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February 9, 2012
Oregon State coach Craig Robinson was hoping a victory on rival Oregon's home floor had shown his team how it's done away from home.
Apparently, the 40-minute drive from Corvallis to Eugene doesn't adequately simulate life on the road in the Pac-12 Conference.
Presented with the chance to show they'd grown, the Beavers fell flat at Colorado, losing 82-60 on Feb. 2. Boulder, Colo., has been a black hole for every visiting conference team so far, but the Beavers didn't play defense and weren't competitive.
On the heels of three straight victories, including the 76-71 conquest of the Ducks at Matthew Knight Arena, Oregon State expected more against the Buffaloes.
Robinson was disappointed.
"We weren't ready to play," he said. "The beginning of the game looked real good, and I don't know if it's the altitude, I don't if it's complacency, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that they played real good."
The Beavers came back two nights later to beat Utah in Salt Lake, but the Utes are easy pickings in the Pac-12 right now. Reality is, the loss at Colorado was Oregon State's 14th in a span of 15 road games.
Oregon State beat Cal and UCLA at home, but the Beavers won't challenge in the upper division until they can figure out why they have so much more trouble winning while playing out of a suitcase.
"I don't know if there's anything we can do about it other than play harder," Robinson said. "If we play well and still lose because of the altitude, then I'll deal with it."
Redshirt freshman Eric Moreland knows the score.
"We have to take care of these road wins," he said. "In order to finish in the top half of the league, you have to win on the road."
NOTES & QUOTES
??Pac-12 steals leader Jared Cunningham had four thefts in the Feb. 4 win at Utah, his 11th game this season with at least three.
??The Beavers missed all nine of their 3-point attempts in their 76-58 win at Utah. Oregon State went 29-for-52 (55.8 percent) on its shots inside the arc.
??Oregon State is now 0-6 all-time in Boulder, Colo., the previous five defeats coming in nonconference matchups vs. the Buffaloes.
??Junior G Jared Cunningham, the Pac-12 scoring leader, had 20 points in the Feb. 4 win at Utah, the eighth time he'd reached that plateau this season. That followed a relatively quiet 12-point effort in the Beavers' Feb. 2 loss at Colorado, which he left early after tweaking his knee in a one-sided game.
??Sophomore PG Ahmad Starks had reached double digits in scoring 13 straight games before being derailed with a three-point game at Colorado, then a six-point effort at Utah. He shot just 4-for-15 in the two losses.
??Sophomore F Devon Collier scored 12 points at Colorado, then 14 vs. Utah. He was averaging 14.2 points on 62.8 percent shooting over his past five outings through Feb. 4. Collier came out of the starting lineup briefly several weeks ago, but he recently had made certain coach Craig Robinson would want him on the floor.
??The Cougars' 63-60 loss to UCLA on Feb. 4 kept them winless at home against the Bruins since 1993.
??UCLA switched to a zone defense for much of the second half, effectively bottling up Brock Motum, who scored just six of his 25 points after the break. "The zone affected him," coach Ken Bone said. "And if it affects Brock, it affects us."
??The loss to UCLA was just the second Pac-12 home defeat in six games for Washington State, which was 0-5 on league games on the road through Feb. 4.
??Junior F Brock Motum continued to carry the Cougars offensively. He had 26 points in the win over USC and 25 vs. UCLA, and he was averaging 25.7 over his past four games through Feb. 4. The 6-foot-10 Aussie shot a combined 18-for-29 against the Trojans and Bruins, and he added 19 rebounds.
??Senior F Abe Lodwick made three of five shots from 3-point range and scored 11 points to go with seven rebounds against UCLA on Feb. 4. It was just the second time this season Lodwick scored in double digits. He missed the first 10 games this season due to a fractured left foot.
??Junior PG Reggie Moore had nine points, six assists and four rebounds against USC, then contributed 12 points but just three assists in the narrow loss to UCLA. The Pac-12's assist leader failed to record at least four assists in a game for the first time since Nov. 24.
Quotable:?? "We're going to have to go back to the fundamentals and start from scratch and remind ourselves how we got to where we were before the conference (schedule) started."-Oregon State coach Craig Robinson, whose team was 10-2 before the start of Pac-12 play. The Beavers lost five of their first six conference games before defeating UCLA on Jan. 19.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Key Matchups:?? The Beavers will set their game plan with the idea of better containing Washington State junior post Brock Motum, who went for 26 points in the Cougars' 81-76 victory on Dec. 31. Oregon State must take advantage of its depth advantage and should enjoy a significant edge in the backcourt.
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