March 7, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Washington State Cougars guard Reggie Moore (1) makes a layup in the second half of the game against the Oregon State Beavers during the first round of the 2012 Pac 12 Tournament at the Staples Center. Oregon State won 69-64. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
If you want to know why the Oregon St. Beavers fell apart at the seams and ended up in the CBI instead of making an NCAA Tournament run, just look at their three point defense: 331st, one of the worst in the country ($). Oregon State lost many games they could've won because they couldn't guard the outside, giving up 40-50% on way too many occasions to be a consistent basketball team.
So down they went in their final game of the season, as Washington State used Abe Lodwick to nail dagger three after three (five of eight, to be precise) and Oregon State had no similar offensive counterpunch. However, the defense of Marcus Capers on Jared Cunningham might have been just as critical to victory as Lodwick's offense.
Capers' stat line won't wow you, as it had recently, but he deserves the bulk of the credit for holding Jared Cunningham to just 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting. The Cougars didn't play even one possession of zone tonight, and Capers more or less shut down Cunningham one on one. It was one of his best defensive performances of the season, if not the best, given the competition.
Oregon State is improving quite a bit as a team, as its offense has become one of the fastest and most efficient units in the conference, capable of putting up points on almost any foe (as it proved with the numerous upsets the team pulled off during the conference season. But the defense still remains at best mediocre to the rest of the conference, and it's holding them back from making that next big step. Getting torched by a team missing Brock Motum for most of the contest relying mainly on the spotshooting of Lodwick and the playmaking of Reggie Moore is a pretty damning indictment, and Craig Robinson will have to start fixing his team up this offseason if he doesn't want his team to start feeling the heat.
Meanwhile, the Cougars move onto the CBI Finals. It has to be a satisfactory finish for Washington State, who weren't really expected to do much of anything this season. To get the chance to end their season with a victory might not be worthy of laudibles for Ken Bone, but things could've been far worse for him considering what he had to deal with. Time to win two out of three against Pitt.