A Bright Future
The Oregon State Beavers men’s basketball team played their final game of the season last Wednesday against the Colorado Buffaloes, a contest they would eventually go on to lose by a score of 74-68.
And while the end result may not have been what the Beavers had hoped for, the team still showed a lot of promise for the coming years as their young squad–composed of just one senior in Joe Burton–had impressive moments and games that will pay huge dividends in making them a more mature game next year.
That being said, there were plenty of areas for improvement for the Beavers. Finishing with a 14-18 overall record and 4-14 record in the Pac-12 (tying with Washington State for last), OSU had more than impressive statistics but always found a way to play beneath their opponents.
Scoring an average of 72 points per game, the Beavers by no means didn’t put points on the board. Their troubles came in allowing their opponents to walk all over their defense and outmatch them on the offensive side of the ball. It also didn’t help that Angus Brandt was ruled out for the entire season after making appearances in just four games on the season.
Unfortunately for Oregon State, a combination of their regular season and Pac-12 record likely kept them out of a postseason appearance past the 2013 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament.Though the Purdue Boilermakers, a team the Beavers beat, made the CBI with an overall record just one better than Oregon State, the Beavers’ 1-6 run to end the season likely kept them from being selected.
Wanting to squeeze out just one more ounce of Beavers basketball before the long offseason, let’s recap what was the 2012-2013 Oregon State Beavers men’s basketball season.
Out of Conference Play
Oregon State’s season got off to a hot start in out of conference play, as the Beavers found themselves with a 10-3 record when all was said and done at the end of 2012 with conference lurking right around the corner.
A win over Purdue combined with close losses to Kansas and Alabama had Beaver fans, at one point, thinking that they could be in for a decent run this season. And with the likes of Burton, Devon Collier, Roberto Nelson, and Eric Moreland on their roster, who could have blamed Oregon State for being positive heading into conference play?
The most impressive out of conference game Oregon State played was their contest against the Kansas Jayhawks, which resulted in a 84-78 loss for the Beavs. The reason why this game stands out above the rest is because of the way Oregon State consistently fought back against a better opponent while showcasing their talent from three.
Taking just a three point deficit into the break, the Beavers resisted a Jayhawks team that shot a ridiculous 60 percent from the field over the course of the game. Shooting 40.6 percent themselves, Oregon State would use key rallies to bring them back in the contest throughout the second half and once again pull within three in the closing minutes of the game.
As it would play out, however, Kansas would escape the upset by hitting four free throws in the final 13 seconds. Despite the loss, however, the Beavers nailed 9-of-20 thee-pointers to give the Pac-12 a preview of their deadly accuracy from distance.
There was no doubting the fact that Oregon State was one of the hotter teams heading into conference play.
As enlightening as their out of conference play was, however, the Beavers’ conference play was a complete nightmare. Finishing with a record of 4-14 in the Pac-12, the only teams Oregon State managed to beat were Washington, Washington State, Utah, and Colorado.
That being said, the Beavers did not exactly have a nice, welcoming streak of conference games to supplement their impressive performance from earlier in the season. Opening with a 79-66 home loss to their rivals and budding program Oregon, Oregon State would subsequently fall to Arizona State, then-No. 4 Arizona, then-No. 24 UCLA, and USC to quickly establish an 0-5 Pac-12 record.
Whoever designed that start to conference play for the Beavers clearly had some sort of vengeance in mind.
OSU’s conference woes would continue, too. After showing some promise in a 74-66 over UW, the Beavers went on a three-game losing streak to place them back in mediocrity.
The only high point in conference play for Oregon State likely came in a span of one week, when OSU managed to down Utah and WSU while sprinkling a loss to Colorado in-between.
But that conference high was quickly mitigated by a five-game losing streak that was eventually snapped in their last game of the season when the Beavers managed to knock off the surging Buffaloes on the road and at least give some sort of promise to fans for the upcoming Pac-12 tournament.
As mentioned before, Oregon State finished in a tie for last place with the Cougars and would enter Las Vegas as the #11 seed.
Using the momentum from their win against Colorado just a few days before, Oregon State looked to have some swagger in their step when they took the court against the Buffaloes in the first round of the 2013 Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament. The end result would unfortunately not be the same, however, as the Beavers eventually lost the game by a score of 74-68.
Neither team shooting too impressively from the field, the game was determined towards the end when Colorado kept hitting key free throws despite Oregon State’s best attempt to claw back into the contest.
Player of the Year
Though a case could be made for Devon Collier to be selected as Oregon State’s player of the year, no individual was more important to the Beavers than Roberto Nelson.
Leading the team in minutes (1,000), field goals (179), field goals attempted (404), free throws (155), free throws attempted (202), and points (569), Nelson was the brightest part of a dreary basketball season.
Appearing in all 32 games, he impressed his conference opponents with his ability to hit just about any shot on the court while also vastly putting the team on his shoulders and improving his points per game from 9.3 in 2011-2012 to a ridiculous 17.8 in 2012-2013.
While 2012-2013 could be described as a down year for the program after a somewhat surprising 2011-2012 season, the future looks very bright for an Oregon State squad that will likely lose just Joe Burton this offseason.
And though his loss is significant, a young Beaver squad has the tools to vastly improve upon this past season and make 2013-2014 a very interesting season in the Pac-12.