Beavers shake off Towson letdown, wrangle Broncs 84-59

Beavers shake off Towson letdown, wrangle Broncs 84-59

CORVALLIS, Ore.. - Ahmad Starks broke out of a mini-slump with a game-high 21 points and Joe Burton and Eric Moreland each had a double-double as Oregon State cruised to an 84-59 win over Texas-Pan American Monday afternoon at Gill Coliseum.

Oregon State (10-3) bounced back from a tough loss to Towson on Saturday when they gave up a 19-point second-half lead and fell on a last-second shot in overtime. There would be no upset on Monday as the Beavers shot a season-high 62.3 percent, making 38-of-61 field goals and 7-of-18 from behind the arc, and tallied a season-best 24 assists.

"Well, this will be a nice way to ring in the New Year here coming off of a bad game and playing such a good game," Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said. "Actually being nervous about having a big lead in the first half, I thought that the guys were a little tentative coming out of halftime. But we called an early timeout and they responded great and just came back with a lot more energy and just kept their foot on the gas pedal. So that was very good to see."

Starks, who hadn't scored in double figures in the past five games, was on fire early and often as he made 8-of-11 from the field, including 5-of-7 from beyond the arc, to lead the Beavers in scoring for the first time since Nov. 30 when he had 25 against Kansas.

It's nice to see Ahmad sort of come back to his old self; I'm hoping that he's back for good," Robinson said. "I told him that he reminded me of that old movie `Invasion of the Body Snatchers' where the guys would be in a pod and be a replica of the guy who is actually alive. We had the replica for a little while there and now I think we have the real guy back."

Moreland had his fourth consecutive double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, and Burton was just three assists shy of a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Burton now has 605 rebounds to move into 10th on Oregon State's career rebounding list.

Devon Collier came off the bench once again and made all six of his field goal attempts to finish with 12 points. The trio of Moreland, Burton and Collier combined to make 20-of-25 shots as they dominated inside against the much-smaller Texas-Pan American frontline.

"I think going inside out is the way to go," Robinson said. "I think most teams would prefer doing it that way. It's like having a running game to go along with a good passing game. Going down low is like your running game and we wanted to make sure we set the tone there. We wanted to see if they could guard us down there. The way Joe got started it really showed us that we can keep going down low."

Burton scored the first 10 points of the game for the Beavers as they built a sizeable 42-24 advantage at halftime. The Broncs got to within 11 points at 14:02 before the Beavers slammed the door shut, which started with a Starks three-pointer at the 13:40 mark that ignited a 21-4 run. Oregon State led by as much as 30 points three times in the second half.

Texas-Pan American (7-9) had won five of six games entering Monday's game, but the Broncs only shot 36.7 percent from the field and were outrebounded 45-23. Hurley Johnson led them with 14 points and Aaron Urbanus added 11.

Oregon State concludes its non-conference season with a 10-3 record, the second-straight year the Beavers have won 10 non-conference games.

The Pac-12 season begins with a bang when Oregon invades Gill Coliseum on Sunday in the most-contested rivalry in college basketball. Tipoff is 7 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net.

"We should be full of confidence going into Sunday in our home gym," Robinson said. "I'm looking forward to getting the conference season started, and it's important to have Beaver Nation here as we are playing some of the best teams in our conference early. We have had tremendous support in our pre-conference schedule from our fans and I know it means a lot to our team to have that."