OSU men's basketball: Starks comes up big in Beavers' victory over New Mexico State

2012-11-11T23:05:00Z OSU men's basketball: Starks comes up big in Beavers' victory over New Mexico StateBy KEVIN HAMPTON, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times
November 11, 2012 11:05 pm  • 

Clinging to a six-point lead and fresh off a turnover with 37 seconds to play, Oregon State needed someone to step up against New Mexico State.

On this night, it was Ahmad Starks.

Who else? Starks had singlehandedly sparked a run in the first half to help the Beavers build an 11-point lead at the half.

He hit big 3s, driving layups and had the time to grab five rebounds, dish five assists and come up with four steals.

The Aggies missed, Starks snagged his final rebound and was fouled. He hit both, then added another to clinch a 71-62 win in the 2K Sports Classic Corvallis Regional game before 3,368 fans in Gill Coliseum.

Starks finished with a career-high 33 points.

The Beavers needed the performance, particularly with Roberto Nelson, Devon Collier and Eric Moreland struggling for most of the game.

“Just absolutely spectacular,” OSU coach Craig Robinson said. “When we needed somebody to put the team on their shoulders and shoulder the offensive burden.

“We had three of our really good guys — Roberto, Eric and Devon — having off nights and to be able to beat a team like this with guys having that kind of night, I’m so happy with the way we hung in there.”

Starks said he was hitting all his shots during warmups and it reminded him of a high school game in which he hit just about everything until he cooled off late.

He was determined not to let the same thing happen on Sunday. He focused on not rushing his jump shots and put the pressure on the Aggies.

“Just kept attacking, kept attacking,” Starks said. “We were down early so I just felt that I just wanted to do something to get us that lead and we were able to keep it.”

Surviving a team like New Mexico State is no small feat.

The Aggies are big, tough and talented. They’re used to winning 20-plus games a season and making postseason appearances.

They went 26-10 last year and lost to Indiana in the NCAA tournament.

“We needed a game like this to see how we would fare against them,” Robinson said. “I thought that after the first five or six minutes, we really woke up and started playing well.”

NMSU also gave OSU a big dose of physical play.

The Aggies outrebounded the Beavers 46-33, 17-7 on the offensive boards.

The Beavers were called for 23 fouls and NMSU 17.

“It was getting pretty physical, but that’s how we like to play,” OSU forward Joe Burton said. “We’re going to play a lot of teams like that and in order to do stuff this year we have to be just like them. Get down and dirty and get down to business. Take no prisoners.”

Burton was the only other OSU player in double figures with 13 points.

Starks also came up big on the defensive end. He harassed the NMSU guards throughout the game.

He capped the first-half push by following up a 3-pointer with a steal and breakaway score.

During Pac-12 media day, Robinson told those wondering who was going to step in for Jared Cunningham on the defensive end that Starks would be a player to watch.

“So this isn’t a surprise to anybody who’s been at practice every day and kind of knows how he’s been doing. Watching him guard those guards didn’t surprise me at all,” Robinson said. “What surprised me was that he was extremely vocal for the quiet leader that we’ve come to know and we need him to be that kind of vocal leader.”

Oregon State 71, New Mexico State 62

NEW MEXICO ST. (0-1) — Sy 4-13 3-5 12, Watson 5-11 4-7 14, Nephawe 2-5 5-8 9, Ross-Miller 1-5 0-0 2, Mullings 4-10 6-7 14, Bhullar 0-1 1-4 1, Aronis 0-2 0-0 0, de Rouen 2-7 0-0 4, Dixon 3-4 0-1 6. Totals 21-58 19-32 62.

OREGON ST. (2-0) — Burton 6-13 1-1 13, Brandt 3-8 0-0 8, Starks 11-21 9-12 33, Moreland 2-5 0-0 4, Nelson 3-10 3-4 9, Barton 0-0 0-0 0, Reid 0-1 4-4 4, Collier 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-59 17-21 71.

Halftime—Oregon St. 41-30. 3-Point Goals—New Mexico St. 1-11 (Sy 1-6, Aronis 0-1, Watson 0-1, de Rouen 0-3), Oregon St. 4-12 (Brandt 2-3, Starks 2-7, Nelson 0-2). Fouled Out—Collier. Rebounds—New Mexico St. 46 (Sy 9), Oregon St. 33 (Brandt, Moreland 6). Assists—New Mexico St. 5 (Watson 3), Oregon St. 14 (Brandt, Starks 5). Total Fouls—New Mexico St. 17, Oregon St. 23. Technical—New Mexico St. Bench. A—3,368.

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.

(1) Comments

  1. BeaverLover69
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    BeaverLover69 - November 12, 2012 1:08 am
    Great game for Starks! Angus filled the stat sheet too: 8 points, 6 boards, 5 assists, 3 steals, 2 blocks, and two 3-pointers made. A down game for some guys, but they did well enough to beat a solid team relatively comfortably.

    Coach Rob, or Beavers staff/admin, if you're listening PLEASE have the PAC-12 or NCAA officials review that foul on the NMSU player who pile-drived Challe Barton's head onto the hardwood!! The referees of tonight's game ought to be suspended for missing that call so badly. They even reviewed it! As soon as that player lost control of the ball, he grabbed Challe by the neck, clutched him tight, and didn't release until after Barton's head bounced off the wood. This was an INCREDIBLY dangerous play and it is very fortunate that Barton did not injure his neck or sustain a concussion. The malicious intent was very clear on that play. Ask 100 college or pro basketball and football players without a stake in this game to review that play (people who know what it's like to be in the air, off balance, and in contact with another player) and I bet 95 of them would tell you that you don't grab and throw another player like that unless you really want to. There were clearly better ways for him to break his own fall than by throwing Challe's head against the court. That was outrageous. The referees from this game should be suspended for not immediately tossing the NMSU player from the game.

    GT and GT sports staff, if you're listening, I've been waiting three decades for the Gazette-Times to publish a proper box score. For Beaver games at minimum, but NBA, MLB, and NFL would be nice too. It isn't as annoying as it was before the age of the internet, but it still drives me to competing news outlets.
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