As I clamored behind the the Beavers up the stairwell and onto the court before tipoff, Joe Burton, with a newly shaved head, told me “Coach said we have to play hard, stay focused. Stick together. Stick to the game plan.”
For most of the first half, that's exaclty what they did. The Beavers went blow for blow with the Wildcats for the first fifteen minutes. Then it began to slip away. And eight point deficit going into the half doubled with ten minutes left in the game.
For perspective, the Beavers put up a tough, at time resilient fight against a top five team. Ahmad Starks had 18 points, Joe Burton adding 15 and 8 rebounds, and Devon Collier marked his second double-double (13, 13) of the season. Roberto Nelson played with an emotional fervor that served him well, as we saw flashes of a solid inside out game towards the end.
But it wasn't enough. The Beavers lost 70-80
The defense let the Cats get away with too many easy shots, making ten from beyond the arc. And OSU was out rebounded by 40-32. Arizona's lead scorer walked away with 16 points and 5 rebounds.
The Beavers are now 0-3 in the league for the first time in five seasons. And the Wildcats, with support from the Rose City Cats up in the corner, may have reclaimed a little mojo.
Here are some plays that drove the game
Burton scored the Beavers' first bucket. 2-2 early.
The Cats played Starks for a 3-ball and he drove to the cup for a layup.
Roberto was aggressive taking the ball to the hole. He gout fouled twice and mades all four free throws. 13-10 Arizona.
Roberto drives to the bucket once again and is fouled once again.
Ahmad dribbles the ball straight up the floor and unguarded to nail a triple and get withing a point of the Wildcas. 17-16
Ahmad Starks bangs another triple to cut the Arizona lead to 24-23. Starks with 10 points already.
Arizona goes on a 15-4 run in the first half up to 15:57 in the game.
Joe Burton made a fadeaway jumper to stop the 6-0 run and cut the lead to 49-39. 15:11 to play.
Joe Burton was working hard all night to get those rebounds
Burton tossed one to the corner to Olaf who nails a 3-pointer. 60-48. 11:47 to play
Burton set up a nice pick for Starks to hit a 3
Arizona knocked down another 3-pointer, their 10th of the game, to take a 67-50 lead with 9:41 to play.
Burton mades a reverse layup and Jarmal gots a steal. Beavs trail 70-59 with 6:38 on the clock.
Roberto nailed a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 70-57 with 7:15 to play. It's now or never to make a run in this game.
Then the Cats went on a shooting spree. Game over.
Rapid Reaction: Beavers Let Another One Get Away
January 12, 2013, 7:15 pm