Anyone waiting around Gill Coliseum on Sunday to watch Oregon State finally surrender the lead it had held for so long never got it.
You couldn’t be blamed if you were anticipating a collapse. It’s happened to the Beavers too many times to count, and as recently as a week earlier against California.
But for every Oregon run on Sunday there was an answer. For every Ducks basket, one or two in return.
OSU held tight to that second-half advantage and never gave it up, holding on for an 80-72 Pac-12 win in the 340th men’s basketball Civil War.
The Beavers (10-7, 2-3) led by as many as 16 in the first half and seven at halftime but didn’t let the Ducks get any closer than five after the break.
“You have to go through it to know what it’s like,” OSU coach Craig Robinson said. “You can’t learn how to handle this until you start handling it.”
Robinson said the Jan. 11 home loss to California in which the Beavers gave up a 14-point first-half lead “could have been the best thing that happened to us.”
His players said they went to work in the days after focused on learning from their mistakes and finishing.
The Beavers did that, being the aggressor in a physical contest.
“We’re moving forward. We’re trying our hardest to get better,” said OSU senior center Angus Brandt, who scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half. “Making comparisons from this year to last year and this week to last week, you can really see it.”
OSU scored the first five points of the second half on Roberto Nelson’s conventional 3-point play and a Brandt layin.
The pushed the lead back into double digits, where it had been for about 11 minutes in the first half.
Joseph Young hit a 3-pointer with 17:04 remaining that helped Oregon (13-4, 1-4) get within six, the closest the game had been since the first six minutes.
Brandt answered at the other end with a long jumper and Nelson finished at the hoop on a pass from Hallice Cooke to get it back to a 10-point lead.
The Ducks whittled it back to eight with five straight points midway through the second half, but the Beavers again responded.
Eric Moreland hit two free throws then followed up with a block and staredown of Oregon’s Richard Amardi, bringing a roar from the Gill crowd.
OSU scored the game’s next points when Brandt found Langston Morris-Walker with a backdoor pass to make it 67-55 with 6:06 left.
Oregon got the deficit to five twice from there but couldn’t hit from 3-point range in the closing minutes to make it more interesting.
“We just got on our own run. Basketball is a game of runs. I think we were the team that ended up with more of the runs tonight,” said Nelson, who had a game-high 22 points. “That’s just how it is. We just weathered that storm pretty well.”
Moreland struggled from the floor, shooting 2 of 12. But he otherwise filled up the stat sheet with 15 points, 13 rebounds, a career-high five assists and three blocks.
His line included making 11 of 12 free throws. The makes and attempts were both career-highs. Moreland was 8 of 17 for the season coming into the game.
“I just had to get my breath. I felt like I wasn’t breathing right,” he said. “I worked all week on it and shot a lot of free throws day and night, and it showed. I just want to continue going on those.”
The Beavers also got 10 points from Cooke, who was 3 of 3 on 3-pointers. Shooting 7 of 13 from 3-point range, OSU has now made more than 50 percent of its shots from long range in all five Pac-12 games.
Oregon State held Oregon’s starting five to 25 points — none in double figures — on 7 of 35 from the field.
The Ducks got a team-high 17 points from guard Jason Calliste off the bench.
Oregon forward Mike Moser and Young, a guard, came in averaging more than 33 points combined and finished with 13, shooting 5 of 24 overall.
Oregon State 80, Oregon 72
OREGON (13-4) — Moser 3-15 2-3 8, Cook 0-1 3-4 3, Young 2-9 0-0 5, Loyd 0-1 2-2 2, Dotson 2-9 2-2 7, Artis 2-5 2-2 6, Calliste 6-11 3-4 17, Amardi 6-9 1-3 13, Abdul-Bassit 0-0 0-0 0, Carter 4-6 3-4 11. Totals 25-66 18-24 72.
OREGON STATE(10-7) — Moreland 2-12 11-12 15, Brandt 5-9 4-4 14, Cooke 3-5 1-2 10, Morris-Walker 2-3 0-0 5, Nelson 7-13 6-7 22, Robbins 0-1 0-0 0, Barton 0-0 2-3 2, Duvivier 0-0 0-0 0, Gomis 0-0 0-0 0, Schaftenaar 1-2 0-0 3, Reid 0-0 0-0 0, Collier 3-6 3-3 9. Totals 23-51 27-31 80.
Halftime — Oregon St. 37-30. 3-Point Goals — Oregon 4-19 (Calliste 2-5, Young 1-3, Dotson 1-4, Cook 0-1, Loyd 0-1, Moser 0-5), Oregon St. 7-13 (Cooke 3-3, Nelson 2-5, Morris-Walker 1-1, Schaftenaar 1-2, Brandt 0-2). Fouled Out — None. Rebounds — Oregon 34 (Moser 9), Oregon St. 42 (Moreland 13). Assists — Oregon 6 (Loyd 2), Oregon St. 19 (Cooke, Moreland 5). Total Fouls — Oregon 26, Oregon St. 18. A — 6,358.