Nov. 19, 2011
Final Stats |
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Jared Cunningham scored a career-high 37 points to lead Oregon State to a 100-95 overtime victory over Texas on Saturday night in the semifinals of the TicketCity Legends Classic at the IZOD Center.
Cunningham, a junior guard who had 35 points in his previous game against Hofstra, played the last few minutes and the overtime with a split lip. He made several hustle plays down the stretch and went 8-for-8 from the free throw line in overtime.
"Jared is a handsome guy and he's always worried about his looks so I was more worried about that," Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson jokingly said. "I wasn't worried about him coming out of the game. He is a warrior. He looks slight but he is wiry strong and he's a huge competitor so he wasn't coming out of the game."
The Beavers (4-0) will play No. 18 Vanderbilt in the championship game Monday night at the IZOD Center looking for their first 5-0 start to a season since 1986. The Commodores beat North Carolina State 86-79 in the other semifinal on Saturday.
"To beat a team like Texas, first and foremost, is a terrific win for our program," Robinson said. "Getting 100 on them was even more spectacular; that probably surprised me more than anything. All of the way down the line, every single one of our players, even the guys who didn't get in, contributed to this win."
Oregon State reached the 100-point plateau for the first time since it defeated UC San Diego, 116-78, on Nov. 25, 1997. This is the fourth consecutive game the Beavers have scored 80 or more points; the first time the program has done that since Jan. 25 to Feb. 3, 1990 when they scored that many against USC (92), UCLA (80), California (98) and Stanford (84).
"When I started the season this year I said I like this team," Robinson said. "I like this team. And now you can see why. This is a tough group of kids. They just kept fighting, just kept fighting, and didn't give up. We were in foul trouble and couldn't make free shots in the first half and we just kept fighting. They do this day in and day out. What you saw was the result of what these guys do every day in practice.
Devon Collier added 17 points for Oregon State, which trailed 72-64 with 7:11 left in regulation. Cunningham tied the game at 80 with a layup with 1:40 left. Myck Kabongo of Texas (2-1) broke the tie with two free throws with 1:20 to play. Cunningham then made three free throws around one by Kabongo over the final 18 seconds to send the game to overtime tied at 81.
"I'm very proud of the team," Cunningham said. "They stepped up in the end and we played a hard game from the start to the end. This win means a lot to us. We need to come out the next game and be prepared for the next team. But at the beginning of the day, we came ready to play."
Alexis Wangmene made a reverse layup 54 seconds into overtime to give Texas the lead, but the Beavers went on a 9-0 run that started with 3-pointers by Ahmad Starks and Angus Brandt and ended with two free throws by Cunningham with 1:43 to go.
Cunningham, who is the first Oregon State player to score 30 or more points in back-to-back games since 1998 when Corey Benjamin did it in three consecutive games, was 20-of-23 from the free throw line and Oregon State was 31-for-43 overall in the game. Cunningham also added a career-high nine rebounds and played a career-best 43 minutes.
Brandt finished with a career-high 14 points after making 4-of-6 shots from the field, including 3-of-4 from the three-point line, while Kevin McShane added a career-high six points and two blocked shots.
J'Covan Brown had 25 points - 18 in the first half - and nine assists for the Longhorns, while Kabongo had 13 points.
Oregon State closed the all-time series between the teams to 4-2 with its first win over Texas since December 1967 in the Far West Classic in Portland, Ore.
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