Roeland Schaftenaar had 19 points and six assists and Oregon State nearly blew a 21-point lead before holding on for a 75-69 win against Texas-El Paso in the opening game of the College Basketball Invitational's best-of-three championship series.
CORVALLIS — Roeland Schaftenaar had 19 points and six assists and Oregon State nearly blew a 21-point lead before holding on for a 75-69 win against Texas-El Paso in the opening game of the College Basketball Invitational's best-of-three championship series.
"Each game we still have guys getting better," said first-year Oregon State coach Craig Robinson, who took over a team that went 6-25 last year and has the Beavers at 17-17.
Randy Culpepper scored 20 points to lead UTEP (22-13).
The second game of the series is Wednesday at UTEP. The third game, if necessary, will be Friday, also in El Paso.
Oregon State scored the first nine points of the game, held a 35-29 lead at halftime and opened the second half with a 17-2 run to go ahead 52-31.
The Miners narrowed it to three points late in the game, as Stefon Jackson scored seven points in a 10-0 run and Arnett Moultrie's dunk with 1:14 left made it 66-63 Oregon State.
"We were up early and then, for some reason, we threw the ball away a couple times," Schaftenaar said, whose team was backed by a vocal crowd of 8,029. "And then they have some great 3-point shooters and they closed the gap real quick. It's what we know for next game."
UTEP coach Tony Barbee credited Oregon State for its defensive zones and traps. UTEP had nine of its 13 turnovers in the first half.
"Their pressure, their 1-3-1 (zone), bothered us a little bit," Barbee said. "We got looks. We obviously didn't shoot it like we normally do."
Lathen Wallace added 18 points, Seth Tarver 17 and Rickey Claitt 13 for Oregon State. Jackson had 17 points and Moultrie 16 for UTEP.
Jackson, averaging 24.6 points per game, had scored 20 or more points in 12 straight games.
UTEP entered the game in the top five in the country in free throws made and attempted, but the Miners had just nine attempts, making eight. Their previous low for attempts was 16.
The Beavers shot 26 of 43 from the floor. UTEP was 28 of 63.