LAS VEGAS — A poor first half was just too much to overcome for a group left wondering what might have been.
Oregon State got pushed around for much of the first 20 minutes and the Beavers weren’t themselves on either end Thursday afternoon.
Colorado was the aggressor and two 10-0 OSU second-half runs weren’t enough, as the Beavers couldn’t find another to completely close the gap.
Oregon State is one-and-done at the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament after a 73-58 quarterfinal loss at T-Mobile Arena.
“Just picked the wrong game of the year to come out, not make shots, not defend with intensity we needed to early on, and dug a big hole for ourselves,” Beavers coach Wayne Tinkle said. “Great effort in the second half to give ourselves a chance, and I think we just ran out of steam.”
That effort, a significant contrast to what OSU (18-13) showed in the first half, saw the fourth-seeded Beavers trim what was a 21-point deficit four different times.
The last came on Ethan Thompson’s two free throws with 5:33 left. But the fifth-seeded Buffaloes (21-11) scored the next six points and Oregon State couldn’t stage another rally.
“We had to fight, so I think that forced us to play harder,” Thompson said. “It was just a little too late.”
Tres Tinkle led the Beavers with 23 points, six rebounds and three steals. Ethan Thompson added 16 points and seven rebounds and brother Stevie Thompson 10 points.
McKinley Wright had 17 points, five rebounds and four assists for Colorado, which avenged a loss in the only meeting between the two squads during the regular season. The Buffaloes were coming off a 56-51 win against 12th seed California in a Wednesday first-round game.
Oregon State, claiming the program's highest seed in a conference tournament since 1990, will have to wait until the weekend to find out if it will be invited to a postseason tournament. If the Beavers decline an invitation, Thursday’s game was the last for seniors Gligorije Rakocevic and Stevie Thompson.
“It’s too early,” coach Tinkle said of deciding on continuing the season. “We need to remove ourselves from today, talk to our guys, see where we’re at mentally and physically. Then we’ll take a look.”
It seemed any momentum Oregon State gathered in the game’s first 23 minutes was quickly extinguished.
The Beavers scored the first four points of the second half to close within 15. But the Buffaloes answered with six straight to equal their biggest lead of the game.
Oregon State then found a rare spark that gave the Beavers some hope.
They ran off 10 straight points, seven by Tres Tinkle before Ethan Thompson’s 3-pointer with 14 minutes left closed the gap to 11. It was the closest OSU since the midway point of the first half.
Colorado came back with a 6-1 run to lead by 15. But the Beavers weren’t done.
They put together another 10-0 run, with Tres Tinkle again providing the most fuel.
He made a free throw, lobbed to Kylor Kelley for a dunk and then hit a 3-pointer to make it a 10-point game. After a shot-clock violation for Colorado, Stevie Thompson drove for two and Kelley flushed a lob pass from Tres Tinkle with 8:46 remaining to make it 49-43 Buffaloes.
OSU kept it close for the next three minutes before Colorado regained full control.
“Their energy caught us off guard and took us too long to get it out of our system, a funk, whatever it was. When we tried to turn it up it was too late,” Tres Tinkle said. “All season we’ve shown our ability to climb back into games. We knew we had it in us.”
Oregon State shot 34 percent (18 of 53), its lowest mark of the season, including 3 of 18 (16.7) on 3-pointers. Colorado shot 22 of 51 (43.1) with 6 of 16 (37.7) on 3s and had a 39-28 rebounding edge.
Despite a slow start after shooting 4 for 12 to open the game, the Beavers were still within arm’s reach before the Buffaloes took over.
Colorado went on a 13-0 run during a stretch of three-plus minutes in which the Buffaloes hit three 3-pointers — two by Shane Gatling — and OSU looked out of sorts on both ends.
Gatling’s third 3-pointer of the game with 6:55 in the half capped the run and gave Colorado a 28-8 lead.
The teams traded scores the rest of the half, but that wasn’t what the Beavers needed to get back in the game.
Stevie Thompson’s floater provided the final points of the half, and Colorado went to the break with a 37-18 lead.
Tres Tinkle and Stevie Thompson, the team’s top two scorers on the season, had 12 points on a combined 6-of-20 shooting (0 for 7 on 3-pointers) for the half, while Oregon State was 8 of 29, including 0 for 9 on 3s.
The poor effort resulted in the Beavers’ lowest first-half point total of the season and their biggest halftime deficit. Only one other time this season — down 13 at home versus Stanford — had OSU trailed by double digits at the half.
The Buffaloes, meanwhile, were 15 of 28 overall and 5 of 11 on 3s with 11 points by Gatling.