OSU men's basketball: Beavers head into big week of Pac-12 play

2013-01-10T00:00:00Z OSU men's basketball: Beavers head into big week of Pac-12 playBy KEVIN HAMPTON, Corvallis Gazette-Times Lebanon Express

A change of course is needed right away for the Oregon State men’s basketball team.

Granted, the Beavers are one game into the Pac-12 Conference season.

That, however, was a tough 79-66 Civil War loss in Gill Coliseum on Sunday.

With home games against Arizona State (tonight) and Arizona (Saturday) looming, the Beavers have a chance to jump into the fray of the conference race.

Staying the course set in the second half against UO means sinking into deep waters.

The Beavers led 47-46 when Ahmad Starks hit two free throws with 11 minutes, 2 seconds left.

That’s when defense disappeared for a long stretch for the Beavers, while the Ducks revved up their transition game.

Oregon proceeded to outscore OSU 33-19 to close out the game.

This was not an isolated incident for the Beavers. They squandered a 19-point lead in the second half against Towson and wound up losing in overtime.

Coach Craig Robinson said the loss to Oregon wasn’t as bad as it seemed after he watched the tape.

He said the Beavers played very well for 30 minutes.

“When I look at the teams that I’ve been watching on television that feel like an NCAA tournament team, we are right there. We are 10 minutes away from being right with that team,” Robinson said. “Getting that point across from a psychological and emotional standpoint is what my biggest job is now. I think from a basketball standpoint, we’ve shown that we can put together pieces of games. Now we have to put together whole games.”

The Beavers need to figure out by tonight how to play a full 40 minutes on both ends of the court.

ASU will be in Gill Coliseum for an 8:30 p.m. tip.

There’s no looking past the Sun Devils this season, even with No. 4 Arizona up next.

The Sun Devils are 13-2 overall and are tied for first in the Pac-12 with UA and UCLA at 2-0.

This ASU team seems to have all the parts necessary to make up a contender.

Carrick Felix, a 6-foot-6 guard/forward, averages 15.1 points and 7.9 rebounds.

Jordan Bachynski patrols the middle, using his 7-2 frame to block 4.6 shots a game and grab 7.1 rebounds.

Jonathan Gilling also averages 7.1 boards.

The difference maker has been freshman point guard Jahii Carson. Carson leads the team with 16.7 points a game and 5.4 assists.

His presence has made a marked spark in ASU’s once-deliberate offense.

“When you get a player like Jahii Carson who has the ball in his hands a lot, you have to play that way,” Robinson said. “It’s not a wholesale surprising look by them. Carrick Felix has come back a much better player. I think Bachynski has come back as a much better player. It shows in their record. It’s a really good looking team.”

Carson verbally committed to Oregon State but changed his mind and eventually signed with the Sun Devils.

He clearly would have made an immediate impact for the Beavers, who lack depth in the backcourt, but Robinson took it in stride.

“I coach my players and not anybody else’s,” he said. “It’s part of the game when you have somebody who you thought you had and they end up going somewhere else. But there’s no emotion in it. I coach the guys who are in this locker room and we win or lose together.”

Kevin Hampton is sports reporter for the Gazette-Times. He can be reached at 541-758-9519 or kevin.hampton@lee.net.

Copyright 2016 Lebanon Express. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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