Oregon State took its most lopsided loss of the season in Maples Pavillon against a Stanford team hungry to secure a spot in the NCAA Tournament. There's a few anecdotes that help tell the story of how the Cardinal were able to add a 27-point win over the Beavers to their resumé.
Oregon State made 5 field goals in the 2nd half. On the night, they were outrebounded 46-24. Jarmal Reid and Cheikh N'diaye both fouled out.
However, the picture painted by those facts isn't quite accurate. The beginning of the game went mostly according to plan for Wayne Tinkle's Beavers. After being down 7-2 to start the game, Gary Payton II remembered that now he has a reputation to uphold, and proceeded to do just that, cashing in back to back 3's from the same spot on the floor, giving Oregon State an 8-7 lead.
After a pair of Stanford free throws (more of those to come) gave the Cardinal a 1-point lead, Payton made a beautiful play on a Stanford fastbreak opportunity, sticking with Marcus Allen through a couple pump fakes and blocking his close-range shot. On the other end, GP2 found Malcom Duvivier open behind the arc, and the sophomore Toronto native drained his shot without hesitation.
The back-and-forth action continued, and the pace slowed down closer to this season's norm, until there were about 7 minutes left in the first period. Oregon State may have pulled away faster had Jarmal Reid, starting in place of an under the weather Olaf Schaftenaar, not been wrongfully called for a charge on a would-be highlight reel dunk.
Starting with 7:20 to go, Oregon State went on a 13-1 run over 4+ minutes that left them with a 28-19 lead and 2:52 left. The run was capped by a Tanner Sanders putback layup, which was preceded by a pair of 3's from Langston Morris-Walker and Schaftenaar, who certainly didn't look 100% but put in an admirable effort.
However, Stanford regained their footing, and swept the rug out from under OSU, battling back to make it 30-28 at half, scoring 5 points in the last 38 seconds thanks to a Malcom Duvivier turnover.
Despite the gutty performance by the Beavers, through quite a bit of adversity, the writing was on the wall that the lead could be short-lived. The Cardinal had 7 offensive rebounds, but just 1 second chance point, and missed countless easy putbacks. Additionally, Oregon State was uncharacteristically hot from 3-point range, shooting 5-12 on the half. The refs weren't helping by beginning to call a very tight game as the half progressed, leaving players from both teams in early foul trouble. Of course, when the road to victory is essentially a tightrope walk like it is for the Beavers, those fouls hurt even worse.
In the second half, that same inability to put in easy, close-range buckets transferred from the home team to Oregon State, and that was one of many reasons the game got away from the Beavers. Oregon State rebounded and boxed out even worse in the second half, and this time Stanford took advantage, scoring 12* second chance points on 16 offensive rebounds.
*The Pac-12 commentary crew openly called that number into question, and I am doing the same here, as it certainly felt like more than 12 points.
The other major factor was the ref's whistles, which were sounded frustratingly often. In all, 25 fouls were called in the 2nd half. It almost goes without saying that not all of those whistles were as the result of significant contact.
The Cardinal lit it up from the free throw line, going 22-26 on the night. Chasson Randle had a team-high 15 points on the night, significantly helped by his team high 8 trips to, and makes from, the charity stripe.
Stanford went on an 18-2 run over 8 minutes squarely in the middle of the 2nd half, putting the game away by leaving them with a 55-39 lead and a little under 8 minutes to play. It was during that time that Cardinal freshman Michael Humphrey, making the first start of his career, really took over the game. Overall, his 2nd half included 12 of his 14 points and 11 of his 15 rebounds.
Unfortunately, and as has been the case far too often, Gary Payton II is the only Beaver whose scoreline merits a breakdown. However, even he didn't play his best tonight, a sign of just how bad it got for Oregon State tonight. Of course, he still led all scorers with 19 points, and tallied 4 assists, 3 steals, 2 rebounds, and a blocked shot.
No other Beaver was close to double figures in anything, whereas 4 Cardinal were in double digits scoring, and 2 more each came up 1 point short, or Stanford would have had 6 in double digits.
It was a sloppy game from all sides, but in the end there was too much working against the Beavers to keep it a close game, let alone end in an Oregon State victory.
The Cardinal improved to 18-9, and 9-6 in conference, holding on to 4th place (and a first day bye in the Pac-12 Tournament) for the moment by 1/2 game over UCLA.
The Beavers dropped to 17-11 and 8-8 in the Pac-12, 6th place, and look to get back on track against Cal on Sunday at noon.