Monday, December 15, 2008

“Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose!”

I spent most of Sunday afternoon watching episodes of “Friday Night Lights,” so forgive me if I put too much stock in a single victory for Craig Robinson’s Oregon State Beavers. His team is still an underwhelming 2-5, but Saturday’s one-point win over a solid Nebraska squad does seem an awful lot like a turning point in the young season.

Here’s Robinson take, at least:

“Not only did they close out, but they had to close out with sheer toughness. That was the beauty of this game. Talking about all the different things you have to do that allow you to be a winner; and for us, toughness is just as important as rebounds, turnovers and foul shots. It was really a treat to see these guys pull out a tough game like that against a very good team with a very good record.”

Sophomore guard Calvin Haynes, who scored 14 points in his first game of the season after finally getting his grades up to snuff, underlined Coach Robinson's points:
"I feel like we are finally buying into what coach is saying. We’ve got to win close games like tonight, and it’s going to be like this the rest of the year.”

Saturday night’s home win was the Beavers’ first in almost a year. Pretty good timing, too. The team plays seven of their next 10 games in Corvalis, including two likely gimmes against Seattle Pacific and Seattle, and a rematch against Howard, before opening up conference play in the new year against UCLA and USC.

Now, I’m not about to proclaim OSU as favorites to win the Pac-10, even if the conference is reportedly wide open. Still, the team’s latest win is a step in the right direction and a bit closer to what OSU’s Athletic Director Bob De Carolis had in mind when he handed the program over to Coach Robinson last April.

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