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OSU 57, UO 54: The Morning After

We're just a few hours away from the biggest corporate business meeting football game in all of sports, but first let's revisit last night's win at Legendary Gill. 

First, let's get to some game stories.

The Oregonian's Paul Buker asked the question everyone was thinking after last night's win put the Beavers at 10-10 on the year.

Is this Oregon State team, one year removed from the ignominy of going 0-18 in the Pacific-10 Conference, capable of playing in the post-season?

"Oh, geez!" was Robinson's response to the question. "Don't you understand the power of the whammy? ... If I say it, it's not going to happen."

Robinson said the Beavers aren't getting ahead of themselves. He won't allow it.

"We go one day at a time."

The National Invitational Tournament, which selects the best 32 teams who don't qualify for the NCAA Tournament, could be a possibility for the Beavers. Oregon State's last post-season appearance came in the 2004-2005 NIT under Jay John, when they lost to Cal State Fullerton by two points in overtime at Gill Coliseum.

David Lucas was the star in that game, scoring 26 points in the losing effort. Could a guy like Calvin Haynes, or Roeland Schaftenaar, be rememered years from now for what they did to turn an 0-18 team into a post-season team?

There's still a lot of work to be done, but it's something that begs to be asked as the Beavers reached .500 with the Civil War win.

Even Oregonian Pac-10 columnist Mike Tokito hints that this Oregon State run feels like more than a tease:

Maybe this latest Oregon State basketball renaissance will be like so many before it -- a mere tease of hope for the Beavers' long-suffering fans.

In 18 seasons since the Beavers last made the NCAA Tournament, there have been occasional hints of a turnaround -- a quick start under Eddie Payne here, a winning streak under Ritchie McKay there, and most tantalizingly, an NIT berth under Jay John.

But somehow, all led back to the same result: a once-proud program -- which under Ralph Miller won four Pacific-10 Conference titles and made the NCAA Tournament eight times -- slid right back into the doldrums.

Was what happened at Gill Coliseum on Saturday another ray of hope that will soon go dark? It's too soon to say, but there's no denying something special went on in OSU's 57-54 win over Oregon.

On the Duck side of things, Oregon beat writer John Hunt credits the Beavers for shutting down Tajuan Porter in the second half, after he exploded for 19 points in the first:

Porter's 19th point came on a three-pointer with 2:29 left that gave Oregon a 33-21 lead. From that point on, OSU outscored Oregon 36-21, thanks largely to one simple adjustment by the Beavers.

After Omari Johnson hit a three-pointer at the end of the half to bring the Beavers within five at 35-30, OSU coach Craig Robinson re-emphasized the game plan: Play the 1-3-1 zone defense, but keep one guy on Porter at all times.

Porter, harassed by at least one player constantly, hit one of five shots in the second half and finished with 22 points. Without their main offensive weapon, the Ducks scored 19 points after halftime and lost to the Beavers for just the fifth time in the last 31 Civil War matchups.

The adjustment was necessary after Porter reeled off five first half three-pointers. The Ducks attempted more second-half three point field goals as a team, but they didn't fall, largely do to Oregon State's agressive defense in the second half. The Ducks were 7 of 10 in the first half from three-point range, and just 3 of 13 in the second. 

The Beavers matched the Ducks in three-point shooting, as both teams made ten over the course of the game, with no shot being more timely than Roeland Schaftenaar's banked three with two minutes left in the game. 

"It was about time we had one of those go for us,'' Robinson said.

For more on the Duck perspective, head over to Addicted to Quack, where the zeppelin has imploded

--Jake (jake.buildingthedam@gmail.com)