It was January 29th, 2012. It was the 336th. edition of the Civil War Men’s Basketball game. The Beavers, led by Head Coach Craig Robinson, were coming into the Civil War game in Eugene after sweeping the LA schools at home. The Beavers entered the game with a 13-7 overall record (3-5 in conference play). Here was the starting lineup for the Beavers on Jan. 29, 2012.
G Ahmad Starks So.
G Jared Cunninham Jr.
F Devon Collier So.
F Joe Burton Jr.
C Angus Brandt Jr.
The Ducks, entered the game on a 4 game winning streak. The Ducks 2011-12 season was Head Coach Dana Altman’s second year. Entering the game, the Ducks were hot. They had a 15-5 overall record (6-2 in the Pac-12). Here were the starters that evening for the Oregon Ducks.
F Jeremy Jacob Sr.
F E.J Singler Jr.
C Tony Woods Jr.
G Devoe Joseph Sr.
G Garrett Sim Sr.
The Ducks entered the game as one point favorites. After Gary Payton’s Senior year in 1989-90, The Beavers were 2-19 in Civil War Games in Eugene up until the 2011-12 season. The odds were definitely in Oregon’s favor. The media experts believed Oregon State was more athletic than the Ducks. However, the Ducks were clicking as a team. Under Altman, the Ducks were out executing their opponents. Another important factor, was the Beavers struggled on the road in Pac-12 play. The Beavers hadn’t won a conference road game since they beat USC 49-44 in 2010. Although the Beavers entered the game as slight underdogs, media experts expected a close game.
The 336th Civil War game started off with low scoring from both sides. Oregon held a 5-2 advantage after the first media timeout. The Beavers were able to tie the game at 5 thanks to a Jared Cunningham 3 pointer. However, the Ducks were able to seize back control of the game thanks to second chance opportunities. Oregon was able to hold a 13-5 advantage in second chance points in the first half. Beaver Nation remembers some of the teams from the Craig Robinson era that didn’t do particularly well with rebounding and defense.
After a Devoe Joseph jumper, the Ducks were able to seize their largest lead of the game at 24-14 with 4:11 left in the first half. It had looked like the Ducks were going to cruise to another Civil War victory in Eugene, but the Beavers were able to cut the Duck lead to 24-18 with 2:45 left in the 1st half. The Ducks were able to extend their lead to 26-18 on a Tony Woods Dunk. Sophomore Point Guard Ahmad Starks, was able to cut the Beaver deficit to 3, as he was able to hit a three pointer with 32 seconds in the first half, which made the score 26-23 Ducks. Oregon’s Carlos Emory tipped in a rebound with 3 seconds left in the first, which extended Oregon’s lead to 28 to 23 going into the half. The Beavers shot 21 percent in the first half.
It must have been a heck of a halftime speech by then Head Coach Craig Robinson because the Beavers were able to play, arguably one of their best halves of basketball of the 2011-12 season. However, the second half started out slow for the Beavers as the Ducks raced out to a 36-27 advantage with 17:11 left in the game. The Beavers were able to force a Duck timeout with 15:23 left, as Ahmad Starks and Jared Cunningham each hit a 3, and Cunningham added a layup after an Eric Moreland steal to cut the Duck lead to one.
The Beavers were finally able to tie the game at 39 with a pair of Cunningham free throws with 13:50 left, but that tie was short lived as the Ducks were able to regain the lead and quickly held a 6 point advantage at 45-39 with 13:13 left.
The Beavers were able to capitalize on Duck turnovers, as Ahmad Starks hit his third three-pointer of game to give the Beavs a 46-45 lead with 11:49 left, the first Beaver lead in the second half. The Beavers were able to make a 12-4 run to extend their lead to 58-49 with 7:34 left. After a three point play by Sophomore Roberto Nelson, the Beavers held their largest lead of the game at 61-49, which silenced the fans at Matthew Knight Arena.
The Ducks were able to pressure the Beavers and cut into the lead. The home crowd believed that the Ducks could comeback to win, but they were never able to regain the lead. Every time the Ducks cut into the lead, the Beavers would respond. The Ducks were able to cut the Beaver lead to 73-70 after an E.J Singler 3 with 50 seconds left. The Ducks had a chance to tie the game after Ahmad Starks turned the ball over, but EJ Singler’s three was no good, and the Beavers were able to ice the game with free throws. In addition, the Beavers shot 57 percent in the second half. The Beavers were victorious winning the game 76-71. It was their first win in Eugene since 2010, and their 3rd win in Eugene since 1990.
Jared Cunningham led the Beavers with 27 pts. and 7 rebs. Ahmad Starks added 15 pts. (4-8 from 3 point land). Devon Collier had 13 pts., and Angus Brandt had 10 pts. The Beavers forced the Ducks to turn the ball over 27 times.
The Beavers finished the season 21-15 overall and 7-11 in Pac-12 play. The Beavers were able to upset Washington, the Pac-12 no. 1 seed in the quarterfinals in the Pac-12 tournament 86-84. The Beavers fell one game short of playing for an NCAA bid in the Pac-12 final, when they lost to Arizona in the Pac-12 Semi Final, 61-72. The Beavers earned a bid to the CBI tournament and lost to Pac-12 foe Washington State in the CBI Semi Final. One interesting fact about the Beavers was that they were ranked no. 1 in the Pac-12 in scoring offense, but they were ranked dead last in the conference in scoring defense! Historically speaking, victories have been difficult to come by in Eugene for the Beavers. The 2011-2012 team showed Beaver Nation that it’s possible to win there.