HOOPS: Moreland lights Civil War candle
ERIC MORELAND
ERIC MORELAND
Beaverfootball.com Columnist
Posted Jan 29, 2012


HIS NAME DOESN'T jump off the stat page for points scored. That's reserved for players like Jared Cunningham, who scored 24 of his 27 points against Oregon in the second half of the Beavs' 76-71 win in Eugene. But Eric Moreland was the guy that made it all possible.

When Oregon State was down by 10 points in the first half, when Oregon was threatening to build such a big lead the issue would have been settled, that was when 6-10 redshirt freshman and defensive specialist Eric Moreland saved the day.

He played only 15 minutes. But he was a tornado in that time.

Moreland had four steals in his time on the floor, taking away four key Oregon scoring possessions.

He also grabbed five rebounds, including two offensive boards.

And he chalked up two assists. He had three points in a game where every point mattered.

Moreland set the stage for the comeback in the first half. And without him, there might not have been a stage for the Beavs in the second half.

For a time there, it wasn't the Civil War as much as it was the Civil Clank, with both teams struggling to top 30 percent shooting a good ways into the first half. Oregon shook off the funk first.

MORELAND AND THE Beavs cut the 10 point deficit in the first half to five by the time both teams headed to the locker room. And then in the second half, at about the 13:00 minute mark, the Beavers suddenly exploded.

Jared Cunningham was flying high, making just about everything for a time. Ahmad Starks and Devon Collier both found their rhythm, finishing with 15 and 13 points, respectively. Big Joe Burton's work in the paint came in timely fashion, the Beav center adding 10 points to the cause.

But it was defense that enabled the offense to get up and go. When Oregon State cleaned the glass, it was a different game. When Oregon nabbed offensive rebounds, Oregon State looked disjointed and slow. And how's this for a defensive stat -- OSU logged almost as many steals (12) as assists (15).

OSU withstood a frantic Oregon comeback at the end, with the Ducks cutting a 12-point Beaver lead to three points down the stretch.

Oregon State trailed 28-23 at halftime and 45-39 with 13:11 left to play. But Cunningham hit 5 of 7 shots after the break and was 6 for 8 from the free-throw line in the final two minutes to hold off Oregon's charge.

Oregon State shot 42.1 percent for the game, 41.7 from beyond the arc. The Ducks shot at a 38.3 percent clip from the floor, 30 percent from downtown.

FOR THE BEAVERS (14-7, 4-5 Pac-12), they finished the first half of the Pac-12 slate on a decided up note -- they won their first conference road game, and tasted victory for just the second time in their last 19 trips to Eugene.

And without Moreland's contributions, it may have wound up a very different story.


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