New York Colleges: Oregon State Beavers

Rapid Reaction: Oregon State 66, Purdue 58

November, 16, 2012
What it means: Oregon State picked up an impressive victory, but may have lost a key player in the process.

The Beavers won the consolation game of the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York, defeating Purdue 66-58 on Friday. But starting center Angus Brandt went down with what looked like a serious leg injury with just over five minutes remaining in the game.

Oregon State is now 3-1 on the season. Purdue, which also lost to Villanova here in overtime on Thursday, and lost its season opener at home to Bucknell, is off to a brutal 1-3 start.

The skinny: Simply put, this game changed when Devon Collier entered it. The 6-foot-8 junior forward, a Bronx, N.Y., native, scored 13 straight points for Oregon State in one stretch of the first half, when the Beavers took control of the game. He had 17 points and eight rebounds in the first 20 minutes. Purdue trailed 39-28 at intermission.

After Oregon State scored the first four points of the second half to make it 43-28, Purdue coach Matt Painter pulled all five starters off the floor. The gamble worked. Sparked by the bench, the Boilermakers climbed all the way back to tie the game at 56 with 2:17 left to play. But they never took the lead. Collier put Oregon State back in front with a pair of free throws, and then a huge 3-pointer by Eric Moreland with 58.3 seconds left gave the Beavers a 61-56 lead. They put the game away from there.

Star watch: Collier may have earned his way into Oregon State’s starting lineup here in New York. After scoring 21 points against Alabama on Thursday, Collier finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds against Purdue -- that’s a monster game. He’s crafty in the paint, and attacks the glass hard.

It will be a long flight home to West Lafayette, Ind., but Painter has to be excited by what he saw from freshman center A.J. Hammons on Friday. The 7-footer had a team-high 20 points (16 in second half) and eight rebounds off the bench, and showed some nice moves around the rim. He made eight of his 10 field goal attempts.

Number crunch: Here’s guessing Purdue will be shooting a lot of free throws in practice the next few days. After making just 16 of 28 in the loss to Villanova, the Boilermakers made just nine of 16 against Oregon State. Precious points left at the charity stripe.

What’s next: Oregon State does not play another game until the Sunday after Thanksgiving, when the Beavers will host Montana State.

Purdue will host UNC Wilmington on the night before Thanksgiving.

Rapid Reaction: Alabama 65, Oregon St. 62

November, 15, 2012
What it means: Alabama football fans are still smarting from Saturday's loss to Texas A&M. But their basketball team is off to a 3-0 start.

The Crimson Tide defeated Oregon State on Thursday at Madison Square Garden in New York City, 65-62, in the semifinals of the 2K Sports Classic. The Beavers fall to 2-1 on the year. It's a good early-season win for Alabama, on a big stage.

The skinny: The first half was very tight -- neither team led by more than five points, and there were seven ties and 11 lead changes. Alabama took a 35-32 lead into the locker room, scoring the final four points of the half.

Alabama opened the second half on a 12-2 run, taking a 47-34 lead. The Crimson Tide led by as many as 15, and appeared in control of the game -- until the Beavers came roaring back late. A 17-3 run by Oregon State was capped off by two free throws by junior forward Devon Collier (a Bronx, N.Y. native) that tied the game at 62 with 43 seconds remaining.

The biggest shot of the game? That belonged to Alabama sophomore guard Rodney Cooper, who drained a 3-pointer with 12.2 seconds left to put the Crimson Tide back up 65-62. Oregon State had two cracks to tie the game. With 5.2 seconds left, junior guard Ahmad Starks turned the ball over after receiving an inbounds pass along the sideline. Then, after a missed Alabama free throw and a timeout, with 2.2 seconds left, junior guard Roberto Nelson got the ball, but his half-court heave was off the mark at the buzzer.

Star watch: Alabama's got some talented guards, and they were the key to this victory. Sophomore Trevor Lacey, averaging 19 points per game coming in, scored a team-high 20, and made four of his seven 3-point attempts. Junior Trevor Releford scored 14 points off the bench, and Cooper added 12.

Collier, the local product, had a game-high 21 points off the bench for Oregon State. Starks, who scored 51 points in the Beavers' first two games of the season, had just three points against the Crimson Tide.

Number crunch: One thing stands out on the stat sheet above all -- turnovers. Oregon State had 20 of 'em, Alabama had just eight. That's the difference in the game.

What's next: Alabama will play the winner of the second semifinal, Villanova or Purdue, in the championship game -- Friday at 7:30 p.m. Oregon State will play the loser of that game at 5 p.m.

W2W4: Alabama vs. Oregon State

November, 15, 2012
Here are three things to watch for when Alabama (2-0) faces Oregon State (2-0), in the first semifinal of the 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

Tip-off is at 7 p.m., and you can watch the game on ESPN2 (and ESPN3).

RISING TIDE: Alabama made the NCAA tournament for the first time in six years last season, in Anthony Grant's third year as coach. Grant hopes to build on that Big Dance berth in 2012-13. The Crimson Tide were picked to finish sixth in the SEC this season in the conference's preseason media poll. They struggled to beat South Dakota State in their season opener, 70-67, and then blew out Division II West Alabama.

Through two games, the team's leading scorer is 6-foot-3 sophomore guard Trevor Lacey, who is averaging 19 points per game (and has made 7 of his 10 3-point attempts).

THE OTHER SIDE: Oregon State was 21-15 last season, 7-11 in the Pac-12. The Beavers didn't make the NCAA tournament, but they did advance to the semifinals of the College Basketball Invitational tournament. They were picked to finish eighth in the Pac-12 this season in the conference's preseason media poll. So far, they've beaten Niagra by 19, and New Mexico State by nine.

Through two games, the team's leading scorer is 5-foot-9 junior guard Ahmad Starks, who is averaging 25.5 points per game. Also keep an eye on 6-foot-8 junior forward Devon Collier (7.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg), a Bronx native who played for Bob Hurley at St. Anthony High School in Jersey City.

FIRST FAMILY: President Obama will be visiting New York on Thursday, to view the damage inflicted on the area by Hurricane Sandy. The basketball-loving commander in chief probably won't stick around long enough to catch any hoops -- but his brother-in-law will be there.

Craig Robinson, the big brother of First Lady Michelle Obama, is the coach of Oregon State. Robinson helped out with the President's re-election campaign, but now he's exclusively focused on trying to turn around the Oregon State program. He has a 64-71 record in his first four years at the helm.

Next year's 2K Sports Classic field set

March, 6, 2012
We've got a ton of college hoops to look forward to over the next month or so -- but it's never too early to look ahead to next season.

On Tuesday, the field for the season-opening 2K Sports Classic at Madison Square Garden was revealed. The four teams are Villanova, Purdue, Alabama and Oregon State. And the games will take place on Nov. 15 and 16.

Tickets go on sale at noon today, via Ticketmaster.