KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Ahmad Starks tied an Oregon State single-game record with seven three-pointers, Eric Moreland grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds and the Beavers battled the No. 10 Kansas Jayhawks until the very end before falling, 84-78, Friday night at the Sprint Center.
The Beavers (4-2) erased a 14-point deficit in the first half to tie the game at 37 and climbed back from a 13-point hole in the second half to cut the margin to 80-77 with 15 seconds to play. But Kansas (6-1) made all four free throw attempts in the final seconds to pull out the win.
"If you want to beat a team like Kansas, you can't miss as many foul shots as we did and you can't miss as many easy shots around the basket as we did," Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson said. "Having said that, I have to love the effort that my team put forth going down 14 and then going down again 10 or 11 or something and coming back to be within three with minutes to go.
"I'm really proud of my team and it's hard to say that because I always use this term `it's like kissing your sister' when you lose a game and you say it was a good experience. That doesn't mean anything in this business. You have to win the game and you have to do the things you need to do to win the game, including stopping guys from blowing by to the basket."
Starks, who finished with 25 points, made 7-of-13 from beyond the arc, to tie Gary Payton (1989), Josh Steinthal (1999) and Nick DeWitz (2005) for the most three-pointers made in a game. The 5-foot-9 point guard made a previous career best six from long distance in the season opener against Niagara.
Starks made a long three-pointer at the 1:26 mark that shaved Kansas' lead to 78-73. Then with 56 seconds to go, Releford made two free throws and Jeff Withey rebounded after Starks missed from 3-point range.
Roberto Nelson sank two free throws for Oregon State (4-2) and Starks fed Devon Collier inside for a dunk that gave the Jayhawks an 80-77 lead. With 13.9 seconds left, McLemore calmly sank two free throws and with 8.5 ticks remaining, Kevin Young batted an Oregon State shot into the seats.
Withey, who had a triple-double in Kansas' previous game, had 17 points, five rebounds and three blocks for the Jayhawks, who were meeting Oregon State for the first time in the long basketball history of the two schools, who rank No. 2 and No. 20 on the Division I all-time victory list.
Nelson had 17 points for Oregon State, while Eric Moreland had five points and his career-best 16 rebounds.
Ben McLemore was 6 for 8 in the first half as the Jayhawks hit 12 of their first 15 shots and seized what the partisan Kansas crowd probably felt was a comfortable 33-19 lead. But back came the Beavers, with five players contributing in an 18-4 burst. Nelson scored the last six points of the run with a three-pointer that made it 37-34 and a fastbreak bucket and free throw for a three-point play that knotted the score at 37.
Olaf Schaftenaar also had a three-point bucket in the spree as the Beavers fought to beat a ranked team on the road for the first time since 1985.
The Jayhawks made nine of their first 11 shots in the second half and led 63-50 on Releford's fastbreak layup. But Starks' three-pointer ended the 9-1 run for the Beavers.
Kansas settled for a 42-39 halftime lead when Young made a free throw, Releford hit a jumper and Young followed with a big dunk.
The Beavers were playing their second game since a knee injury ended the season for Angus Brandt who was averaging 11.3 points and 8.5 rebounds.
Oregon State has seven days off for finals week before hosting Grambling State at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8 at Gill Coliseum in a game that will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.