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Thursday, January 7, 2010
About that Oregon State loss

By Eamonn Brennan

I mentioned it briefly at the end of today's Morning After, but it deserves a fuller treatment: Oregon State lost to Seattle last night, and that is kind of blowing my mind.

It's not just that the Beavers lost. Under Craig Robinson, Oregon State is better than in years' past, but is still very much a rebuilding effort that will be prone to the occasional surprising loss. No, it's not just the loss. It's the margin of victory -- 99-48! -- in that loss that is so very mind-blowing. 99-48? To the Seattle Redhawks? Whaaa?

Turns out it's not all that difficult to explain. B-Pro's Kevin Pelton watched the game closely Wednesday night and has this explanation:

But wait, there’s more! Knowing that the Redhawks played so well, you might guess they were led by their NBA-bound star, Charles Garcia. Instead, Garcia spent virtually the entire evening in foul trouble and played just 15 minutes, most of them inconsequential to the outcome. There was something of a Ewing Theory effect at play. Without Garcia, Seattle U was forced to go small and become more balanced on offense. The result was passing that stretched out Oregon State’s zones and created open looks on the perimeter. Heretofore a mediocre shooting team, the Redhawks got hot and made 12 three-pointers in 20 attempts, more than making up for the loss of Garcia’s production. The undersized group was also quick to long rebounds, grabbing half of their available misses.

At the other end of the floor, the Beavers were as cold as their opponents were hot, shooting just 4-of-22 from downtown. Seattle U’s pressure also forced 20 turnovers, and the Redhawks drew at least five charges by reading Oregon State’s desire to drive the basketball.

The game was still within reach for the Beavers at halftime -- the score was 41-27, and any sort of natural statistical correction would have gotten OSU back in the game -- but Seattle got hot after halftime and OSU scored a mere 21 points in the second half as things quickly got out of hand.

It's hard to see this game meaning much about each team's performance as the season goes on. After all, this is a freaky occurrence; Seattle is not this good, and Oregon State is not this bad. (Just look at that box score! OSU didn't have a single scorer in double figures. How does that happen?) Oregon State is not a good team, but it's better than this. In the Pac-10, that doesn't mean much, but it should save Beavers fans the embarrassment of Wednesday night's result in the future. I suppose Beavers fans might settle for that much.