CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State’s Hallice Cooke is playing with a steely resolve that is rare for most freshmen point guards.
Cooke scored 14 of his season-high 20 points in the second half and scored the go-ahead basket with 6:12 to play as Oregon State defeated UCLA 71-67 Sunday.
Eric Moreland finished with 11 points and 14 rebounds, and Angus Brandt added 13 points as the Beavers (13-8, 5-4 Pac-12) closed out the first half of league play with their first home sweep of the Los Angeles schools since the 1989-90 season.
Kyle Anderson led the Bruins (17-5, 6-3) with 18 points and nine rebounds as UCLA had its three-game winning streak snapped.
“It was just about who wanted it more,” said Cooke, who keyed an 18-2 run that turned a five-point deficit into a 65-54 lead with 2:29 to play. “In that last little stretch, I felt we were better than them. We just had to get it together, be patient, run our plays, and get stops at the defensive end. We were able to do that.”
UCLA trailed 67-66 and had the ball when Jordan Adams drove to the basket and was called for a charging foul when he collided with Brandt with 14.2 seconds remaining.
Roberto Nelson and Cooke hit two free throws each in the final 12 seconds to seal the victory for the Beavers, who are above .500 at the midway point of the league season for the first time since the 1998-99 season.
“It sounds like it’s been 14 or 15 years since we’ve been this relevant this late in the season,” Beavers coach Craig Robinson said. “It’s not by accident.”
UCLA coach Steve Alford blasted his team after the Bruins shot 38.6 percent (22 of 57) from the field and were held 16 points below their scoring average.
“I didn’t like our effort,” Alford said. “We had a vast majority of guys not play with the energy and enthusiasm and passion that we’ve got to have. That was by far our worst game in a long time.
“We did a lot of different things we don’t practice today and that was the most frustrating. We didn’t look like us offensively.”
The Bruins led 52-47 when the Beavers rallied behind Cooke, who scored the go-ahead basket on a transition layup and then knocked down a three-pointer that made it 56-52 with 5:32 remaining.
“Hallice is not your typical freshman,” Robinson said. “I liked his calmness under fire. Here’s a kid who had two turnovers in 35 minutes. That’s pretty good for a freshman. And at no time was I nervous that he was out there.”
Trailing 16-14, UCLA’s Bryce Alford made a 3-pointer from the left corner to spark a 13-0 run that gave the Bruins a 27-16 lead with 6:13 to play in the first half.
Oregon State started working the ball inside and outscored the Bruins 13-4 over the closing 5:41 of the half, pulling within 31-29 on Brandt’s layup with 41 seconds left.
Nelson, the Pac-12’s leader scorer, had Oregon State’s first six points on a pair of 3-pointers and then didn’t score again until the 7:49 mark of the second half when he hit two free throws to pull the Beavers within 52-49.
Adams, who entered the game ranked sixth in league scoring, went 0 for 7 from the field in the first half and had two points at the break. He finished the game with six points off free throws while going 0 for 9 from the field.
The Beavers led 43-40 with 12:14 remaining when Bryce Alford tangled with Collier under the OSU basket.
Officials first called Alford for a personal foul, but then went to the video replay and called a technical foul on Collier for elbowing Alford in the mouth. Adams made both technical free throws, touching off a 12-4 run over the next 3:58 that gave the Bruins a 52-47 lead.
Then came OSU’s decisive run.