Oregon State brought the house against the Arizona Wildcats, exhibiting signs of why Beavers coach Craig Robinson just might be on a warming seat.
The horses have been there to be competitive, which has led to the Beavers being of the more physically-imposing Pac-12 teams for the Wildcats in the last few years. Devon Collier had that look in his eye -- the beefy forward pivoted and pushed his way like a poor-man's Zach Randolph to 14 points and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Roberto Nelson came out hunting for shots, and though he put in an inefficient 7-for-22 shooting night, score 24 points against a tough defense to carry OSU.
And then there was The Grab. Daniel Gomis' decision to cop a feel on Kaleb Tarczewski during a dead ball was ... well, it wasn't a momentum-swinging point, but it did add an odd moment where we wondered why the officials were taking so long to use replay on a non-foul -- that until FOX Sports 1 finally uncovered an inappropriate squeeze.
Anyhow, it represented the recent testiness -- excuse the pun -- of the Arizona-OSU series that's often gone beyond what's considered sportsmanlike.
Arizona could never separate completely until time ran out in a 74-69 win in Corvallis, Ore., on Wednesday, and much thanks can go Rondae Hollis-Jefferson's way.
Desperation showed for the Beavers, who attacked the offensive glass and rendered Kaleb Tarczewski and Aaron Gordon useless on offense and on the boards throughout much of the second half. The game was tied at 64 with five minutes left in the game, but that's when a quiet night for Hollis-Jefferson made all the difference. He made a layup, hit four foul shots and played a part in a key defensive possession that turned his block into two points.
Hollis-Jefferson finished with 13 points and six rebounds -- six points came in the final four minutes.
The Wildcats led 31-22 with just less than four minutes to play in the first half, but Oregon State whittled it down to a reasonable 36-33 deficit at half. The game went back and forth, usually in Arizona's favor, during the second half.
Nick Johnson was one of few constants in the backcourt for Arizona on Wednesday. He scored 25 points, grabbed six rebounds and had three assists, and Gabe York hit four threes to finish with 12. T.J. McConnell dished out eight assists, but then there were the issues in the frontcourt.
Tarczewski scored 12 and grabbed nine rebounds but had his lapses. Hollis-Jefferson really did save the day for Zeus and Gordon. Gordon finished with eight points on 3-for-9 shooting and grabbed just two rebounds as Collier and Moreland abused Arizona on the glass.
The 40-24 rebounding advantage for Oregon State was mostly a product of the second half. Sean Miller said in his postgame interview with FOX Sports 1 -- more on the broadcast in a second -- that the Beavs were and are the bigger more physical team.
It's not an excuse to say Oregon State was the team to make the UA frontcourt look soft, but a fact. Moreland is an NBA prospect, while Collier and Angus Brandt are battle-tested and high-energy players, at least whenever the Wildcats roll up to the court.
Human nature made Tuesday night a tough win for Arizona, but it's a win nonetheless. To keep Miller's message clear in the Wildcats' heads and the urgency there heading into the Pac-12 tournament isn't the worst thing. It's huge for Arizona to chase after a No. 1 overall seed, too.
But we revert back to wondering which Arizona team shows up in the postseason. While a prolonged Pac-12 tournament run is expected, time used for cohesive purposes is starting to run out.
About that broadcast
The FOX Sports 1 broadcast got even worse reviews from the faction of fans who find Bill Walton distasteful. A collection of comments for you to share: