Beavers beat buzzer, fell No. 9 Arizona

Oregon State guard Jordan Pope (0) drives as Arizona defends in a game where he scored 31 points and a game winner on Jan. 25, 2024
Oregon State guard Jordan Pope (0) drives as Arizona defends in a game where he scored 31 points and a game winner on Jan. 25, 2024
PJ Royland

Swish. Chaos.

These are the only words that need to be known from the basketball game between Oregon State and Arizona on Thursday night.

In a game in which Arizona held the lead for almost 29 minutes versus Oregon State’s almost five minutes, it was only the final shot that mattered. 

Beavers 83. Wildcats 80.

When Jordan Pope hit a buzzer-beating, game-winning three-point shot as time expired, he didn’t just win the game, he didn’t just knock off the number nine team in the country, he incited the Beavers’ fans to storm the court.

Leading all players with 31 points, Pope was the star of the game. He was 9/15 from the field, including five-of-eight from beyond the arc and dished out five assists as well. 

Oregon State entered the game with a 9-9 record overall and 2-6 in conference play while the Wildcats walked into Gill Coliseum at 14-4 while sporting a 5-2 record in the PAC-12. 

The Beavers found themselves down early, trailing by as much as 12 in the first half, but their rowdy and inebriated fanbase was not to be deterred by any deficit. In a first half that seemed to be going by chalk, the Beavers found themselves trailing 21-33 when Arizona’s Oumar Ballo sank a free throw. 

But Oregon State did not bow out.

Beginning the second period with a 44-36 lead, Arizona tacked on a two-point shot from Caleb Love only seven seconds into the half.

That was the end of Easy Street.

The Beavers responded immediately with a two-point field goal of their own from Tyler Bilodeau. Slowly, steadily, the Beavers gnawed away at the Wildcats’ lead, trying to fell a college basketball powerhouse like a tree.

It worked.

Embarking on a 22-12 run, the Beavs tied the game at 58 when Pope made a three-pointer with 11:22 left in the game. The Wildcats did not wilt; they immediately took back the lead with a two-point shot from Keshad Johnson. 

It was only when Tyler Bilodeau put away another three-point shot with 7:40 remaining that Oregon State had its first lead since the opening minute of the game. 

From there, the Beavers and WIldcats spent the next two minutes trading shots until OSU nailed three straight three-point shots while Arizona missed, turned the ball over, missed again, and then missed two free throws.

Pope. Swish.

Rataj. Swish.

Bilodeau. Swish.

With 2:27 left, OSU maintained 77-68, but Arizona would not go away. Arizona responded with a three-pointer from Love, who was fouled on his attempt and sank the free throw. A foul from Bilodeau sent Arizona’s Johnson to the line, who cut the lead to 77-74.

The Beavers’ fans stayed deafening throughout the final minutes.

After Pope was fouled on a three-point attempt with 1:27 left, he coolly dropped three consecutive free throws. 

Arizona sent Johnson to the paint, and with a dunk it was 80-76. Pope turned it over, and the Wildcats’ Larson put in a layup. 80-78. 

The Beavers’ Christian Wright got blocked on a three-point attempt then Michael Rataj turned it over to Keshad Johnson who threw it to Pelle Larsson. Larsson was fouled and nailed both free throws. 

Tie game. 11 seconds left.

Pope takes the inbounds pass, runs to the corner, man in his face, puts up the three.


Buzzer. Beaten. 

Game over.

The Beavs seek to keep the good times rollin’ at Gill Coliseum on Jan. 27 when they face Arizona State at 4 p.m.

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