Angus Brandt has quietly returned as one of the Oregon State men’s basketball team’s offensive leaders.
The senior center scored 14 points in Sunday’s loss at Arizona, marking his ninth straight game in double figures.
Brandt reached 10 or better in five of the Beavers’ first eight games before getting a scare with a hyperextended right knee and bone bruises in a game against Akron in Hawaii on Dec. 22.
It was of greater concern when considering Brandt played in just four games last year before losing the rest of the season to a serious injury to the same knee.
But Brandt has now found his stride, shooting 49 of 93 (52.7 percent) in the last nine games.
“I haven’t seen him play this well since before the surgery,” coach Craig Robinson said Tuesday during his weekly media conference at Gill Coliseum.
“What I like is he looks and feels as confident as I’ve ever seen him.”
Brandt credits those around him for getting him going.
“My teammates are just doing a great job of helping me get open, giving me the ball in positions to score,” he said.
The 6-foot-10 Brandt isn’t afraid to shoot from outside. He’s a combined 4 of 5 on 3-pointers in the last three games.
Nelson finds a spark
Senior guard Roberto Nelson indirectly thanked Arizona State’s Shaquielle McKissic for pushing him to find an offensive fire last Thursday in Tempe.
Nelson had two points at halftime but scored 24 more in the second half and overtime of ASU’s 86-82 win.
Nelson said McKissic talked trash the whole game and got Nelson motivated.
“It’s a challenge, man,” Nelson said. “It’s just like any game. Somebody starts talking to you, you want to beat them out.”
Defense still struggling
Oregon State now sits 10th in the Pac-12 in scoring defense at 74.7 points per game.
The Beavers have allowed 75 or more points in four of the last five games, though two of those contests went to overtime, where a combined 25 points were scored by the opponents.
Robinson, while he’s seen improvement, says it comes down to consistency.
“We just have a couple missteps here and there that are critical when you’re playing really good teams. I want to see those things cleaned up,” he said.
The coach also pointed to limiting opponents to one shot per possession.
OSU has been outscored 42-20 on second-chance points in the last three games.
Civil War time again
The Beavers travel to Eugene on Sunday for the 341st version of the men’s basketball Civil War with Oregon.
OSU won the first game between the two teams earlier this season, 80-72 in Corvallis.
Though the Beavers have no impact players from the state, Robinson and his team say they understand the magnitude of the rivalry.
“The Civil War means so much more to everybody in the state. It’s such a focused game. Whether you win it or lose it, it’s talked about more than the other games,” Robinson said.
“There are enough senior guys on this team to impart the importance of this game on the younger folks. I thought they did a great job of that in our first meeting with them.”