OSU men's basketball: Beavers confident after taking Kansas to the wire

2012-12-08T04:00:00Z 2012-12-08T15:30:36Z OSU men's basketball: Beavers confident after taking Kansas to the wireBy KEVIN HAMPTON, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times

A week has passed since the Oregon State men’s basketball team took 10th-ranked Kansas to the wire in Kansas City.

The Beavers gave the Jayhawks all they could handle but couldn’t quite get over the hump in an 84-78 loss.

Now that the Beavers have had seven days to let the result sink in and get a good look at the game tape, what can they take from a close loss to a perennial power?

“It kind of shows that we can play with anybody and it goes back to coach when he saw we weren’t getting those four or five extra stops a game that we need to work on,” junior guard Roberto Nelson said. “That could have been the difference in the game against Kansas.”

Nelson added that the game shows the Beavers can play good basketball on the road.

“Last year that was our big thing,” he said. “We played well at home and didn’t play well on the road. If we can play with a team like Kansas over in Kansas, we can compete with anybody.”

Forward/center Joe Burton said the Beavers didn’t play their best game and lost by just six points at Kansas.

He said the Beavers lost focus at the end of the game.

To get better, the Beavers can focus throughout practice.

“We practice three hours a day and you’ve got to stay focused through the whole practice and that’s just like a game,” Burton said. “When we get tired, we’ve just got to focus harder and trust each other.”

As tough as the loss was to take for the Beavers, the long-term effect could be very beneficial.

Confidence should be high for the rest of the nonconference season.

Coach Craig Robinson said the Beavers are beginning to realize that they’re pretty darn good.

“I think it’s starting to dawn on them. It remains to be seen because we haven’t had a game (following Kansas) yet,” Robinson said. “But I think from what I can see in practice that these guys are starting to believe that they can play and we (the staff) aren’t the only ones believing that we have a good team.”

The Beavers get that first game at 1 p.m. today in Gill Coliseum against Grambling State.

The Tigers have struggled this season, going 0-5 against some solid competition.

They’re coming off a long layoff — their last game a 91-56 loss to Texas Tech on Nov. 20 — so they’ve had plenty of prep time for the Beavers.

On paper, the Beavers have a big advantage but they can’t afford to overlook the Tigers.

“It might be their chance and they might be coming in making shots,” Nelson said. “You can’t really base stuff off of their record and off of their stuff on paper. They’ve had a long time to prep for us. They haven’t had a game for a couple weeks now, so they’ve just been prepping for us. They’re going to be ready and from the tapes that I’ve seen they come out strong from the beginning.”

The Tigers play a lot of man-to-man defense with some zone.

Robinson said the Beavers are bigger but the Tigers are athletic enough to play man today.

“What we want to do is win the game, first and foremost, and we’re coming up against a team that hasn’t won a game, so they’re going to be desperate to win a game. They don’t have any pressure on them. We’re coming off exams, so it’s a perfect formula for having a letdown,” Robinson said.

“What I want to see is that we don’t let down in this game and we get through it.”

Kevin Hampton is sports reporter for the Gazette-Times. He can be reached at 541-758-9519 or kevin.hampton@lee.net.

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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