Oregon State men’s basketball coach Craig Robinson hesitated briefly before beginning his postgame press conference comments on Thursday.
The Beavers had just snapped a five-game losing streak with a 77-67 win over Utah in Gill Coliseum and Robinson had to take a moment while he fumbled to get the top off his bottled water.
“Look at that,” Robinson said. “It’s been so long since we’ve had a win I don’t know how to open up water.”
Robinson was joking, of course, but it has been a while since he’s talked about a win.
The Beavers did indeed get a victory and, yes, it wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicated.
OSU dominated the first half, holding the Utes to 21.7 percent from the field and led 36-15 at the break.
“We needed that win,” Robinson said. “And we needed to play the way we played in that first half. That was really an impressive start for our team. It’s been one of the banes of our existence this season.”
The Beavers (16-13, 6-11) scored seemingly at will inside. The Utes have little size to speak of when 6-foot-10 Jason Washburn is on the bench.
Two fouls and that’s where Washburn spent most of the half.
The Beavers proceeded to outscore Utah 22-6 in the paint and finished with a 40-22 advantage.
Robinson said he wasn’t surprised that Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak sat Washburn with the fouls. Washburn played five minutes in the first half.
“No, because I do that,” Robinson said. “I don’t know if that’s just something that former players do. I just get nervous. You see games like this where guys are running around, bumping into each other (and) a foul could come at any time.”
Eric Moreland said he was able to rest his ankle this week and came out strong.
Moreland scored all nine of his points in the first half and finished with 13 rebounds and three blocks.
One block sparked a fast break that he finished with a dunk.
“Eric twisted his ankle before the Oregon game and it was a pretty bad twist so we thought the best thing to do would be let him rest it and it just gave him some newfound energy this week,” Robinson said. “To see him running around, guarding a 6-4 guard at times, helping us bring the ball up, leading us in rebounding, blocking shots and getting assists. It was just a terrific all-around game.”
The Beavers built a 31-point lead with 15:03 to go, but loosened up on defense.
The Utes scored 52 points in the second half.
Jared Cunningham led the Beavers with 17 points and six assists.
He helped shut down Chris Hines until the game was well in hand.
Hines went scoreless in the first half and did not score until 9:06 remaining. He proceeded to finish with 12 points.
“Just denying him the ball and finding him in transition and limiting his touches,” Cunningham said of defending Hines. “He’s a great shooter but we did a great job of finding him and limiting his touches. He kind of got going a little later in the second half, but that was bound to happen. He’s a good shooter and he’s going to make some shots.”
The Beavers wore their N7 turquoise uniforms and Joe Burton seemed to respond.
He finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Ahmad Starks added 13 points with three 3 pointers and Devon Collier had 10 points.
Oregon State 77, Utah 67
UTAH (6-23) — Hines 4-11 1-3 12, Washburn 4-6 6-7 14, Storey 2-4 2-4 6, Farr 6-9 2-2 16, Martin 3-9 2-4 10, Perkins 0-0 0-0 0, Dawson 3-6 0-2 6, Wilkinson 1-2 1-2 3, Odunsi 0-2 0-0 0, Mortensen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-49 14-24 67.
OREGON ST. (16-13) — Moreland 4-7 1-4 9, Cunningham 5-13 6-6 17, Brandt 2-4 4-4 8, Starks 5-9 0-0 13, Collier 3-3 4-7 10, Burton 6-8 1-1 13, Barton 0-1 0-0 0, Murphy 1-1 0-2 2, McShane 0-2 0-0 0, Mitchell 0-0 0-0 0, Powers 0-0 0-0 0, Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Nelson 2-7 0-0 5. Totals 28-55 16-24 77.
Halftime—Oregon St. 36-15. 3-Point Goals—Utah 7-18 (Hines 3-8, Farr 2-3, Martin 2-5, Storey 0-1, Washburn 0-1), Oregon St. 5-13 (Starks 3-5, Cunningham 1-2, Nelson 1-4, McShane 0-1, Barton 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Utah 26 (Farr 9), Oregon St. 36 (Moreland 13). Assists—Utah 11 (Storey 5), Oregon St. 16 (Cunningham 6). Total Fouls—Utah 18, Oregon St. 18. Technical—Murphy. A—3,643.