Oregon State made the second half its own Saturday afternoon and rejuvenated its chase for a top-five seed and a first-round bye at the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament.
Behind a big game from Jarod Lucas and contributions throughout, the Beavers outscored Stanford 40-28 after halftime to claim a 73-62 win at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif.
“We’re really starting to gel at the right time,” said Lucas, whose team has won three out of the last four.
Lucas had a career-high 26 points and teammate Ethan Thompson added 13 points, four rebounds and three assists.
A decisive late 9-0 run gave Oregon State (13-11, 9-9) a sweep of the Bay Area schools and the program’s second two-game conference sweep since 2009, which was the last time the Beavers defeated California and Stanford on the same road trip.
“We didn’t panic and the guys started believing,” Beavers coach Wayne Tinkle said. “That’s what we’ve been talking about. If we will just stay together and everybody keep great attitudes … we’re very confident we can play at a high level. Their focus defensively was incredible, and then the offensive execution and playmaking by the guys was great.”
Oregon State leaned on its top two scorers in Lucas and Thompson down the stretch, and they combined for the Beavers’ final 17 points.
Thompson’s 3-pointer extended the advantage after the Cardinal (14-11, 10-9) had cut an eight-point deficit to two. Lucas hit three straight free throws after he was fouled by Bryce Wills on a 3-pointer.
Thompson then blocked a Lukas Kisunas dunk try and Lucas hit his second of two 3-pointers with 3:15 remaining to finish a 9-0 run for an 11-point lead. The Cardinal would get no closer than seven from there, and the Beavers score their final eight points at the foul line to ice the game.
Lucas shot 7 of 11 from the floor, 10 of 11 at the foul line and had a career-best three steals. The sophomore guard has scored 20 or more points three times in his college career and all have come against Stanford. He had 22 versus the Cardinal earlier this season.
“We’re thrilled with the way he played,” Tinkle said. “He really stepped up and made some great plays for us. But his defense … he’s been really good these last four or five games whether we’re in zone or man.”
Warith Alatishe added 10 points and eight rebounds and Rodrigue Andela eight points and six rebounds for the Beavers.
Ziaire Williams had 14 points and Kisunas 12 points and eight rebounds for Stanford, which was without Oscar da Silva due to a leg injury that cost the Cardinal’s leading scorer a second straight game. In an 81-71 win at Oregon State earlier this season, the senior forward had 31 points on 11-for-16 shooting plus 10 rebounds and four assists.
The loss dealt a serious blow to Stanford’s NCAA tournament hopes. The Cardinal entered the day solidly on the bubble to make the 68-team field.
Saturday’s result also moved Oregon State within half a game of Stanford for the fifth and final first-round bye in the conference tournament.
The Beavers finish the regular season at Utah on Wednesday and at home against Oregon next Sunday. The Cardinal has just one game remaining, at USC on Wednesday.
“We pride ourselves in building this deal and peaking at the right time,” Tinkle said. “There were some frustrating games, I understand, early in the season and the middle of the season. But it’s all working toward peaking at the right time and playing your best ball in late February and into March. That’s our challenge now. We’ve got to handle the success we’ve had the right way.”
Oregon State shot 26 of 56 overall, 5 of 13 on 3-pointers and 16 of 21 at the free-throw line. Stanford was 24 of 51, 9 of 23 and 5 of 7, respectively.
It was an offensive slog for both teams to open the second half.
The Beavers scored five straight, on a Lucas jumper and Roman Silva’s conventional three-point play to go ahead 38-36.
Andela and Alatishe got involved in the offense in a big way after Stanford retook the lead. Andela scored off a Lucas assist and Alatishe scored two straight baskets to complete an 8-0 run for a 46-40 lead.
The Cardinal closed within two before Thompson found Andela for a layin and Alatishe drove for another. Soon after, Alatishe hit Silva inside as the Beavers converted again while making 7 of 11 shots to rebuild its cushion.
Stanford made a run, using an 8-2 to close within 56-54 on a Wills dunk with 5:33 left.
Oregon State forced Stanford into seven turnovers in the first seven-plus minutes of the second half. The Cardinal had 16 for the game, 11 after halftime.
A roller coaster of a first half saw the Beavers got to halftime with a 34-33 deficit.
OSU made three of its first four shots but just three of its next 10.
The second stretch allowed Stanford to use a 12-0 run, with the last seven points from Jaiden Delaire, to go ahead 22-13.
The Cardinal later extended to its biggest lead of the half at 10 before the Beavers got a Lucas 3-pointer to start what would become a 14-0 run that covered nearly four minutes.
Lucas had seven points in the run, and Andela capped it with a dunk off a Tariq Silver assists to put OSU ahead 33-29.
Stanford answered with the last five points of the half for a one-point lead.
Lucas had 11 points, three rebounds and two steals at the break.