Final Score: Oregon State 63, Arizona 55
The list of streaks broken over the last two seasons by Craig Robinson and the Oregon State basketball team grew tonight, as the Beavers beat the Arizona Wildcats at the McKale Center for the first time in 27 years. The last time an OSU team accomplished the feat was when Ralph Miller lead a team that featured Charlie Sitton, A.C. Green, and Danny Evans into the McKale Center on January 29, 1983 and won by 18.
For the Beavers, it's also the first sweep of Arizona since that same year. Oregon State defeated the Wildcats on a three-pointer by Lathen Wallace earlier this season.
On Saturday night, Coach Robinson's team built a six point halftime lead that became a ten point lead early in the second half, only to see it be quickly wiped away over the course of six minutes. Arizona was able to play at their desired tempo for that stretch, when Nic Wise, Kyle Fogg, and Lamont "Momo" Jones all got going offensively for the Wildcats. They would go on a 14-4 run to erase the 10-point Oregon State lead, but the Beavers maintained composure, even when the McKale Center crowd got back into the game.
"We're maturing as a team, and it comes down to making your free throws and taking care of the ball," Seth Tarver said after the win. "You have to be focused at the task at hand, and not get caught up in the moment."
Oregon State was focused and didn't get caught up in the mayhem inside the McKale Center, as they went on a quick 8-0 run after UA tied the game, surging back to a lead. The run featured three straight "and-one" calls, showing that the Beavers do have the toughness and resolve to make big baskets under pressure.
After regaining a sizable advantage, the Beavers were able to slow the game down and cruise to an 8-point win thanks to good enough foul shooting down the stretch. The Beavers didn't lead by any less than six points in the final eight minutes of the game.
Both teams had poor shooting percentages in the first half-- under 40-- but the Beavers took a six point lead into the break thanks to extra opportunities created on the offensive glass, and a great play by Josh Tarver on Oregon State's final possession of the half.
Getting possession of the ball with :51 remaining in the half, the Beavers got Roeland Schaftenaar an open look at the basket, but he missed the shot-- only for Seth Tarver to collect the offensive rebound. The Beavers were then able to run another offensive play with just under thirty seconds to play. Seth got the shot that the Beavers wanted out of the set, but missed-- but brother Josh was right there to collect the miss and score a lay-in off the glass as time expired.
"That was a heads up play because we had missed the shot that we worked to get, which was open," Coach Robinson said. "Taking it to six points right there at the half was a demoralizing play."
The Beavers came out of the gate quickly in the second half with a basket by Cunningham, a smooth back-cut layin from Omari to Calvin, and then a three-point basket by Lathen Wallace. This gave Oregon State the ten point lead they would eventually lose, but in a game of runs, this was a good way to start the second half.
The Beavers are usually the team that is forced to make a miraculous second half run, only to have the opposing team find their second wind and make a run of their own. But tonight, the Beavers stayed the course and was the team to push ahead when the score was evened.
Roeland Schaftenaar lead the team with 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting. See Coach Robinson's comments after the break for some interesting thoughts in Roeland's performance. Calvin was fifty percent from the field and finished with 13, and Seth had 11 points and five assists.
As a team, the Beavers shot 43 percent, a number that went up 18 points from Thursday's laughable shooting performance. Arizona shot 39 percent in the game.
Arizona head coach Sean Miller was quick to give the Beavers credit, but he obviously felt like his team wasn't motivated to play and was perhaps looking past the Beavers.
"From a coaching standpoint, this is probably the worst I've ever felt," Miller said. "It's our job to get our guys ready and make sure everyone is on the same page. Today, that didn't happen. It's a disappointing as can be, especially from an athletic perspective."
Miller credited the Beavers for putting Thursday's loss behind them and handling the McKale Center crowd.
"Our crowd is really spectacular. They really tried to push us to a win, but we really had no answer."
With the win, the Beavers move to 5-7 in the Pac-10, and 11-13 overall. Arizona falls to 13-12 overall, and 7-6 in Pac-10 play. The Wildcats now have a full week to prepare for Arizona State, while the Beavers return home to face the Bay Area schools this week.
--Jake | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Oregon State guard Seth Tarver
On the win...
It means a lot. It's crazy to think that I wasn't born the last time the Beavers won here. It's a big win for us, and that's also the second time we've beat them this season. That's the first time we've swept them in a long time too.
The chemistry with Josh in this game...
Well, sometimes when you're in the heat of the moment-- this is a great environment, the fans are really loud-- you can't really hear the coach so you just have to play. When our instincts take over, we come from the same family so I guess that helps us be on the same page. All you can really do is just play when you can't hear the coach. Just gotta go out there and play.
On Josh's basket going into halftime..
It was definitely huge for momentum, and we were already on the uprise for momentum. But that helped us out and helped us take that into the second half.
Five assists on the night, talk about your court vision...
Jared Cunningham had some nice cuts tonight that I hit him on, especially when they were in the zone. We practice it all the time, so it's almost second nature and I can almost do it with my eyes closed if we're doing it right. It just makes it easy when guys are cutting and moving.
What are the emotions like?
We got a big win against Oregon, then we lost to ASU. But overall, we're feeling up. I know this season has had a lot of ups and downs. We played great defense against Arizona State, but we just didn't shoot very well on offense There were some positives form that game. Our defense is solid, it's really just our defense that needs to be more consistent.
On your defense...
I didn't get any steals this game, but I know that I helped my teammates get some steals, which is always good. I've played this (defensive system) last year and this year and I've seen a lot of different strategies teams have, so whatever they do I've usually seen it before.
On the lead you built and had erased. How did you hold your guts and push the lead back out...
We're maturing as a team, and it comes down to just making free throws and taking care of the ball, and just being focused on the task at hand and not getting caught up in the moment and get nervous. We've been here before and lots of times we haven't won, but now we are winning.
Head Coach Craig Robinson:
On the game, and the effort from start to finish.
The effort was monumental. The toughness was monumental. There was a time there when they came back like a bulldozer and almost knocked us over. Our guys stood there and did the things that got them to the lead. We could have made it a bit easier. We could have made some more foul shots and not fouled them, things like that. But this place is hard to win in, and it's hard enough without the 27 year hiatus. This is one of the best home courts in the history of college basketball. These guys have a lot to be proud of. I was very, very pleased and very happy. Hopefully we can use this and springboard onto our homestand.
On having the ten point lead erased by Arizona's run...
We're usually in that position, where we have to come back from behind... and then the other team get their second wind and push the lead back out. It was just good to see our guys hang tough and realize that we have a little run in us. The execution and watching the guys cut back door, and cut hard was nice. Arizona got to play a bit more physically because this is their home court, and we played through it. We made hard layups while we were getting fouled-- it was a treat to see.
The play right before halftime...
That was a heads up play because we had missed the shot that we worked to get, which was open. Josh runs in there and gets an offensive rebound and scores it. He didn't have to score it. Taking it to six points right there at the half is a demoralizing play.
On Roeland... He's had two of his best games this season versus Arizona...
I don't think it's an Arizona thing. I thought that when he got popped in the nose, he was so dazed that he relaxed. And he started playing really well after he got hit in the nose. He's becoming more agressive, and that looked more like the Roeland from the end of the season last year., running our offense at the top. He had two assits, no turnovers, but I think he did a lot to start what we were trying to do in our offense.
Court vision... Playing the game in a loud environment when the guys had to rely on pure basketball instincts...
That's how we want to play anyway. We try to get them to use our offesne as a framework. Once we got a little bit of a lead and Arizona had to scramble, we started just playing basketball and looking for cutters and opportunities. That's how we'd like to play all the time.
On putting another streak to futility...
The funny thing is that I'm in the locker room afterword and we're enjoying the celebration. I had completely forgotten that this was a sweep. That's how hard it is when you've sunk down to the depths. We have to remember the good things that have happened around here. Sweeping Arizona is a big deal, and it's something that these guys can be proud of for the rest of their lives. But as you know, I want to win more games. We've got six more games left, and I hope they're all as exciting as this one.
On needing support from the fans during the upcoming homestand...
We need that. Having 14,000 people in this building, this is something else. If we can get Gill filled on Thursday and Saturday, these guys will put on a show.