This Civil War game had a little more at stake than the usual bragging rights.
Sure, the winner could boast, at least until the next showdown.
Sunday night’s game was special. It was the first conference game of the season for both teams.
For Oregon State, it was an opportunity for a strong start to the Pac-12 schedule that would erase any lingering memories of a tough home loss to Towson.
Instead, the Beavers faltered in the second half in a 79-66 loss before 8,612 fans in Gill Coliseum.
The Beavers (10-4, 0-1) led by six at the half but the Ducks (12-2, 1-0) came out running.
Instead of finding a way to slow the Ducks, the Beavers allowed too many easy baskets.
UO outscored the Beavers 46-26 in the paint, often by driving to the hoop.
“They did a good job of getting easy transition buckets and they were just going hard,” OSU guard Roberto Nelson said. “I think in the second half they really hurt us transition-wise. I don’t think we got back there as well as we did in the first half trying to stop their transition buckets.”
Oregon guard Damyean Dotson took full advantage of the fast pace.
Dotson scored six points in the first half but finished with 21 to lead UO.
“He got a lot of his points in transition,” Nelson said. “I don’t think he really scored a lot of points when they were running their set plays. I think all his buckets came from easy transition looks and easy kick-out shots that he got. I think we just needed to do a better job of getting back on our transition defense.”
A freshman from Houston, Dotson was unfamiliar with the Civil War.
He heard all about it from teammate E.J. Singler during the week, but had to experience the intensity and the crowd for himself.
“(I was) pretty sure it was a big game because E.J. was talking to us the whole week, ‘We’ve got to get this, we got to get the Civil War,’” Dotson said.
“It’s a big game, I understand now, so from now on I’ll be ready.”
A 15-2 run by Oregon to start the second flipped the momentum.
“You can’t start the second half on a 15-2 run negative and expect to beat a team that is getting votes in the top 25,” OSU coach Craig Robinson said.
“This has to be a two-half game and we have noticeably not played a good two-half game in a while.”
The Beavers were able to respond, thanks to seven straight points by Devon Collier and then four from Ahmad Starks for a 47-46 lead.
It didn’t hold.
The Ducks pushed the ball up and down the court and the Beavers faded.
“They just outplayed us,” Nelson said. “I think we kind of got a little ahead of ourselves coming in with that lead and I didn’t think we executed as well as they did.
“They came out with a purpose and they outplayed us in the second half.”
Starks came through with his biggest game in weeks, scoring a game-high 22 points.
Nelson added 18 and Collier 10.
Eric Moreland narrowly missed another double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.
An expected battle on the boards between the top two rebounding teams in the conference didn’t materialize.
Oregon, the No. 1 team in the Pac-12, outrebounded the Beavers 42-31.
“They were really outworking us,” Nelson said.
The Beavers stay at home and play Arizona State on Thursday and Arizona on Saturday.
Oregon 79, Oregon St. 66
Oregon (12-2): Singler 5-10 5-5 15, Emory 1-5 4-4 6, Woods 4-7 0-0 8, Artis 3-7 5-6 11, Dotson 8-15 3-4 21, Loyd 1-4 0-0 3, Kazemi 4-5 0-2 8, Austin 2-4 1-2 5, Moore 1-2 0-0 2, Carter 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-59 18-23 79.
Oregon St. (10-4): Moreland 4-7 1-4 9, Reid 0-3 0-0 0, Burton 3-6 1-2 7, Starks 8-16 2-2 22, Nelson 6-13 4-5 18, Barton 0-0 0-0 0, Morris-Walker 0-0 0-0 0, Schaftenaar 0-7 0-0 0, Collier 4-8 2-3 10. Totals 25-60 10-16 66.
Halftime — Oregon St. 34-28. 3-Pointers — Oregon 3-16 (Dotson 2-6, Loyd 1-3, Moore 0-1, Artis 0-2, Singler 0-2, Emory 0-2), Oregon St. 6-20 (Starks 4-8, Nelson 2-6, Moreland 0-1, Schaftenaar 0-5). Fouled Out — None. Rebounds — Oregon 42 (Singler 9), Oregon St. 31 (Moreland 9). Assists — Oregon 10 (Artis, Loyd 3), Oregon St. 8 (Burton, Moreland 3). Total Fouls — Oregon 17, Oregon St. 18. A — 8,612.