Amazing year for OSU men was historic

Oregon State dazzled fans with a comeback, but just missed the Final Four

Cliff Pfenning
June 5, 2021

How close were the Oregon State Beavers to reaching the Final Four this season?

About three minutes, a few missed free throws and some defensive rebounds.

The 12th-seeded Oregon State men's basketball team rallied from a 17-point deficit in the second half to tie second-seeded Houston with 3:48 left in the Midwest Region final.

But the Cougars hit a 3-pointer with 3:21 left - after one of their 19 offensive rebounds - and the Beavers could not hit another basket until five seconds remained on the way to a 67-61 loss.

The Beavers, who had been shooting 88 percent at the free-throw line, hit just 11 of 20 attempts in the game and were outrebounded 41-29.

Overall, Houston had 62 field-goal attempts to just 47 for the Beavers.

Maurice Calloo had 13 points off the bench to lead OSU. Ethan Thompson scored 11 points on 3-of-12 shooting. No other Oregon State player reached double figures.

Houston, which led 34-17 at halftime, reached its first Final Four since 1984.

Oregon State has not been to the Final Four since 1963.

Having scored a season-low of 17 points in the first half, and with Thompson scoring just one point, the Beavers made their rally behind a shifting zone defense, and reached 38 points in just 10 minutes. But, they still trailed by 14. Then, the game turned and the Beavers cut the deficit to 52-48 with 6:29 left on a tip-in by Roman Silva.

After trading baskets, Gianni Hunt hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 55 with 3:438 left.

The Beavers, though, got off just four field-goal attempts for the remainder of the game, with Thompson making a lay-up to cut the deficit to 64-58, and Calloo hit a 3-pointer with five seconds left for the final score.

Houston made nine of 12 free-throw attempts in the final three minutes.

Oregon State finished at 20-13 on the season, having reached the Elite 8 for the first time since 1984. The team won the Pac-12 Conference Tournament as well.

Cliff Pfenning

Cliff is the publisher of, and has decades of experience in writing, photography, videography and graphic design. He's been a sportswriter in Oregon for more than three decades and has even taught sports broadcasting in Portland. He lives in North Portland in a house built in 1912 that has a backyard deck easily turned into a 'Top Golf' set-up for wiffle golf balls ... and cornhole.