By Eric Prisbell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The fans who flocked to tiny Burr Gymnasium last night didn't see any future world leaders, but they launched a resplendent celebration nonetheless.
Howard University's 47-45 victory over Oregon State spoiled the debut for first-year Beavers coach Craig Robinson, the brother-in-law of President-elect Barack Obama, and prompted many of the more than 2,000 fans in attendance to dance in the aisles. A few dozen, including a man wearing a Howard cape, stormed the court.
"I am glad the crowd didn't leave when Obama didn't come," an ecstatic Howard coach Gil Jackson said. "They stormed the court? I have never seen that. They stormed the court at Howard."
A little more than two miles from the White House, Howard showed just how hard Robinson's job will be at Oregon State. It took Obama 20 months to make a quick ascension from senator to president-elect. Robinson, who spent the past two seasons as Brown's head coach, knows it will take longer to turn the Beavers into a contender.
"It will not take 20 months," Robinson said. "We have to recruit some better players. We have to change a culture from losing to winning."
The Beavers have had only one winning season since 1990 and have now lost 22 consecutive games. Robinson is under no illusion that his job will be easy, but he maintains reason for optimism at a school few believe can be a contender in the Pacific-10.
"These guys are better than what I was told they would be," Robinson said. "When I took this job, the people I trust told me we had a bunch of bad guys who didn't play hard. I think you saw that last year. This wasn't the same team."
Howard attacked Oregon State's 2-3 zone by making 9 of 29 three-point shots.
With 8.2 seconds left, Oregon State raced the ball upcourt with a chance to tie. Forward Daniel Deane, who had been called for traveling on the previous possession, drove to the basket and tossed up a layup attempt.
The ball tantalizingly rolled around the rim before finally falling to the ground. Oregon State guard Josh Tarver stood motionless as fans started to race onto the court after Howard's first ever win against a Pacific-10 school.
"I told the guys that one play didn't lose the game," Robinson said. "It mattered, but it didn't lose the game."
Curtis White and Eugene Myatt both scored a game-high 13 points.
· GW 63, BOSTON UNIVERSITY 58: Damian Hollis scored five straight points as the visiting Colonials overcame an overtime deficit to defeat the Terriers.
The Colonials blew an early 10-point lead and trailed by six in the second half, but they led by two in the closing seconds. Boston University's Corey Lowe, who suffered through a 2-for-15 shooting night, forced overtime on a layup with 2.1 seconds left.
Lowe then hit two free throws and John Holland nailed a three-pointer to put the Terriers ahead 56-51 with 3:45 left in overtime. But Wynton Witherspoon cut the lead to three and Herman Opoku tied it on a three-pointer with 2:04 left. Hollis then hit a free throw and two baskets for the Colonials.
· OKLAHOMA 83, AMERICAN 54: In Norman, Okla., Blake Griffin had 24 points and a career-high 18 rebounds to lead the No. 12 Sooners over the Eagles.
The Sooners shot 53.8 percent from the field and have won 22 of their past 24 season openers, including six in a row.
The 6-foot-10 Griffin wasn't perfect -- he went only 5 of 14 from the free throw line -- but he shot 9 of 11 from the field.
Brian Gilmore led American (0-1) with 16 points.
· TOWSON 86, NAVY 68: Josh Thornton matched his career high with 24 points, Jarrel Smith scored 18 and the host Tigers opened their season with a win over the Midshipmen.
Brian Morris had 10 points and eight assists, and Calvin Lee contributed 10 points and nine rebounds for Towson (1-0), which improved to 7-2 all-time against Navy (0-1).
Clif Colbert led Navy with 14 points. Kaleo Kina had 10 points, and Adam Teague grabbed 13 rebounds for the Midshipmen.
With three players suspended for violating unspecified team rules -- including senior forwards Junior Hairston and Tony Durant -- Towson forced 13 first-half turnovers en route to a 37-27 halftime lead.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.