No matter what happens on the court, members of the Oregon State men’s basketball team will miss playing alongside Angus Brandt this season.
On Sunday, the Beavers had their first game since Brandt went down with a knee injury and was lost for the season.
The Beavers know they need to find a way to make up for the loss of Brandt’s scoring, rebounding and floor presence.
Joe Burton stepped up.
Burton had a career-high 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, seven offensive, to lead OSU to a 78-65 win over Montana State at Gill Coliseum.
Burton is a senior and was hit hard when Brandt went down and had to postpone his final season.
“It’s a big loss. Angus is a big part of the team,” Burton said. “He just brings a lot of energy, even off the court. Me, Eric (Moreland), Devon (Collier) and Jarmal (Reid) have to step up. Rebounds, points, we have to make up for it. He’s a double-double guy and we have to just take what it is and just go hard at it.”
Burton did most of his offensive damage in the first half, finishing with 16.
He got into a bit of foul trouble early in the second half and never regained the rhythm as a scorer, but he did continue to contribute.
Burton had five points during a crucial 12-2 run that left the Beavers (4-1) in command at 70-53 with seven minutes, three seconds left.
He drew a foul and flipped the ball in while falling to the floor and completed the three-point play. Later, he added two free throws to give OSU the 17-point lead.
Burton couldn’t have had better timing. It was the Nike N7 game, which honors Native American heritage month. Burton is a member of the Luiseno people and was raised in the Soboba Indian Reservation.
He said quite a few on the reservation got together to watch the game on TV.
“It was pressure but it was good pressure just to have that motivation to do well for them, the native people out there watching me,” he said.
Moreland also had a big game for the Beavers.
He added a double-double of his own with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
He was a force down low on defense, blocking three shots and altering others.
He even tried a 3-pointer after hitting a big one against Purdue. This one didn’t go down.
“With (Brandt) gone we obviously have to start spreading the floor a little bit,” Moreland said. “It’s a big piece missing so everybody has to do a little more. I’m not saying I’m going to start jacking 3s ... if it’s open, I’ll shoot it, but stay within the flow of the game.”
Ahmad Starks had 14 points and nine rebounds, Olaf Schaftenaar shook off a sore back and hit three 3s and had three blocks and Devon Collier had seven points, seven rebounds and four blocks. The Beavers finished with 11 blocks.
The Beavers struggled to put the game away for a time. Montana State (1-3) stayed aggressive on both ends of the floor, taking the ball to the hoop and going after loose balls.
OSU coach Craig Robinson said the Beavers might have been somewhat out of sorts after making two cross-country trips in a week.
That probably contributed to a 20-19 deficit on the offensive boards and generally sluggish play at times.
The Bobcats struggled to shoot straight all night and wound up at 30 percent. They were 9 of 36 in the second half.
“I thought we were playing some good defense, especially with all the second shots they got,” Robinson said. “So I think if you cut down on the 20 offensive rebounds it might have been worse than that.”
OSU takes on Kansas in Kansas City on Friday.
Oregon State 78, Montana State 65
MONTANA STATE (1-3) — F. Davis 6-13 0-3 12, Egwuonwu 2-7 4-4 8, Biglow 5-13 3-5 14, Colbert 2-5 2-2 8, Blount 2-10 4-4 10, Stewart 1-6 2-2 4, Robison 0-0 0-0 0, Norman 0-0 0-0 0, Brumwell 1-2 0-0 2, Budinich 0-3 0-0 0, Coleman 2-11 2-2 7. Totals 21-70 17-22 65.
OREGON STATE (4-1) — Moreland 5-8 1-2 11, Reid 0-0 0-0 0, Burton 8-11 5-6 21, Starks 5-16 2-3 14, Nelson 3-8 0-0 6, Robbins 0-0 3-4 3, Barton 2-3 0-2 4, Morris-Walker 1-4 1-2 3, Schaftenaar 3-8 0-0 9, Collier 2-4 3-6 7. Totals 29-62 15-25 78.
Halftime—Oregon St. 45-31. 3-Point Goals—Montana St. 6-21 (Blount 2-3, Colbert 2-5, Biglow 1-3, Coleman 1-5, Egwuonwu 0-1, Budinich 0-1, Stewart 0-1, F. Davis 0-2), Oregon St. 5-23 (Schaftenaar 3-8, Starks 2-9, Moreland 0-1, Morris-Walker 0-2, Nelson 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Montana St. 42 (F. Davis 9), Oregon St. 51 (Burton, Moreland 10). Assists—Montana St. 10 (F. Davis 3), Oregon St. 16 (Collier 4). Total Fouls—Montana St. 19, Oregon St. 16. A—5,224.