|HOOPS: A tale of two halves for Beavs in loss|
CORVALLIS -- At one point in the hoops loss to the Ducks, the Beavs lead by as much as eight points. But the second half sealed the Beavers' fate. Oregon walked off the oily courts of Gill Coliseum with a W in their pockets, finishing with a score of 79-66 over the orange and black. The story of this game? Ever heard of Jekyll and Hyde?
The Beavers dominated much of the first half – Roberto Nelson, Ahmad Starks and Jarmal Reid were able to move the ball consistently around the perimeter and keep Oregon's faster guys occupied while Joe Burton and Eric Moreland worked inside the paint and took responsibility for the big boards and easy field goals.
The Beavs' game plan was working like a charm and the orange and black spent a stretch in the locker room during half time with a comfortable 34-28 lead and momentum on their side in the Corvallis installment of the basketball Civil War.
But if the first half were to be deemed Jekyll, the second would most certainly be Hyde for the Beavers. Oregon nearly tripled the amount of points they had claimed in the first 20 minutes – and OSU was a field goal shy of merely doubling their first half points.
Burton and Moreland spent more time on the perimeter as opposed to inside the paint in the second half.
Maybe the thought was that the offense would be able to go full speed through a weaker perimeter defense and straight to the hoop. There were a few times when Burton looked poised to bull through two Ducks at a time and put up a big layup for two. But it didn't materialize. Instead, lazy passes and ineffective screens became the norm.
The speed and agility of Starks and Nelson was also mostly absent in the second half. Burton and Olaf Shaftenaar were out on the arc with Starks, Nelson and Reid scurrying around under the net for rebounds. Missed rebound opportunities were the catalyst for this loss – Oregon held a 39-29 edge.
Which begs the question – how much is OSU missing Angus Brandt right now?
And then there were fouls. Lots of them - on both sides. OSU had 18 fouls to Oregon's 17. Unfortunately for OSU, many of those came late in the game, leading to numerous trips to the free throw line for the Ducks.
The brass tacks? It was an ugly game for both teams, but Oregon got nastier toward the end and OSU got tired. Both teams shot below 50 percent from the field, and the perimeter gameplay was sloppy all around, with OSU only making 6-20 three pointers and U of O mustering a sad 3-16 from beyond the arch.
Ahmad Starks led the Beavs with 22 points but they were among the quietest 20-plus points you'll ever see in a game. Maybe the reason for that was that OSU shot just 41.7 percent from the floor. It's something that needs fixing.