HOOPS: Gutty Beavs extend their season


THE LONG DROUGHT is over. Oregon State won their first Pac-10 tournament game in five years with a gutty, nailbiting 69-67 win over Stanford in the tourney's opening round. For the Beavers, the list of top performers was a long one.

Give it up for the OSU bench.

Ahmad Starks was clutch in the first half, raining down long range jumpers as the Beavs worked the lead to as many as 10. He scored 11 in the first half and finished with 15 points.

Inside, Devon Collier had a huge game, coming close to a double-double with 19 points (7-11 shooting) and 8 rebounds.

Jared Cunningham led the Beavs with 24 points, with 15 of those coming on free throws.

Starks, Collier and Cunningham all came off the OSU bench in the win.

Meanwhile, starter Joe Burton had 14 boards on the night, and the Beavs needed every last one of them.

IT WAS UGLY in the first half, with Stanford shooting an abysmal 12 percent from the floor (4-for-34). But Oregon State, save for Starks, wasn't exactly lighting it up either at 33 percent. They held only a 26-18 lead at the break.

The second half was far more entertaining for fans of both teams, with some good basketball on display.

Oregon State surrendered all of their eight point advantage within the first five minutes of the second half, and then swiftly built it all back.

Stanford wouldn't go away, though, and as the clock wound, things only tightened up in the back and forth game.

The final two minutes saw a furious exchange, with 24 combined points being scored between the two teams.

Every time OSU threatened to gain enough separation down the stretch, Stanford knocked it down from long range -- off balance, improbable, it didn't matter. Cunningham hit 5-of-8 free throws during the final two minutes, and 15-20 for the game, but Stanford had one last shot.

Stanford's Jeremy Green hit six three-pointers over the final 20 minutes but fortunately for Beaver fans on the final play, good pressure on the ball hindered Green (25 points) as he tried to advance up the floor. His desperation heave from 30 feet never got airborne, the ball having been blocked by Cunningham.

The Beavers (11-19) don't have much time to enjoy the win. They play top-seeded Arizona (25-6) at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday (FSN:TV).

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