Stanford (15-11, 6-7) at Oregon St. (13-13, 3-10) / Gill Coliseum / 8 PM PST / ESPNU / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
Oregon St. returns home for the last series of the regular season, starting with a visit from Stanford. It's yet another late night start, but at least its a now days rare "normal" Thursday-Saturday weekend.
The last time the Beavers and Cardinal hooked up in Corvallis the result was the epic, if un-elegant, quadruple overtime game early last January that both teams failed to win on several occasions before Stanford finally won 103-101. Even though Oregon St. leads the all-time series with Stanford 71-65, and holds a 37-25 edge in Corvallis, the 4 overtime win started a 3 game Stanford winning streak in the series. The Cardinal won the rematch 87-82 in Palo Alto, and then when the Beavers ventured south again 2 1/2 weeks ago, back on Feb. 3, Stanford won again, this time 81-73.
The Cardinal put the game away with 8 consecutive made free throws, but it was the 14 3 pointers they sank (out of 25 attempts) that won the game for Stanford, as Oregon St. made only 5 3 pointers.
A lot of the damage was done by Chasson Randall, who sank 4 of the 3 pointers, on his way to matching Oregon St.'s Roberto Nelson, who hit 8 of 14 shots, for game high scoring honors, as both posted 20 point nights.
Joe Burton, who as Oregon St.'s lone senior, is playing his last week in Corvallis (Oregon St. finishes the regular season with 3 road games), had a 17 point, 10 rebound double double in Palo Alto, which about matched the Cardinal's Josh Huestis, who finished with his own 16 point, 13 rebound double double. Expect a similar duel tonight.
Since the season's first Stanford game, Oregon St. has been alternating losses and wins, and if that pattern holds up, tonight will be a Beaver win, after losing 72-62 last Saturday night at Washington.
The Cardinal have dropped 3 of their last 4 since beating the Beavers, including getting swept off their own floor last weekend by the LA schools, as USC edged them 65-64, and then UCLA outscored them 88-80 last Saturday.
Based on what happened in Palo Alto, the Beavers could use a few more 3 pointers from Ahmad Starks, who became the Oregon St. career leader in made 3 pointers in Seattle, when he sank his 181st, passing Chris Stephens. Starks will be honored at tonight's game for his record.
Both teams probably would have to win the Pac-12 Tourney to make it to the NCAA Tournament, though Stanford has a bit more wiggle room. Both have a lot of work to do to even earn a first round bye in the conference tournament. But the NIT and CBI are still attainable goals, and a win tonight would be a significant step in that direction.