Before I discovered this site three seasons ago I didn't think much of PSU basketball and just focused on my team, Portland. Now I support both my local mid-majors, so when I discovered I might be able to catch them at Oregon State's Gill Coliseum, a place I had wanted to visit, and I could write a recap about it, and I could combine it with another game that day, I jumped at the chance. This season would include an actual road trip (Yes, I got credit for traveling to Portland State a couple weeks ago but they're closer to my house than Portland's campus.)
(Full disclosure: The "other game" I went on the road for was not eligible for the 800 Games Project. Mid-Majority readers are pretty smart so they can probably figure out where it was. I may be filing a recap from this "other" place later in the week.)
I arrived in Corvallis in plenty of time to find a (free) parking spot on the street and stroll to the arena. I had only been to a basketball game at Oregon State once, about 10 years ago. I was visiting some friends who went to school there and there was a game that weekend. It ended up being a blowout and we left at halftime. I wanted to really check the place out this time.
Gill Coliseum has that classic field house design. The roof is high and pointed, the stands rise up to the rafters, and the Beavers have a nice collection of banners hanging from those rafters. It opened in 1949 but even now you can see it was a premier venue back then.
There was a time when OSU basketball was one of the nation's elite programs. The banners in the 1980s were won by Ralph Miller's teams. Ralph now has his name on the court. The building itself is named for Slats Gill, coach from 1928 to 1964. He won 599 games and went to the Final Four in 1949 and 1963.
The other interesting thing about Gill is that the lower concourse actually has offices for the various administrators and coaches along the same halls fans walk around to get to their seats. The walls are decorated with pictures of past Beavers in various sports and the overall look is one of an office building, which by day it is. Portland's Chiles Center and the Stott Center at PSU have offices in them as well but these are set apart in their own areas of the buildings.
Going into the game I wondered if Portland State would be able to pull off the rarity of a Red Line upset on the road. In the opening minutes they looked a little tight as most mids do when on the road. Their guards like to drive to the basket but Oregon State's frontcourt made that difficult. There also were too many times the Vikings were inattentive on defense, allowing OSU players on the perimeter to lob the ball to a cutting teammate for an easy layup or dunk. Eventually the Vikings settled in enough to get their defense sorted out and only trailed by 8 at halftime.
The first 7 or 8 minutes of the second half saw the game stay at a 12- to 8-point margin. PSU was doing well to keep the Beavers from pulling away but with about 12 minutes to go and the deficit at 8, PSU came up empty yet again. After that it seemed as if they had done all they could. OSU extended the lead to 20, then beyond, much to the delight of the crowd. They must have been expecting a big win and here it was. With the Beavers sitting at 98 points in the final minute the crowd got up for the first time all night, hoping for 100 points. With a superhoop they got their wish. The only area in which this game did not go as expected was the foul count. OSU didn't attempt a free throw until about 12 and a half minutes remained in the second half. Honestly, I thought this had more to do with PSU trying to get to the basket and OSU playing aggressive defense than any bias by the officials, but try telling that to the home fans. The other highlight, for me, was seeing the South Dakota State-Washington score come up when the out-of-town scores flashed across the bottom of the video board. At least there was one RLU in the Pac-12, and it was a school that...let's just say I do not much care for. At all.
Despite the blowout loss I had a good road trip last night. I got to see first hand how tough it is for mid-majors when they play on the road and I was able to take a look around an old historic gym. Then I drove home to write about it for one of my favorite sites.
at OREGON STATE 101, PORTLAND STATE 68 12/18/2011
PORTLAND STATE 6-5 (0-0) -- L. McMullan 7-12 4-5 19; C. Odum 3-7 2-3 9; C. Tapscott 6-10 4-7 18; M. Harthun 3-8 2-3 10; N. Lozeau 3-6 0-0 6; R. Parker 3-6 0-0 6; M. Whitmore 0-7 0-0 0; B. Cataldo 0-1 0-0 0; M. Harvey 0-0 0-0 0; J. Smith 0-0 0-1 0. Totals 25-57 12-19 68. OREGON STATE 9-2 (0-0) -- J. Cunningham 6-14 1-2 15; A. Starks 6-11 0-0 17; J. Burton 4-8 0-0 8; A. Brandt 7-8 0-0 16; D. Collier 6-8 2-2 14; R. Nelson 4-8 3-4 14; E. Moreland 5-6 0-1 10; C. Barton 1-3 0-0 2; K. McShane 0-0 0-0 0; R. Murphy 0-0 0-0 0; C. Mitchell 1-1 2-2 5. Totals 40-67 8-11 101.
Three-point goals: POST 6-15 (M. Harthun 2-4; L. McMullan 1-4; C. Odum 1-1; C. Tapscott 2-3; M. Whitmore 0-3), ORSU 13-21 (A. Brandt 2-2; J. Burton 0-1; J. Cunningham 2-5; R. Nelson 3-3; A. Starks 5-8; C. Barton 0-1; C. Mitchell 1-1); Rebounds: POST 21 (R. Parker 4), ORSU 35 (E. Moreland 13); Assists: POST 10 (L. McMullan 3), ORSU 27 (J. Burton 9); Total Fouls -- POST 15, ORSU 16; Fouled Out: POST-None; ORSU-None.