Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A potent offense has been a signature element for Oregon State this season. The main problem for the Beavers has been finding ways to slow down the offense of their opponent.
Utah offered no such challenges on Saturday.
Oregon State registered 16 steals and scored 23 points off 22 Utes turnovers en route to a 76-58 victory.
"We really pay attention to points off turnovers," Beavers coach Craig Robinson said. "That's a stat we want to try and optimize every single game. That way we don't have to rely on our half-court offense so much."
Jared Cunningham scored 20 points and Devon Collier added 14 for Oregon State (15-8, 5-6 Pac-12), which won for the fourth time in its last five games. Joe Burton chipped in eight points, 11 rebounds and six steals.
Cedric Martin led the Utes (5-18, 2-9) with 19 points and Jason Washburn had one of his best games of the season with 15 points, eight blocked shots and six rebounds.
Oregon State found ways to establish dominance around the basket from the opening tip. In the first half, the Beavers scored 26 points in the paint while limiting Utah to eight, and outrebounded the Utes 22-15. By the end of the game, Oregon State won the rebounding battle, 39-30, and scored 50 points in the paint compared to 24 for Utah.
"They just took it to us," Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "They've got a good basketball team. I think they are considerably better than their record. They've had some tough, close losses and we just didn't have an answer for their pressure."
Cunningham pointed to Oregon State's commitment to playing aggressive defense from the opening tip as a difference maker.
"It set the tone," Cunningham said. "We got a lot of steals in the first half and some easy buckets. Going into halftime, we had a comfortable lead so we didn't want to lose that. We just wanted to come out in the second half and just play harder."
Oregon State took advantage of a series of turnovers and bad shots from the Utes late in the first half to take control of the game. The Beavers forced 13 turnovers before halftime and scored 13 points off of those miscues, leading to a 38-25 lead at the break.
Utah trailed by a point when Cedric Martin scored a layup to make it 16-15. The Beavers then converted Utah turnovers into baskets on three straight possessions to fuel a 13-0 run and take a 29-15 lead. Cunningham accounted for a pair of layups during the run and capped it off with a pair of free throws.
Once the Utes fell into that hole, they struggled to climb out of it. Utah scored just one field goal - a layup from Washburn that made it 31-21 - in the final 9:26 of the half. After Washburn's basket, Ahmad Starks and Joe Burton made back-to-back steals in the backcourt and converted those into layups to put the Beavers up 35-21.
Utah came out strong in the second half, twice getting within eight points on a 3-pointer from Martin and a put- back from Washburn. With Utah trailing 46-37, Cunningham and Collier each scored a pair of layups - two of which came off steals - to push Oregon State's lead to double digits again at 54-37.
"We responded with stops first and then converted them (into baskets) and that's something we haven't been able to do on the road," Robinson said. "It was really nice to see the guys execute the game plan fully on the road. We typically do it at home, but we've had trouble doing it on the road."
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)