Playing in a 2-3 zone makes teams shoot 3-point jumpers at a higher clip. The Oregon State Beavers went to a zone defense because they could not compete athletically and off the dribble against the Colorado Buffaloes.
The zone forced the Buffaloes out of their attacking-the-basket model offense and made them become shooters, which they are not accustomed to. Spencer Dinwiddie is by far the best shooter, but he’s too valuable at the point guard position for the Buffaloes to change their mentality on the offensive side of the court.
The Beavers were forcing shots up left and right whether they were open or not. In the first half, Oregon State forced Colorado to shoot 13 3-point jumpers — they made four.
Let’s put it this way. The Beavers had 11 turnovers and were only down two at the half; the zone was giving the Buffaloes fits all night. The Beavers committed 17 turnovers on the day and lost 58-64. The only chance to compete against Colorado was to stay in the zone and make the Buffs take bad shots.
If Oregon State has any chance of competing in the Pac-12 this season, coach Craig Robinson has to come up with the best coaching job of his career. He has to make adjustments — like going to a zone when Colorado could not hit any threes — if he wants to keep his Beavers believing in tough games. Robinson used a lot of different zones to keep the Buffs honest and not utilize the go-to spots in the weakness of the zone, but they just could not keep up bucket to bucket.
The loss is a quality loss as they competed throughout against the Buffaloes. However, there are not going to be many wins for this Beavers team this season. They might compete, but the wins will come at a price.
John Lloyd is a Pac-12 Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JohnHLloydIII