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MailTribune.com
  • Beavers open season with rout of Niagara

    Nelson leads way with 22 points at 2K Classic
  • CORVALLIS — Roberto Nelson scored 22 points and Oregon State opened the season with a 102-83 victory over Niagara in the 2K Sports Classic on Friday night.
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  • CORVALLIS — Roberto Nelson scored 22 points and Oregon State opened the season with a 102-83 victory over Niagara in the 2K Sports Classic on Friday night.
    Ahmad Starks and Angus Brandt scored 18 points each for the Beavers, who had six players in double figures. Eric Moreland added 14 points and 13 rebounds.
    Marvin Jordan scored 17 points for the Purple Eagles, who trailed by as many as 25 points in the second half. It was the first-ever meeting between Niagara and Oregon State.
    The Beavers reached the 100-point mark in the opener after scoring 100 or more points four times last season, a school record.
    "I thought that we played such a team game; it was really nice to see. You guys don't know how hard it is to play your first game of the season against somebody who plays a match-up zone. So we had to kind of figure that out on the fly," Beavers coach Craig Robinson said. "I thought our guys did a terrific job doing that."
    Eric Moreland's dunk with 9:04 left in the first half gave the Beavers a 30-20 lead, before Nelson's 3-pointer made it 53-39 at the half.
    The Purple Eagles had a 9-2 run in the second half capped by Ameen Tanksley's 3-pointer that narrowed it to 66-53. Oregon State answered with its own 9-2 run that made it 75-55 after Nelson's 3-pointer. Devon Collier's dunk gave the Beavers an 88-65 lead.
    Oregon State shot 57 percent from the floor for the game, while the Purple Eagles shot 38 percent. The Beavers out-rebounded Niagara 52-37.
    It was the 65th win for Robinson, who is embarking on his fifth season with the Beavers.
    Nelson is starting at point guard for Oregon State this season after the early departure of Jared Cunningham, a star for last season's 21-15 Beavers team.
    Cunningham, who had a year of eligibility remaining, was the 24th overall pick in the NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers before he was traded on draft night to the Dallas Mavericks. The first Oregon State player to be drafted in 14 years, Cunningham averaged 17.9 points and 3.8 rebounds last season
    Niagara, which plays in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, went 14-19 last season. They are led by Juan'ya Green, who averaged 17.1 points and 4.5 assists last season as the MAAC Freshman of the Year.
    Against OSU, Green scored 14 points and had nine assists.
    "Obviously we were overmatched tonight," Niagara coach Joe Mihalich said. "We played a Pac-12 team that won 21 games and returned 4 starters. I was somewhat please with our offense, but disappointed with our defense. We have a lot of work to do on both end of the floor but especially on the defensive end."
    Niagara's last meeting with a member of the Pac-12 Conference was a 69-62 loss to USC in 1986.
    The 2K Sports Classic benefits the Wounded Warrior Project. The Beavers will host New Mexico State Sunday as part of the event.
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