Howard University (3-8) at Oregon St. (7-2) / Gill Coliseum / 7 PM PST / Pac-12 Channel / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
Oregon St. hosts Howard University from Washington, D.C., and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, only 1 member of the 13 team league currently has even a .500 record, tonight on "Wells Fargo Toy Drive" night, where you can get a ticket to the game for $1 if you also bring a new unwrapped toy for any boy or girl.
The Bison are coming off a 10-21 season, and a 6-10 MEAC campaign, but after a slow start, in which they lost their first 5 games, and 7 of their first 8, are on the upswing of late, and have won 2 of their last 3 games, including 55-50 win over American University back on Dec. 4, and more recently, Howard extinguished the Liberty Flames 60-53 last Saturday.
Howard was led by 6'7" senior forward Mike Phillips' game high 19 points. Phillips, who played all 40 minutes, also had the most minutes against Oregon St. in last year's contest, in which he posted 8 points, and also had a game high 8 rebounds. Tonight's game and last year's are the Corvallis end of a 2 for 1 game exchange between the schools that has seemingly suited the purposes of both athletic departments.
Phillips is one of three current Bison starters, along with 6'5" sophomore swing-man Prince Okoroh, who co-led Howard with 13 points against Oregon St. last year, and 5'11" sophomore guard Simuel Frazier. But their leading scorer this season, 6'3" senior guard Calvin Thompson wasn't even with the Bison when they dropped into Gill Coliseum for last year's game. Thompson is averaging 15.7 points per game, and he isn't a big 3-point shooter, averaging fewer than 4 taken per game, and less than 1 a night made.
Last year, Oregon St. dominated the winter-break meeting with the Bison, rolling to a 93-72 win behind 20 point nights by 3 Beavers, led by Ahmad Starks, who hit 5 of 6 from 3 point range, and posted 22 points. Angus Brandt hit 9 of 11 shots from the field, and added 21 points, and Roberto Nelson, who came off the bench to add 20 more points.
Starks has of course been struggling of late, going 0 for 5 in each of Oregon St.'s last 2 games, and Brandt is out for the season, rehabbing a surgically repaired ligament in his right knee.
Nelson, on the other hand, tied his career high, with 34 points, against Chicago St., making 6 of 7 from 3 point range (the miss was actually an "entry pass shot" to Joe Burton), and 10 of 14 overall, as the Beavers defeated the Cougars 87-77, after opening as large as a 23 point lead before head coach Craig Robinson elected to go mostly with the younger players, saving minutes for Burton, and sitting Starks, who has been battling a cold, down for most of the game, especially in the second half.
Nelson has 60 points in his last 2 games at Gill, and the Beavers are riding a 3 game winning streak, albeit against very weak opposition. Oregon St. is undefeated at home so far this season.
If your not taking a toy to the game, here's the place to assess the Beavers' progress in the preseason. Or if you do go, drop in post game to share your experiences.