STANFORD, California — Whatever momentum Oregon State had a month ago with a strong start to the Pac-12 men’s basketball schedule is now fading from the rear-view mirror.
The Beavers stumbled out of the gate again Thursday night, getting buried in the first half behind a lackluster defense.
Unable to match the energy of a Stanford team also hungry for a win, Oregon State’s second-half rally wasn’t enough in an 80-71 loss at Maples Pavilion.
Drew Eubanks had 19 points, six rebounds and two blocks for Oregon State, (11-10, 3-6), which is still yet to lose a game by single digits thanks to Zach Reichle’s 3-pointer in the closing seconds.
Tres Tinkle added 18 points and Ethan Thompson and Stevie Thompson 10 apiece for the Beavers, who play at California (7-16, 1-9) on Saturday.
Reid Travis had 24 points and nine rebounds for Stanford (12-11, 6-4), which ended a three-game losing streak.
Down 15 at halftime, OSU showed a spark soon after its return to the floor with a 9-0 run to close within 11. Ethan Thompson’s 3-pointer with 14:32 left made it 52-41.
But Stanford answered with its own 7-0 stretch. The Beavers made one more run at the Cardinal. Eubanks, who turned 21 Thursday, had the first two and last two points of another 9-0 run that got the deficit to single digits for the first time since the first three minutes of the game.
OSU kept chipping away and closed within six on Eubanks’ three-point play with 8:06 to go. Stanford scored the game’s next seven points, all at the free-throw line in a two-minute spurt, to go back ahead 13.
The Beavers got no closer than 11 from there.
Stanford shot 55.8 percent (29 of 52), a season-high percentage allowed by the Beavers. Oregon State was 24 of 49 (49.0).
It was Oregon State’s fifth loss in six games after a 2-1 Pac-12 start and the program’s 17 straight road defeat, 12 of those coming in conference play.
In a game matching teams struggling in recent weeks, the Cardinal treated much of the first 20 minutes as a layup drill.
For the second straight first half, Oregon State, the Pac-12’s defensive leader in scoring and field goal percentage in conference games, looked far from it.
The Cardinal scored the game’s first 12 points, nine from Travis at point-blank range, and never looked back.
Stanford later led 20-3 and 27-7. Oregon State got no closer than 12 and the home team led 43-28 at halftime. The Beavers’ two highest point totals allowed in the first half of games this season have come in the past two contests.
The Cardinal shot 62.1 percent (18-29) from the floor thanks to a 26-12 advantage in the paint and a 19-5 edge in points off turnovers.
The Beavers had 13 turnovers in the half, with seven of those coming in the game’s first eight minutes. Eubanks and Tres Tinkle combined for seven of those.
OSU couldn’t slow down Travis, who had 21 points at the break after making 9 of his first 10 shots, including two 3-pointers.
The Beavers held Michael Humphrey (11.4 points) scoreless in the first half, but it didn’t matter with way Travis was putting the ball in the basket.
Oregon State freshman guard Xavier Smith was sent into the game late in the half and again late in the game. It was his first playing time since he saw one minute in the Pac-12 opener against Colorado.
Fellow reserve Tanner Sanders played four second-half minutes, also logging his first time since the Colorado game.
Tres Tinkle led the Beavers at halftime with eight points. Eubanks, who scored a combined eight points on six shots the past two games, had seven points and five rebounds.
Five days earlier, the Beavers saw Oregon shoot 65.2 percent in the first half and lead by 16 at halftime. OSU found some defense in the second half of that one but it proved to be too much ground to make up in a nine-point loss.
This was the only game between the two teams this season due to the Pac-12’s unbalanced schedule.