Scouting report: Oregon State
Game info: 6 p.m. Thursday at Edmundson Pavilion (10,000 capacity)
TV: ROOT Sports (Kevin Calabro, Lenny Wilkens and Jen Mueller)
Radio: KKNW 1150 AM (Mike Gastineau and Jason Hamilton)
Stats/schedule: Click here.
Game notes: Click here.
Coach: Craig Robinson is 53-58 in four seasons with the Beavers. He’s 83-86 overall in six years. His previous stint was at Brown were he had a 17-11 record.
Prediction: Picked to finish eighth in the Pac-12 by media.
Series: Washington leads 152-136 in a series that began in 1904. Lorenzo Romar is 14-5 against OSU and Robinson is 1-6 versus UW. The Beavers haven’t won in Seattle since 2003, Romar’s first season.
Last meeting: Then-No. 20 Washington had an eight-game winning streak against Oregon State before falling 68-56 on Feb. 3 at Gill Coliseum. It was the second of three straight losses for the Huskies and the Beavers first win against a ranked team since 2006. Washington missed 22 of 29 three-pointers and tied its season low for points. The game was tied 32-32 at halftime and OSU outscored UW 36-24 in the second half. Scott Suggs led UW with a career-high 18 points, including five three-pointers. Matthew Bryan-Amaning had 12 points and 10 rebounds while Isaiah Thomas Thomas committed seven turnovers, which offset nine points and six assists.
Previous game: OSU beat Portland State 101-68.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— Jared Cunningham (right) is the early front-runner for Pac-12 Player of the Year. He leads the conference with a 16.8 scoring average. He’s a slasher, extremely athletic and one of the best dunkers in the league. Cunningham likes to attack the basket and draw fouls. He leads the league with 99 free attempts and is 14th shooting 75.8 at the line. Against Texas, he attempted 23 foul shots. Cunningham also dropped a career-high 37 on the Longhorns. He’s also scored 35 this season. He’s been held below 10 points just twice and OSU lost both games. Cunningham is a below average perimeter shooter – he’s 11 of 46 (23.9 percent) on three-pointers – which is about the only thing he struggles with. He hasn’t made more than two in any game this season. Defensively he’s a terrific help defender who leads the Pac-12 with 36 steals. Cunningham is OSU’s best player, but he’s also emerging as a leader.
— Washington fans may not remember Devon Collier. He had four points and six rebounds as a freshman in last season’s game at Hec Ed, a 103-72 UW win. In the rematch at Corvallis, Ore. Collier tallied nine points and nine rebounds. It was a relatively quiet first year for the Bronx, N.Y. native. However, this season he’s doubled his scoring average and is up to 14.7 points per game. His career best is 25. Collier does most of his work inside and has never taken a three-pointer. He’s second in the Pac-12 with a 65.7 percent field goal percentage and first with an average of 1.7 blocks per game.
— Ahmad Starks is one of the best little guards in the Pac-12. Romar likened him to Tajuan Porter, but said he runs the team better than the former Oregon point guard. Still the comparison to Porter are legit. Starks is a shoot-first point guard. He’s taken more attempts (132) from the field and three-pointers (72) than anyone on the team. Starks has attempted at least six three-pointers in eight games. He’s third among OSU in scoring at 12.5 ppg. But Starks is more than a gunner. He’s second in the Pac-12 in steals (2.1) and fourth in assist/turnover ratio (2.4).
— Joe Burton is possibly the linchpin to Oregon State’s early success. The 280-pound junior is not a traditional forward. He rebounds and scores in the post like a big man, but he’s also one of the best passers in the conference. Burton leads OSU with 3.8 assists per game. His season high is 11 and career best is 14 against Stanford last season.
— Angus Brandt is the fifth starter. Normally the junior center is the last scoring option, but has been forced to shoot because opponents have focused on Cunningham and others. In the past three games, Brandt has scored 10, 16 and 21 points. He leads the Pac-12 with a 66.7 percent field goal percentage, but is capable of stepping beyond the arc. He’s 9 of 19 this season on three-pointers.
— OSU has used the same starting five in every game and each starter has more assists than turnovers.
— Roberto Nelson would start for most Pac-12 teams. The sophomore guard averages 11.2 points and 20.3 minutes as a reserve. He’s streaky shooter. His 43.5 three-point percentage (20 of 46) is ninth in the conference. Nelson took eight three-point shots in a loss to Idaho. He hasn’t taken fewer than three in the past five games. His career scoring high is 35 points. He did it last season at Arizona State.
— Freshman Eric Moreland, a 6-10 forward from Missouri City, Texas, notched a double double in his first game. He has two this season and nearly had a third. Moreland is a rebound machine. As a reserve, he leads the team in rebounding with 6.8 boards per game, which is ninth in the Pac-12. Moreland has snagged 14, 13 and twice collected 10 rebounds. He’s also third in the conference with 1.5 blocks per game.
— Backup forward Kevin McShane is the only senior on the team. He’s ninth on the team in minutes (10.6). The former walk-on is a three-time captain.
— OSU is first in the Pac-12 and eighth in the nation in scoring at 83.4 points per game. The Beavers have scored 100 or more twice and they’ve reached 90 points in six games.
— In their two defeats, the Beavers lost 64-62 to Vanderbilt and 74-60 at home to Idaho. OSU struggled against the Vandals zone and shot 2 for 23 on three-pointers.
— Robinson trashed the 1-3-1 zone, but OSU still leads the conference and is fourth in the nation at 10.4 steals per game. The Beavers have had fewer turnovers than their opponents in 11 games and lead the Pac-12 with a plus 5.4 turnover margin.
C – Angus Brandt, 6-10, 242, Jr., 9.3 ppg., 2.8 rpg., 1.3 apg.
F – Devon Collier . 6-8, 215, So., 14.1, 4.8, 2.1
F – Joe Burton , 6-7, 280, Jr, 8.2, 6.4, 3.8
G – Jared Cunningham , 6-4, 194, Jr., 16.8, 3.7, 2.8
G – Ahmad Starks , 5-9, 165, So., 12.5, 2.8, 3.0
— The high-profile matchup pits Terrence Ross against Cunningham. They’re the highest fliers and two of the most athletic players in the Pac-12. Not sure how much they’ll be paired against each other because Oregon State’s big front line may force the Huskies to assign Tony Wroten Jr. to Cunningham. Ross may spend most of the night against Collier, which is also an intriguing battle.
Still the key for Washington may be limiting Burton when OSU is on offense. The Beavers run their half court sets through Burton who becomes a point-forward. It will be interesting to see who Washington assigns to Burton. Darnell Gant figures to get the first crack, but the 230-pound senior will surrender 50 pounds to the OSU forward. Aziz N’Diaye is 7-foot and 260 and is best equipped slow down Burton. If things get out of hand, expect to see freshman Shawn Kemp Jr. who is 6-9 and 265.
Romar on Burton: “The beauty of their team is that they kind of fit together nicely right now and the puzzle looks really nice unless you take one piece away. Joe Burton has 46 assists and 26 turnovers I think at his size and taking care of the basketball like that and feeding his teammates he gets a kick out of getting the ball to other guys and letting them score. If you take that away maybe they don’t score as easily.”