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Beavers Take CBI Championship in Game 3, 81-73

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By Brian Kanof, <a href="http://cbi2009.com/">cbi2009.com</a>
By Brian Kanof, cbi2009.com

Using a gutsy performance from senior Rickey Claitt, the Beavers culminated a three week journey through the College Basketball Invitational with a 81-73 win over the UTEP Miners on Friday night in El Paso, Texas. The win marks the first post-season tournament victory of any kind for the Oregon State basketball program.  The Beavers finish the season with an 18-18 record, the most wins an Oregon State team has picked up since Gary Payton's senior season. 

Claitt, playing in his final game as an Oregon State Beaver, finished the game 8-of-9 from the field, 5-of-6 from three point range, and 7-of-8 from the free trhows line and scored a season-best 28 points. 

Lathen Wallace was 3-of-5 from three and finished with 14 points-- Roeland Schaftenaar was 4-of-7 from the field, collecting seven rebounds and dishing out seven assists along the way. 

Calvin Haynes, who seemingly carried the Beavers through parts of the regular season, played just nine minutes in the game, converting on 1-of-5 shots from the field to finish with two points. But it didn't matter-- Rickey was on fire.

"This is extremely special," Rickey said after the game. "I told coach that if we made it to a post-season tournament I'd do everything in my will to win it for him, and myself because it's my last year. And for Corvallis, because the community deserves this and a winning team, and to have a championship, so I just didn't want UTEP to take it."

Schaftenaar, who was named the CBI Most Valuable Player, played all 40 minutes of the game for the first time of his career. 

"It means a lot, and it really hasn't sunk in yet. It's like wow... the season's over, and we won something." Roeland said after the game. 

The crowd had latched on to Roeland beginning in the opening minutes of Game 1 when his hand ended up in a UTEP players face while chasing a rebound. Every time he touched the ball, the crowd let him know about it.

"I got booed for about two hours straight today, but we had fun," said an elated Schaftenaar.

Craig Robinson was impressed with Schaftenaar's toughness: "How about Roeland... there's a guy who didn't play much last year, and here he is at the end of his junior year as the MVP of a national postseason tournament. That kid has toughened up through this season to the point that we played a tough team and he was the toughest guy on the court."

It was true, as the Beavers pulled away from UTEP late in the first half, and maintained the lead throughout the second half. 

Stefon Jackson led UTEP with 26 points. Arnet Moultrie, who probably has a future in the NBA , scored 19, and Randy Culpepper added 16. The Miners finish the season at 23-14.

After a stellar shooting performance in Game 1 of the series in Corvallis, the Beavers came through with an even better performance in Game 3. Oregon State shot better from behind the arc than they did from in front of it, as they shot 54 percent (6-of-11) in the first half, and 75 percent (6-of-8) in the second.

The Beavers shot 57 percent from the field in the game, and 63 percent from behind the arc. The Beavers also made 17-of-26 free throws, a number of which helped the Beavers finish off the Miners near the end of the game.

The Beavers are scheduled to return to Portland International Airport at 6:50, and should be back at Gill Coliseum no earlier than 8:45. 

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