HOOPS: Explosive Beavs fly by Colorado

AHMAD STARKS

IT'S GAMES LIKE these that remind how explosive the Beavers can be on the hardcourt. Oregon State used a 26-6 second half run to race by Colorado, the surprise team of the Pac-12, on their way to an 83-69 win. The regular season finale was, arguably, Oregon State's most complete game of the year.

Ahmad Starks went microwave in the second half, as he nailed one rainbow three-pointer after another. He scored 18, all in the second half.

Starks scored 11 straight points during the deciding stretch early in the second half. He was one of five Beavers who scored in double figures.

Roberto Nelson added 16 points and Jared Cunningham had 15 for the Beavers (17-13, 7-11 Pac-12). Devon Collier just missed a double-double with 11 points and nine boards while Joe Burton added 10 points.

But it was the way OSU was scoring. Perfect passes, sharp cutters, pure jumpers -- just about everything Oregon State did worked, especially in the second half when they shot a ridiculous 69.2 percent from the floor. OSU was 53.7 percent for the game.

The Beavers held the upper hand in the game from start to finish, putting the issue to rest early in the second half.

And it was the way the Beavers played defense. Colorado looked out of sync much of the game, despite a mild run late in the game long after the issue had been decided.

The Beavers clinched a winning season with the victory, their second winning season in 22 years.

Oregon State now moves onto the Pac-12 tournament, with an opening round, 8-9 seed game against WSU on Wednesday.

The Cougs have frustrated OSU in both games this season, winning each, but WSU will come in struggling mightily. They were drilled in a 32-point loss to UCLA and barely escaped in a low scoring affair against USC this weekend, one of the conference's worst teams.

Oregon State would have to win four games in four days to take the Pac-12 tournament title and move onto the Big Dance, something no one has ever done.

But no one, absolutely no one, wants to play the Beavers right now.

And in a year where the Pac-12 is both down and the league's top 9 teams can literally beat one another on any given night, it makes one wonder just how far the Beavs might go if they play like they did against Colorado. And also, if OSU, who had lost five of their past six coming into the game against Colorado, is truly ready this one last time to get on a run and reach their potential.

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