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How Do You Slow Down a Cougar? Beavers Prepare to play Houston in CBI...

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If you're Coach Robinson, good luck with devising a game-plan to stop the Houston offense. Aside from Washington, the Beavers haven't played a team this season that scores more points per game than Houston does.

The Cougars, out Conference USA, score 76.8 points per game, making them the highest-scoring team in their conference. They don't shoot the ball particularly well, but the fact that they score a lot of points means they make a lot of shots, yet miss a lot of shots.

That style of play doesn't exactly translate into the brand of basketball that Coach Robinson and the Beavers play, which should provide for an interesting chemical reaction when the two teams meet in the beaker that is Gill Coliseum on Wednesday night. It will be a dogfight just to see who can control the tempo of the game.

The Beavers, on the other hand, play at an incredibly slow tempo and score a very low amount of points compared to teams around the nation. It's easier to measure from the bottom up, so we'll just say that the Beavers are #19th from the bottom in points per game, and seventh-from-last (yep, right there with Princeston and Washington State) in possessions per game. 

This will be a game of imposing wills, as Coach Robinson would like to say. Oregon State likes to use up every second of the 35-second shot clock, and I'm guessing that Houston doesn't. 

The other two things that Houston does incredibly well is force turnovers and not commit turnovers. They rank 23rd in the nation in assist to turnover ratio, meaning that they dish out 1.25 assists per turnover. Comparatively, the Beavers rank 94th in this category.

Houston is also very good from the charity stripe, where they lead Conference US at 72.5 percent.

The Cougars are led by Aubrey Coleman, who leads his team with just under twenty points per game, making him one of the Top 30 scorers in the nation. He was a first team all conference selection, and was twice the conference Player of the Week. He has a team-high 12 double doubles on the season, and also leads the club in steals. 

Fellow junior Kelvin Lewis is right on his heels, scoring 18 points per game. 

The Cougars can score-- no doubt. It will be a matter of Oregon State controlling the tempo Wednesday night, and not allowing Houston to get up and down the court to score points in flurries. It will be a tough task for the Beaver defense to handle.

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