HOOPS: Beavs let comeback win get away

ROBERTO NELSON scores 13; changes coming?

THEY HAD IT. And then they lost it. Oregon State had scratched, fought and clawed all the way back from 17 points down against UCLA in the second half and even took a two point lead with just a couple minutes to play. But the Beavs did not score again, and fell 62-57 at home. Afterwards, the Beavers' head man was frustrated, and said changes are coming.

Roberto Nelson capped a stunning comeback rally by Oregon State with a three-pointer to put the Beavs up 57-55 with 2:38 remaining. If only the horn could have sounded then for Beaver Nation.

But it didn't, and OSU missed from close range and from the foul line over the final 2 1/2 minutes. UCLA hit their free throws and enough of their shots from the field to take the win, scoring the final seven points.

It never figured to get that close. Oregon State never led in the first half and trailed at the break 37-22. And the game wasn't even that close -- the Beavs missed 14 of their 15 first shots.

But OSU stormed back, and while they stepped up their game offensively over the final 20 minutes, their work on the defensive end was what brought them back -- Oregon State logged 15 steals and forced 21 turnovers in the game.

Oregon State, however, has been making a habit of digging too deep of early holes, and Craig Robinson told The Oregonian he's considering lineup changes.

"I've got to make some changes,'' he said, "because I can't get these guys to play for 40 minutes. … I really don't know (why the horrible start). We looked like we saw the name on the uniform and couldn't move. We just looked like we were paralyzed.''

Nelson finished with 13 points for Oregon State. The Beavs' leading scorer, Jared Cunningham, went 1-for-9 from the floor and score only five points, though he played some impressive defense in the second half.

But as much as Cunningham had an off night, and as much as he has helped carry the load this season for the Beavs, this was clearly a team loss. Joe Burton, Omari Johnson and Lathen Wallace all faltered down the final minutes, missing chances to tie the game or take the lead back.

OSU led the nation in steals (10.87 per game) going into the game and still figures to head that category as of Friday with their 15 swipes against the Bruins.

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