After a grueling pair of losses to Utah and Colorado, Oregon State needed a big win headed into Friday’s game against Arizona. The Beavers delivered their biggest win of the season with an 83-80 victory over the ninth ranked Wildcats, capped off by a Jordan Pope buzzer beating three.
Pope gave the Beavers the first points of the game, with a jump shot after an Arizona turnover, but Arizona took control of the game shortly after that. 5 straight points by Caleb Love gave the Wildcats a solid lead. Oregon State struggled to stay competitive in the game, with the Arizona lead growing as high as 12 after a Motiejus Krivas layup.
Of course, the early Arizona lead wouldn’t matter, because later on this happened.
As the first half wound down, the Beavers began to chip away at the Arizona lead. Michael Rataj and Christian Wright hit clutch shots to get the Wildcat lead back into the single digits, though Caleb Love kept finding ways to keep the Arizona lead comfortable. In the final two minutes of the period, Jordan love hit a three to cut the Arizona lead to 7, and then a pair of free throws to get it down to five, though free throws from Caleb Love and Motiejus Krivas would get the Arizona lead up to 8, 44-36, before halftime.
Of course, none of that would matter because this was about to happen an hour later.
After a Caleb Love layup to open the half, Oregon State went on a short run, with Tyler Bilodeau and Jordan Pope getting the Beaver deficit down to 4. Arizona managed to stay in front, but they struggled to put the Beavers away, and with 11:22 left in the second half a Jordan Pope three pointer tied the game.
Oregon State’s three point shooting was light’s out in the second half, a sign of things to come.
The Wildcats got the lead back, but a few minutes later Tyler Bilodeau gave the Beavers the lead with another three. Arizona managed to take the lead back, but then a jumper from Bilodeau followed by back to back threes from Pope, Michale Rataj and Bilodeau gave the Beavers a 9 point lead, their biggest of the night.
With 2 minutes left in the game Caleb Love did his damndest to try and get the Wildcats back into the game. He hit a three with an and one to get Arizona within 5, then a pair of free throws from Keshad Johnson got the Wildcats within three. Jordan Pope served up a pair of free throws to respond, but a quick pair of buckets from Keshad Johnson and Pelle Larsson got Arizona within 2, and then a pair of free throws from Larsson tied the game.
The Beavers had 11 seconds to avoid overtime.
By this point, you know how this ends.
The win improves the Beavers record to 10-9 overall, and 2-6 in the conference. Jordan Pope of course led Oregon State in scoring with his biggest game as a Beaver. 31 points and 5 assists. Tyler Bilodeau also delivered a magnificent game with 22 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Michael Rataj also finished in double digits with 12 points, 1 rebound and 1 assist.
The Beavers will be back in action on Saturday, with the Arizona State Sun Devils coming to Gill Coliseum. Tip off is set for 4:00 PM PT. Be sure to get down to Gill to cheer the team on. They’ve earned it.
Let’s watch that one last time.