Game #9-227: Texas-Pan American Broncs at Oregon State BeaversDecember 31, 2012 5:00 pm
Back in the first season of this site a wise man named Kyle laid out the arc of the college basketball season.
Early-season opponents give way to more important conference games, then the tournaments where it will, sooner or later, end in a loss. Today the first, non-conference portion of my Game ended at Gill Coliseum, where Oregon State hosted Texas-Pan American. On this last day of the year I was able to complete my goal of seeing a game in all four Division I arenas in Oregon, and I was able to take what will likely be my last road trip of the season. I'll be watching Portland and Portland State, but Oregon and Oregon State have only Pac 12 games left, and the next closest mid-major is Seattle, three hours away.
As much as I am happy to cover games in Portland as my contribution, I love having the chance to actually get out on the road and see a game in a different city, in the tradition of this site. The good thing about living in Oregon is that traveling to Eugene to see Oregon or Corvallis for an Oregon State game isn't very difficult, not nearly as much as some of the schools below the Line. Interstate 5 runs right through Eugene, with the exit for UO clearly marked. Corvallis is not that much more complicated, with a ten-mile drive down a four-lane state highway involved.
"We're not expecting that many people, so you might be able to move around a little," said the ticket seller as she handed me my ticket. Indeed, although the lower level sideline seats are for season ticket holders, many season ticket holders don't want to bother with getting down to Corvallis on a weekday for a non-conference game. The student section was opposite the benches but of course, most students are going to stay home on New Year's Eve rather than go back to campus for a day. An athletic department staffer came up to me as I was sitting in the upper level before the game and gave me and the fans around me passes to sit in open lower-level seats after the first media timeout. So, I got to see this game from higher up at midcourt and from four rows behind the OSU bench. As it happens, for games when school is out, OSU, Oregon, and Portland all allow fans to move closer to some degree (Portland State's gym is so small "moving down" is a nonsensical idea there). After the under-16 timeout the orange seats in the picture of the pregame introductions filled up with those of us who were fortunate enough to get passes. This arrangement benefits the fans because they have the chance to see the game from seats they normally couldn't, and the crowd looks bigger on TV.
There have been upgrades to Gill Coliseum since it opened in 1949, but sitting in the upper level still takes spectators back in time. Some of the wooden stadium chairs have been replaced with modern plastic ones, but the tops of the sections still have wooden benches. The history of OSU athletics is emphasized everywhere in the building, with pictures of All-America athletes in the concourse and murals at the top of the arena:
History is nice, but what the Beavers needed today was a win, even more so after their overtime Red Line Upset at the hands of visiting Towson two days prior. In recent years OSU has been in that category of above the Line school that goes heavy on the home guarantee games, with one or two against major conference opponents mixed in. It makes for an impressive-looking record but I have to wonder how well it prepares a team for conference play, especially in the improved Pac 12.
As for the Broncs, they may have scored a nice road win Saturday against Portland, but Brandon Provost, their leading scorer from that game, was held out with back pain. It may not have mattered because OSU followed the game plan Portland went away from. They found Joe Burton, their biggest forward, in the post and let him go to work. He finished with an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double. Ahmad Starks made five superhoops on the way to 21 points. As in the Portland game UTPA was outrebounded badly. Today though, they shot only 37% from the field, a combination that is not going to lead to many wins. The Beavers had too much size inside for UTPA's big men and the Broncs' guards had to force up contested shots. Their three leading scorers, Hurley Johnson (14), Aaron Urbanus (11), and Jesus Delgado (10), along with Provost, may cause some trouble for Great West teams but not against the type of athletes found on a Pac-12 team. Despite today's result, which as we know was always the likely outcome, they end 2012 at 7-9, tied with Utah Valley for the best record in the Great West, with a game at Houston before their conference season starts. Despite their weaknesses, if they play to their strengths they could contend for the final championship in the short, strange history of the Great West.
at OREGON STATE 84, TEXAS-PAN AMERICAN 59
TEXAS-PAN AMERICAN 7-9 (0-0) -- P. Smith 4-10 4-4 16; H. Johnson 6-13 1-2 14; J. Delgado 4-9 2-4 10; A. Urbanus 3-11 4-5 11; L. Toivonen 2-3 4-4 8; J. Leathers 3-8 0-0 6; J. Dantzler 0-3 1-2 1; R. Cabrera 1-2 0-0 2; J. Cleveland 1-5 0-0 2; D. Nash 1-3 0-0 3; S. Hines 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 22-60 12-17 59.
OREGON STATE 10-3 (0-0) -- E. Moreland 5-7 1-2 11; R. Nelson 5-7 0-0 11; J. Burton 9-12 0-2 18; A. Starks 8-11 0-0 21; D. Collier 6-6 0-1 12; J. Reid 1-2 0-0 2; C. Barton 2-2 0-0 4; V. Robbins 1-3 0-0 2; O. Schaftenaar 1-6 0-0 3; L. Morris-Walker 0-4 0-0 0; D. Jones 0-1 0-0 0; C. Mitchell 0-0 0-0 0; M. Moyer 0-0 0-0 0; J. Powers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 38-61 1-5 84.
Three-point goals: UTPA 3-16 (A. Urbanus 1-8; J. Delgado 0-1; H. Johnson 1-4; J. Leathers 0-1; D. Nash 1-2), ORSU 7-18 (R. Nelson 1-3; E. Moreland 0-1; A. Starks 5-7; L. Morris-Walker 0-2; O. Schaftenaar 1-5); Rebounds: UTPA 20 (L. Toivonen 5), ORSU 43 (E. Moreland 11); Assists: UTPA 9 (A. Urbanus 5), ORSU 24 (J. Burton 7); Total Fouls -- UTPA 10, ORSU 15; Fouled Out: UTPA-None; ORSU-None.