Beavers stun ASU with Pac-10 opening win
JOE BURTON
JOE BURTON

Posted Dec 31, 2010


NOT MANY GAVE Oregon State much of a chance in the Pac-10 opener against Arizona State. OSU had the worst non-conference record of any Pac-10 team, had more than a couple embarrassing losses and was playing poor defense. And then OSU went out and blew the doors off the Sun Devils with an 80-58 victory.

It was a youth movement.

Sophomore Joe Burton dominated inside at times, scoring a career-high 17 points and logging nine rebounds to pace Oregon State. Fellow soph Jared Cunningham added 16 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Beavers (6-6).

Freshmen Ahmad Starks and Roberto Nelson came off the bench and provided exactly what OSU needed most They combined for 24 points and six assists.

The Beavs slugged it out with ASU in the first half, forging a 34-30 lead at the break. OSU then took off, methodically building the lead to double digits. Then the lead became fourteen. And then sixteen. And then twenty-one.

OSU never looked back after the second half began, displaying more quickness than their opponents. And more defense.

Oregon State has struggled this season on D but they held the Sun Devils to 38.5 percent shooting on the night. Meanwhile, OSU shot 53 percent -- just as startling given that it was ASU who came into the game as the team lauded for their ability in field goal percentage defense.

ASU was without leading scorer Trent Lockett (toe) and Ty Abbott, who scored 18 first half points, was held scoreless in the second before leaving with a cramp.

The win broke a streak of six straight losses to ASU. And it was the first time OSU began conference play with a win since the 2004-05 season.

Still, it's only one game. And OSU's disappointing non-conference losses are far too recent to jump to any conclusions on how good the Beavs might be this season. But OSU hosts Arizona (12-2) on Sunday night at 7:00 pm on FSN. If you're not going to be at Gill, you might want to tune in.



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