Devon Collier was suspended for the season opener, a dispiriting loss to Coppin State, but his presence in the wins over Portland, and Maryland on Sunday, can't be overstated.
Roberto Nelson has another monster game and scored 31 points. And the Beavs are now 2-1 when just a few days ago it seemed like so much was lost.
The game was the "annual" trip by Oregon State to the Washington D.C. area, something Craig Robinson likes to do, being the older brother of Michelle Obama. She sat with her President Obama, their two daughters and Marian Robinson, the head coach's and Michelle's mother, in the front row behind the Oregon State bench.
"We always have the support of the President," Robinson told the Associated Press. "Before this game, during our tour, he was admonishing the guys to make sure they started playing a little bit better because his brother-in-law is coaching the team. It was a cute thing, a fun thing to hear.
"They played inspired, for him, for themselves and for Oregon State. It means a lot having him here," said Robinson, now 4-0 with the President in attendance.
"Him coming out to support us is amazing," Collier said. "We just came out and got the victory for him. Hopefully, we didn't stress him out too much."
It was a seesaw first half, featuring 12 ties and eight lead changes. The Beavs shot well (59 percent) but committed 11 turnovers and allowed Maryland 11 offensive rebounds. But the start of the second half was huge.
Oregon State scored the first seven points of the second half, forging a 46-38 lead. It would be whittled down to three points on more than one occasion late in the game but the Beavs did the one thing they needed to under the new, tighter hand-checking rules – they made their free throws.
Nelson and Collier in particular had the answer every time Maryland threatened to overcome the Beaver advantage. And after Maryland made it 84-81, Nelson drilled a jumper with 29 seconds left to put the game out of reach. The Beavs shot 23-30 (76.7 percent) from the line on the night.
The Beavs are off until Nov. 26, when they host SIU-Edwardsville at 8 p.m. on the Pac-12 Networks.