LAS VEGAS — Eric Moreland and Roberto Nelson scored 20 points apiece as Oregon State beat San Diego 86-79 in the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic on Saturday night.
Moreland, who was seven of eight from the field, led OSU with 11 rebounds. Nelson was five of 10 from the field.
Devon Collier scored 18 points, and Joe Burton had 13 for Oregon State (9-2).
The Beavers shot 59 percent from the field for the game and led 44-29 at halftime.
The Beavers won because they remembered some experiences from the 2011-12 season, including losing seven games by five points or less, Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said.
“This was one of those games where we had to grind it out. It also was one of those games when you don’t play well, but you end up winning," he said. “I’m really proud of our team, and they didn’t panic. They didn’t give up. They executed offensively and buckled down. More importantly, they didn’t panic."
The Toreros shot just 40.6 percent from the field for the game, but they were able to close the gap in the second half. With just under 6 minutes to play, Christopher Anderson shot a 3-pointer to narrow the score to 67-64. John Sinis made two free throws, cutting the Beavers’ lead to 74-72 with 3:55 left.
But the Beavers scored the next seven points, claiming an 81-72 lead.
Johnny Dee hit a 3-pointer with 40 seconds left, and Chris Manresa made a dunk to chip the Beavers’ lead down to 83-79. But in the final 30 seconds, the Beavers made three free throws — one by Jarmal Reid and two by Nelson — to seal the victory.
Manresa led San Diego (6-7) with 18 points and eight rebounds. Ken Rancifer scored 14 points, Dee had 12 and Anderson finished with 11 points and eight assists.
“I was really worried (about not playing since Dec. 15 due to an exam break), and it took us about 20 minutes to wake up," San Diego head coach Bill Grier said. “I thought we played really hard in the second half and made a run at ’em, and it got down to the last three minutes. But we spent so much energy to try and dig out of a hole, we weren’t able to get stops down the stretch."