Monday, November 12, 2012
CORVALLIS — Ahmad Starks scored a career-high 33 points and Oregon State defeated New Mexico State 71-62 in a regional game of the 2K Sports Classic on Sunday night.
Joe Burton added 13 points for the Beavers, who improved to 2-0.
It was the opener for the Aggies, who went 26-10 last season and won the Western Athletic Conference tournament championship for a trip to the NCAA tournament.
Tyrone Watson and Daniel Mullings had 14 points apiece for New Mexico State, which trailed by as many as 14 points after leading by six early in the first half.
The Aggies took a 17-12 lead on Watson's jumper before Tshilidzi Nephawe added a free throw.
But Starks hit a 3-pointer and a layup that touched off a 9-2 run to put the Beavers in front 21-20 after Burton's layup. Eric Moreland's layup extended Oregon State's lead to 30-22 while the Aggies struggled to make shots, and the Beavers cruised to a 41-30 lead at halftime.
Starks' layup made it 50-36 with 14 minutes left. The Aggies pulled within 68-61 on Renaldo Dixon's dunk with 1:37 remaining, then Bandja Sy made the second of a pair of free throws to narrow it further, but it was as close as they would come.
New Mexico made only 1 of 11 3-point attempts, and made just 59.4 percent (19 of 32) of its free throws. Overall, the Aggies shot 32.6 percent from the floor, while the Beavers shot 42.2 percent.
Watson and Mullings were the only returning starters for the Aggies, who went to the NCAA tournament last season but lost in their opener against Indiana.
The Beavers, who finished last season 21-15, opened their season Friday night with a 102-83 victory over Niagara in the 2K Sports Classic, which benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.
Oregon State returns four starters this season, but lost top scorer Jared Cunningham, who decided to declare early for the NBA draft. Roberto Nelson, who played last season off the bench, gets a starting role this season in Cunningham's place.
Nelson finished with nine points against the Aggies.
Oregon State went into the game with a 2-0 series advantage vs. New Mexico State, but the teams had not met since 1960.