Scouting report: Oregon State
Game info: 1 p.m. Saturday at Gill Coliseum (9,604 capacity).
TV: Pac-12 Networks (Rich Waltz and Lamar Hurd).
Radio: KJR 950 AM (Bob Rondeau and Jason Hamilton).
Coach: Craig Robinson is 92-100 (.479) in his sixth season with the Beavers and 122-128 (.480) in eight years as a head coach. Robinson became OSU’s fourth-winningest coach with 92 victories to pass Paul Valenti, who had 91 from 1965-70. The coaches a head of Robinson are Hall of Famers Slats Gill (599), Ralph Miller (359) and Bob Hager (115). 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 295th contest between the teams, which is the third longest rivalry in NCAA history. Washington leads 156-138. The Huskies dominated the series with a 14-2 record between 2004-11. However, UW is just 3-4 in the past seven games. UW coach Lorenzo Romar is 18-7 against OSU, including a 6-5 record in Corvallis, Ore. Robinson is 3-10 against the Huskies and 2-3 at home vs. UW.
Last meeting: Nigel Williams-Goss scored a career-high 32 points, the most for any Washington freshman, and C.J. Wilcox added 14 as the Huskies rallied from 12 points down in the second half to beat Oregon State 87-81 on Jan. 25 at Alaska Airlines Arena. Washington trailed 45-33 with 18 minutes to go before taking control with a big run midway through the second half. The Huskies led by 11 with less than four minutes to play, but OSU cut it to 78-75 with a minute to go. Williams-Goss gave the Huskies some breathing room when he converted a three-point play after being fouled on a drive with 44.8 seconds left. Washington closed the game by making six free throws in the final 32 seconds. Here’s the video highlights.
Previous game: Oregon State snapped a three-game losing streak with a 68-75 win over Washington State on Thursday at Gill Coliseum.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
— In their first meeting, Roberto Nelson torched Washington for 31 points on 11-for-21 shooting. He was 2 of 6 on three-pointers and 7 of 8 on free throws in 37 minutes. It was five points shy of his personal best of 36 in the season opener. He also had 31 against Maryland.
Nelson’s offensive exploits have flown under the radar, but the 6-4 senior guard has been incredible this season. He’s led the Pac-12 in scoring ever week and his 21.0 scoring average is 12th in the nation. Since 1955, there have only been two players who led the Pac-12 in scoring that didn’t receive all-conference first-team honors (Steve Puidokas of Washington State in 1975; Brock Motum of WashingtonState in 2013). Nelson led the Pac-12 in scoring in league games last season, but only received honorable mention recognition. He’s currently the only player in the league averaging more than 20 points per game.
He’s scored in double figures in 40 of the past 41 games. The streak was broken against Towson when he was ejected in the first half after picking up a flagrant 2 foul. Between Jan. 9-30, Nelson scored at least 20 points in six consecutive games, which is the eighth-longest streak in OSU history (the record is nine straight).
Nelson scores in a variety of ways. He shoots over 40 percent behind the arc and has had at least one three-pointer in all but two games this season. He shoots over 43.7 percent from the field and averages 18 shots. Nelson is also deadly at the free throw line where he makes 85.1 percent of his freebies. For some strange reason, WSU sent him to the charity stripe 26 times in their two games and he made 21.
Nelson ranks fifth 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 missed two games in December with a knee injury, but has started every other contest. The Australian native has scored a career-high 27 points this season and he had 22 against California. Brandt is OSU’s third-eading scorer with 12.7 points per game. However, he’s an average rebounder (4.3 average) and just an adequate defender who has fouled out five times this season. OSU likes to run its offense through 6-10 big man at the high post.
— 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. It doesn’t look like the Beavers will make it to the NCAAs, but they have a good chance to earn their first NIT berth since 2005.
— Eric Moreland made his season debut Jan. 2 in the Pac-12 opener after serving a 12-game suspension for violating a team rule. Many believe the 6-10 junior forward will turn pro after the season and he could have fruitful career in the NBA. Moreland has the height, wingspan and quickness to defend all five positions. In Pac-12 action, he’s averaging 9.7 rebounds, which ranks third in the conference. Moreland is second on OSU’s all-time blocks list with 170 and needs three to pass Scott Haskin for the top spot.
— Moreland’s return pushed 6-8 junior Devon Collier to the bench. The reserve role may be a better fit for him. He scored 23 points on 6-for-9 shooting against Washington in the first game. The Huskies couldn’t stop him inside and fouled him several times. He was 11 of 15 at the FT line. Collier leads the Pac-12 in field goal percentage at 60.5 percent (112-for-185) and has a chance to become the first player to lead the league in that category two times since Washington’s Todd MacCullouch did it in 1998 and 1999. Collier led the Pac-12 in field goal percentage as a sophomore at 61.5 percent (176-for-286).
— First-year starter Langston Walker-Morris did a nice job defensively on Wilcox. The 6-5, 216-pound sophomore used his size bump and bully UW’s sharp-shooter, who had just four points in the first half.
— Hallice Cooke, a freshman from New Jersey, moved into the starting lineup 11 games ago replacing ineffective Challe Barton. Cooke is first in the Pac-12 and third nation in three-point percentage at 50.7 percent (22 of 39).
— Oregon State has won three of its final five regular-season games at home where it is 11-2. The Beavers are averaging 80.9 points at Gill Coliseum and 73.7 on the road.
— OSU is first in the Pac-12 and sixth in the nation in three-point field goal percentage at 40.9 percent (138-for-337), which would be a school record if the season ended today.
— The Beavers signed Payton’s son Gary Payton II to a scholarship. A standout at Salt Lake Community College, the 6-3 guard will have two seasons of eligibility when he arrives next season.
C – Angus Brandt, 6-10, 246, Sr., 12.7 ppg., 4.3 rpg., 1.7 apg., 53.4 FG%, 75.0 FT%, 34.4 3FG%
F – Eric Moreland, 6-10, 218, Jr., 8.5, 9.7, 1.8 agp., 1.9 bpg, 2.2 tpg., 43.6 FG%, 50.0 FT%
G – Langston Morris-Walker, 6-5, 216, So., 4.0, 2.2, 43.9 FG%, 42.1 3-FG%
G – Roberto Nelson, 6-4, 195, Sr., 21.0, 3.2, 3.6 apg. 3.0 tpg., 43.7 FG%, 85.1 FT%, 40.4 3-FG%
G – Hallice Cooke, 6-3, 185, Fr., 7.8, 2.2, 2.2 apg., 50.7 3-FG%, 46.3 FG%, 78.3 FT%