The play worked out just the way Oregon State wanted.
Except the result.
Sunday’s Civil War men’s basketball game came down to the final possession for the Beavers.
OSU had a shot to send the game into overtime when Olu Ashaolu missed the second of two free throws.
The Beavers got the open look at a 3, but Challe Barton’s shot was off target. Jared Cunningham got the rebound basket but that left the Beavers a point short in a 74-73 loss to Oregon before a sold-out crowd of 9,604 at Gill Coliseum.
“It worked out almost exactly the way we wanted because we knew they would overplay our best shooters,” OSU coach Craig Robinson said. “Challe had a nice little look at it and it just didn’t go down.”
After so many close losses, this one was rough for the Beavers. They fall to 15-13 overall, 5-11 in the Pacific-12 Conference.
Former OSU star Gary Payton was on hand for the game and spent time in the hall outside the Beavers locker room, trying to raise the spirits of the players.
It was difficult for Robinson as well.
“The way I look at them, they get worse,” he said. “You would have thought the four-overtime loss would have been worse but each time you get close it gets harder, so my job is to keep these guys’ confidence up and have them understand that we’re not that far away from competing with absolutely everybody in this league.”
It was a Civil War game, so it was intense and physical.
Devon Collier crashed to the court while trying to block out for a rebound in the first half.
Collier had to be helped off the floor and missed the rest of the first half but came out to warm up at halftime and finished the game.
“It was massive,” OSU forward Angus Brandt said. “No one likes to see a teammate go down, especially when it’s the knee. For him to come back and play like nothing had happened shows not only his toughness, but also what he is willing to put himself through for this team and how much he wants to win. I think the whole team got a boost from him coming back in the second half.”
Collier finished with 11 rebounds.
Ahmad Starks led OSU with 18 points and kept the Beavers close with his four 3-pointers.
Garrett Sim was a thorn in the Beavers’ — and their fans — sides all game.
Sim opened the game with a 3-pointer and never let up.
The crowd got on him constantly after Sim and Cunningham got into it near the OSU bench.
Both were hit with technical fouls and Sim brought out the boo birds every time he touched the ball.
Sim thrived. He finished with 25 points, was 10 of 14 from the field and hit four 3-pointers.
“He was hitting everything tonight, partially due to me,” Starks said. “I could have gotten up on him more but he had a great game.”
Robinson said the Beavers focused on shutting down Devoe Joseph and Sim stepped it up and had the big game.
“I thought we did a great job there but it’s like the proverbial balloon, you squeeze one end and the other one comes out and Sim kills us,” he said.
Joseph had 16 points, 12 in the second half.
The Beavers struggled with Sim and Joseph for a critical stretch that left UO with a 71-60 lead.
Eric Moreland hit a 3-pointer and two free throws and Starks knocked down a 3 to get the Beavers back in it late.
Brandt had 16 points, 10 coming in the first half.
The Beavers outscored UO 9-2 to take a 32-31 lead with 4 seconds to go in the half but Ashaolu tossed in a buzzer-beater to give the Ducks the lead at the break.
“We scrimmaged this week and we ran it and he hit a 3,” UO coach Dana Altman said. “(But) that wasn’t the reason we ran it.”
Oregon 74, Oregon State 73
OREGON (20-8): Jacob 0-1 0-0 0, Singler 5-13 2-2 13, Woods 0-2 0-0 0, Sim 10-14 1-2 25, Joseph 6-14 2-2 16, Ashaolu 5-8 6-10 16, Loyd 0-2 0-0 0, Nared 0-1 0-0 0, Emory 1-6 2-2 4. Totals 27-61 13-18 74.
OREGON STATE (15-13): Moreland 3-3 2-2 9, Collier 3-7 1-2 7, Brandt 6-13 1-2 16, Cunningham 4-8 4-8 13, Starks 7-10 0-0 18, McShane 1-2 0-0 2, Barton 0-1 2-2 2, Burton 1-4 0-0 2, Murphy 0-0 0-0 0, Nelson 1-9 2-2 4. Totals 26-57 12-18 73.
Halftime — Oregon 33-32. 3-Point Goals — Oregon 7-20 (Sim 4-7, Joseph 2-6, Singler 1-4, Jacob 0-1, Emory 0-2), Oregon St. 9-18 (Starks 4-5, Brandt 3-5, Moreland 1-1, Cunningham 1-3, Barton 0-1, Nelson 0-3). Fouled Out — Brandt. Rebounds — Oregon 34 (Ashaolu 8), Oregon St. 36 (Collier 11). Assists — Oregon 9 (Emory 4), Oregon St. 15 (Burton, Starks 3). Total Fouls — Oregon 18, Oregon St. 18. Technicals — Sim, Cunningham. A — 9,604.