Scouting report: Oregon State
Game info: 2 p.m. Saturday at Alaska Airlines Arena (10,000 capacity).
TV: Pac-12 Networks (J.B. Long and Ernie Kent).
Radio: KJR 950 AM (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).
Coach: Craig Robinson is 89-96 (.481) in his sixth season with the Beavers and 119-124 (.490) in eight years as a head coach. Prior to joining OSU in 2008, he spent two years at Brown where he amassed a 30-28 record.
Prediction: Picked to finish 10th in a preseason poll in the Pac-12 by media who cover the conference.
Series: Saturday’s game is the 294th contest between the teams, which is the third longest rivalry in NCAA history. Washington leads 155-138. The Huskies dominated the series with a 14-2 record between 2004-11. However, the teams have split the past six games. UW coach Lorenzo Romar is 17-7 against OSU, including a 9-1 record in Seattle. Robinson is 3-9 against the Huskies. He has never won in Seattle.
Last meeting: C.J. Wilcox scored 24 points as Washington pulled away late for a 72-62 win on Feb. 16, 2013 at Alaska Airlines Arena. Wilcox finished with three three-pointers and sank 7 of 8 free throws. He also had six rebounds and three blocks to offset five turnovers. If not for 19 turnovers – 13 in the first half – it might have been a perfect game for the Huskies. They had more rebounds (41-28), more assists (16-11), more blocks (five to two), shot better from the field (50 percent to 33.9 percent) and was more accurate on free throws (73.7 percent to 70.4 percent). Andrew Andrews added 11 points and Shawn Kemp Jr. had 10.
Previous game: Oregon State won 66-55 at Washington State on Wednesday.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— If Oregon State had a better record or if the Beavers weren’t located in Corvallis, Ore. folks would be writing sonnets about Roberto Nelson. Not sure there’s a more underrated player in the Pac-12 if not the country. He’s the conference’s leading scorer and he’s getting better as the season progresses. Nelson started the season with a career-best 36-point performance against Coppin State and he’s averaging 22.3 points against six Pac-12 games.
In the Pac-12 season opener, he gave Colorado 23 points and tallied 26 against California and Washington State. No team in the Pac-12 has been able to hold him under 16 points. He’s failed to score in double figures in just one game this season because he was ejected from the Towson game on a flagrant foul.
Nelson is scoring in a variety of ways. He shoots over 40 percent behind the arc and has had at least one three-pointer in the past 10 games. He shoots over 45 percent from the field and averages 13 shots in the past six games. And Nelson is deadly at the free throw line where he makes 86.3 percent of his shots. For some strange reason, WSU sent him to the charity stripe 15 times Wednesday and he made 11.
Nelson ranks sixth on OSU’s all-time scoring list. He won the Pac-12 player of the week award twice this season.
— Senior center Angus Brandt returned this season after sitting out in 2012-13 with a knee injury. He’s started 16 of 16 games, missing two contests in December with a knee injury. The Australian native has scored a career-high 27 points this season and he had 22 against California. Brandt is OSU’s second leading scorer with 12.5 points per game. However, he’s an average rebounder (4.4 average) and just an adequate defender who has fouled out four times this season.
— Oregon State went 8-4 in nonconference games. The Beavers are riding their first winning streak since mid-December. They’re 3-1 over their past four outings.
— Robinson has billed this season as a make-or-break season for him and the Beavers. Many folks in Corvallis, Ore. have waited patiently for a return to the NCAA tournament. OSU hasn’t made the Big Dance since Gary Payton led them in 1990.
— Eric Moreland made his season debut after serving a 12-game suspension for violating a team rule. The rust is evident and the 6-10 junior forward is slowly returning to form. Still, he’s had at least 10 rebounds in 4 of the past 6 games. He’s also scored in double figures three times. Moreland ranks second on OSU’s block list with 155.
— Moreland’s return pushed 6-8 junior Devon Collier to the bench. The reserve role may be a better fit for him. He averaged 13.4 points and 5.9 rebounds in 17 games off the bench last season. However, Collier appears to be slumping recently after starting the season with 32- and 29-point performances. He scored 10 points Wednesday at Washington State, which was the first time in double figures since Dec. 29.
— First-year starter Langston Walker-Morris doesn’t shoot a lot of three-pointers (11 of 20), but when he does there’s a good chance they’re going in. He’s making 69.2 percent behind the arc in six Pac-12 games.
— Hallice Cooke, a freshman from New Jersey, moved into the starting lineup four games ago replacing ineffective Challe Barton. Cooke leads the nation in three-point percentage at 56.4 percent (22 of 39).
— Oregon State leads the Pac-12 in three-point percentage in conference games (.511, 47 of 92). The Beavers are ninth in the nation field goal percentage (.496) and they 77.2 points, which is 61st nationally.
— Oregon State has outrebouned all six of its Pac-12 opponents.
— The Beavers signed Payton’s son Gary Payton II to a scholarship.
C – Angus Brandt, 6-10, 246, Sr., 12.5 ppg., 4.4 rpg., 1.7 apg., 55.4 FG%, 81.3 FT%
F – Eric Moreland, 6-10, 218, Jr., 9.7, 8.7, 1.8 agp., 1.7 bpg, 2.3 tpg.
G – Langston Morris-Walker, 6-5, 216, So., 3.8, 1.6, 62.5 FG%, 55.5 3-FG%
G – Roberto Nelson, 6-4, 195, Sr., 21.7, 3.1, 3.8 apg. 1.0 spg., 3.2 tpg., 86.3 FT%, 40.2 3-FG%
G – Hallice Cooke, 6-3, 185, Fr., 6.5, 1.9, 2.0 apg., 56.4 3-FG%