Colorado 74 - Oregon State 68
Box Score | Pac-12 Networks recap: [ooyala code="81bXc1YTokBxgnZctPzUqo_CKS1xtVWZ"]
LAS VEGAS — Wednesday's opening round matchup between No. 5 seed Colorado and No. 12 seed Oregon State was supposed to be the most lopsided game of the Pac-12 Men's Basketball Tournament. But Colorado coach Tad Boyle knew better than to underestimate the Beavers, who did hand his team one of just three losses this season at Coors Events Center in Boulder, a 64-58 decision to close the regular season.
"Having them come into our building and beat us on senior day got these guys' attention," Boyle said. "We have respect for Oregon State. They have talented basketball players. I don't know what's missing but their record is not reflective of their talent."
Colorado's effort reflected this respect, and the Buffs defeated Oregon State 74-68 at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Sophomore guard Spencer Dinwiddie led Colorado with 20 points while freshman Xavier Johnson added 16. The Buffaloes also were aided by the return of junior forward Andre Roberson (12 points, eight rebounds), who missed the previous contest because of a bout with mononucleosis.
The lead see-sawed for much for the first half but the Buffaloes went on a 7-0 run to take a six-point lead into halftime, including a half-court 3-pointer from Dinwiddie. They would never trail again thanks in large part to a 43-40 rebounding advantage.
With little time remaining, Oregon State tested Colorado's free-throw shooting ability by intentionally fouling in an effort to erase a double-digit deficit. Colorado was 23-for-32 from the line to ice the game, but the margin was uncomfortable till the final buzzer.
"We had to find a way to get it closer with the clock stopped," Oregon State coach Craig Robinson said. "I don't think it was anything masterful. It was what we had to do."
Sophomore guard Roberto Nelson led Oregon State with 20 points. The Beavers' season likely ends in Las Vegas at 14-18. 4-14 in Pac-12 play.
"While it didn't look like it this season, we've made a lot of progress," Robinson said. "When I first got here, we were tying not to lose by 30. Because of our players' effort, we were in every game we played in the Pac-12 this year."
Colorado meanwhile advances to face No. 4 seed Arizona Thursday at 2:30 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks.
Game Photos (Eric Evans Photography):