The Oregon State Beavers had never won the conference tournament in men's basketball, until today.
Fifth-seeded Oregon State (17-12) defeated third-seeded Colorado (22-8), 70-68, in the final of the Pac-12 Tournament to win the event for the first time in program history.
With the win, the Beavers earned the Pac-12's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. It's the first appearance for Oregon State since 2016 and only the second appearance since 1990.
In the preseason, Oregon State was chosen to finish last in the conference.
“Hopefully it provides some chip on the shoulders of our guys,” head coach Wayne Tinkle said before the season. “They’re going to use that, as more fuel the fire, so to speak, but I promise you, we won’t finish 12th.”
Fast forward four months and the Beavers finished first.
Prior to Saturday, no team picked to finish last had ever made the tournament final, let alone win the conference. To accomplish that feat, the Beavers defeated three likely at-large teams in UCLA, Oregon, and Colorado in three consecutive days.
In the first half, Oregon State made six three-pointers while holding Colorado to zero made threes, leading to a five-point advantage heading into the locker room: 33-28. For the game, the Beavers hit nine threes on 40.9% from the line.
None were larger than this one from Jarod Lucas to give the Beavs a seven-point lead.
Colorado entered the contest the best free-throw shooting team in college basketball history at 83% but missed eight free-throws on the evening.
Saturday's game was Oregon State's first appearance in the conference championship since 1988, the second year of the event.
The Beavers will learn its NCAA Tournament opponent during Selection Sunday on March 14th, but until then it's time to party in Corvallis.