GAME NOTES: The Oregon State Beavers will try to win back-to-back games for the first time in a month when they visit the Washington State Cougars for a Pac-12 Conference conflict at Beasley Coliseum.
The Beavers are riding high after upsetting in-state rival Oregon, 80-72, on Sunday. The win was the second in the last three games for Oregon State, which last posted consecutive victories in mid-December when it won three straight. The Beavers are 10-7 overall, although just 1-3 on the road, where they will be again on Saturday against Washington.
The Cougars have had a tough time in conference play, with just one win in six tries. They have also struggled overall this season, with losses in six of their last eight bouts to fall to 8-10 overall. They do own a 6-3 record at home, where they will be on Sunday against Oregon.
These teams split the season series last year, with the road team coming away with a victory each time. Washington State has won six of the last eight meetings overall, but it is Oregon State that leads the all-time series, 165-123.
Roberto Nelson poured in 22 points and Eric Moreland finished with a double- double consisting of 15 points and 13 rebounds to lift Oregon State over Oregon. The Beavers limited the Ducks to 37.9 percent shooting and made up for 20 turnovers with a 42-24 advantage on the glass.
Nelson (21.4 ppg, 3.9 apg) is often at the head of the scorer's sheet, ranking first in the Pac-12 in that category. The 6-foot-4 guard, who also leads the team in assists, has scored 20 points in three straight games. Devon Collier (14.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg) can be a strong scorer for the Beavers, connecting on 62.1 percent of his shots from the floor. However, he had only nine points against Oregon. Moreland (10.4 ppg, 10 rpg) has been a steady force down low in just five games, while Angus Brandt (12.4 ppg) provides additional scoring punch. Brandt finished with 14 points on 5-of-9 from the floor against Oregon.
Que Johnson dropped in 18 points and D.J. Shelton tallied a double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds), but Washington State got only 20 points from the rest of the roster in a 76-55 loss to California on Saturday. The Cougars shot at just a 34 percent clip in the setback.
Washington State isn't just at the bottom of the conference in terms of wins and losses. The Cougars are last in the league in scoring (63.4 ppg), assists (10.9 apg), rebounds (33.9 rpg) and field goal percentage (.416). Their efforts have been hurt even more by the loss of leading score DaVonte Lacy (17.7 ppg), who has missed four straight games with torn cartilage in his ribs. Johnson (10.6 ppg) has done his best to pick up the slack in Lacy's absence, scoring in double figures in five straight contests. Johnson has not gotten the help he needs, however, with Royce Woolridge (9.1 ppg) and Shelton (7.9 ppg, 8.2 rpg) not scoring as consistently.
This is one of the few matchups the Cougars really have a chance at winning. However, the potency of the Beavers offense, especially up front, still makes that chance a slim one.
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