With Obama in crowd, Oregon State tops Howard

WASHINGTON — Oregon State coach Craig Robinson could have used one of his brother-in-law's stirring speeches after his team's lackluster first-half performance.

But with President Barack Obama busy shaking hands with fans during halftime of the Beavers' contest against Howard, Robinson did the dirty work himself, delivering some choice words to his squad.

"The message was, 'If you don't play better than you're playing, you're going to lose,' Robinson said. "But with a little bit more colorful language, and at a higher volume."

Oregon State (3-2) responded to Robinson's words, using a 17-2 second-half run to erase a 33-32 halftime deficit and put away pesky Howard, 84-74 on Saturday, making the Beavers' trip to D.C. a success on all fronts.

"A few things we can accomplish on a trip like this: I can get my sister and brother-in-law off my back ... and we're trying to give our guys a good experience on the court and culturally," Robinson said.

Obama and his family showed up right before tipoff, and both teams seemed rattled by his presence, starting the game off with a host of turnovers and missed shots. But Howard (1-5) seemed to regain its composure, using scrappy play and clutch outside shooting to surprise everyone in the sparse crowd by taking the lead into halftime.

"I was kind of shocked when I saw him," Howard forward Dadrian Collins said. "I was a little nervous. This was my first time seeing him in person. We were a little too excited."

Oregon State began to use its size and speed advantages after the break. Joe Burton and Jared Cunningham combined to score 26 second-half points as the Beavers built a 64-50 lead. Oregon State shot 60 percent in the second half and capitalized on its interior play.

"We played more like a Pac-10 team in the second half," Robinson said.

Howard continued to hang around, trimming the lead to 69-63 before the Beavers closed things out over the final 2:50.

"We were battling," Bison coach Kevin Nickelberry said. "And we're asking a walk-on point guard we found downstairs to go against a Pac-10 team. We were tired."

Omari Johnson led Oregon State with 17 points and eight rebounds, while Anton Dickerson led the Bison with 24 points.

No. 6 Kansas 87, Arizona 79

At Las Vegas, Marcus Morris had 16 points and nine rebounds, while his twin brother Markieff added 15 points to lead Kansas to a win over feisty Arizona in the championship game of the Las Vegas Invitational.

Derrick Williams had 27 points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats (5-1), but he fouled out with 2:27 left in the game and Arizona never got closer than five points after that.

Reserve Thomas Robinson added 14 points and Tyrel Reed had 13 for the Jayhawks (6-0). Marcus Morris, who was selected the tournament's MVP, played with four fouls over the last 7:13 and did not foul out.

Trailing 44-39 at halftime, the Wildcats chipped away and Williams put Marcus Morris on the bench with his fourth foul on a three-point play with 16:11 left, cutting it to 51-47. Arizona took its first lead at 52-51 on a layup by Solomon Hill with 15:07 left. The Wildcats led 60-56 with 9:28 left but Kansas scored the next nine points and never trailed again.

Nebraska 60, Southern Cal 58

At Lincoln, Neb., Nebraska, led by Jorge Brian Diaz's 14 points, came from 20 points down to defeat Southern California.

Trailing by 13 at half, Nebraska (4-2) battled back with a 17-3 spurt that began with Diaz's short jumper with 17:52 left and was capped by Drake Beranek's 3-pointer with 12:45 left that cut the Southern Cal (4-3) lead to 46-44.

Diaz's wide-open lay-in off a pass from Christian Standhardinger cut the margin to 55-54 with 7:23 left. Nebraska took a 56-55 lead on a pair of Caleb Walker free throws with 4:44 left. The Huskers got a layup from Lance Jeter with 4:16 left and a rainbow jumper from Standhardinger with 2:17 remaining to go up 60-55.

The Trojans didn't score from the 7:52 mark until Maurice Jones hit a driving layup with 6.9 seconds remaining.

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