and the Bears did convert on some big three-point baskets. However, the Beavers wore the Cal offense down, as Oregon State outscored the Bears 16-4 in the last nine and a half minutes of the game. The Bears were 11 of 24 from behind the arc.
Jerome Randle, as expected, led Cal with 20 points. Jamal Boykin and Patrick Christopher each had 15. Theo Robertson, who led the nation in three-point percentage coming into the game, was just 1-of-5 from beyond the arc. He finished with just four points.