PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Portland Pilots broke through against a Pac-12 foe on their third try under new head coach Terry Porter. "It's nice to get one of them," said Porter, the former Trail Blazers' great, after the Pilots upset Oregon State 53-45 on Sunday in the Dam City Classic at the Moda Center.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Portland Pilots broke through against a Pac-12 foe on their third try under new head coach Terry Porter.
"It's nice to get one of them," said Porter, the former Trail Blazers' great, after the Pilots upset Oregon State 53-45 on Sunday in the Dam City Classic at the Moda Center.
In fact, it was Portland's first victory over a Pac-12 opponent since the Pilots beat both Oregon and UCLA in the 2009-10 season. The Pilots lost earlier this season to both UCLA and Colorado.
Jazz Johnson had 15 points and Alec Wintering added 14 for Portland's fourth win in the team's last five games. That's a boost as the Pilots (7-3) ready to head into West Coast Conference play under Porter.
"A lot of confidence," Wintering said. "We're on a nice little win streak now, we just have to keep working."
It was the fifth-straight loss overall for the Beavers (3-9) and also snapped a four-game winning streak in the all-time series against Portland.
JaQuori McLaughlin led the Beavers with 23 points, but the team was ultimately hurt by a long drought without a field goal in the second half after a 22-all tie at the break.
Portland led by as many as 12 points in the second half, but McLaughlin's layup and a free throw closed the gap to 48-41 with 2:05 left. Gabe Taylor tipped in a basket for Portland on the other end, but McLaughlin made a 3-pointer to narrow the Pilot's lead to 50-44.
Stephen Thompson missed a critical layup after a steal with 29 seconds left and the Beavers could not catch up.
"Guys deserved it. They worked hard," said Porter, whose No. 30 jersey for the Blazers hangs in the rafters of the Moda Center. "It's great for them to have this opportunity, and then they go out and execute it."
The Beavers were coming off a disappointing 71-67 loss to Long Beach State in their Dam City opener on Friday night.
The Pilots, meanwhile, were coming off a dramatic 85-82 victory in their opener over South Dakota. Taylor made a 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds left for the win.
The Beavers have been stung by the loss of leading scorer Tres Tinkle, coach Wayne Tinkle's son, who missed his sixth-straight game after breaking a bone in his non-shooting hand. Tinkle was averaging 20.2 points before the injury. There is no timetable for his return.
Portland took an early 9-4 lead nearly seven minutes into the game. McLaughlin made consecutive 3-pointers as the Beavers finally came alive.
The game was tied at 16 for nearly five minutes before Drew Eubanks hit a jumper to put Oregon State in front 18-16. The teams were tied at 22 at the half. McLaughlin led all scorers with 11, half of Oregon State's total points.
Johnson had a pair of 3-pointers and Taylor added another as the Pilots took a 31-24 lead. The Beavers didn't land a shot from the field for a span of 8:14, depending on free throws to stay in it. McLaughlin's 3-pointer finally broke the drought but the Pilots led 37-32.
Wintering's jumper pushed Portland's lead to 43-33.
"We just didn't make the plays offensively," Wayne Tinkle said. "It showed a lot in the first half that we kept hanging in there and then I think in the second half, when we were struggling, we dropped our heads for the first time. We addressed that in the locker room."
Portland: Earlier this season Wintering passed former Pilot Erik Spoelstra — the current coach of the Miami Heat — on the school's all-time assist list. ... The Pilots out-rebounded the Beavers 19-12 in the first half, but Oregon State had eight steals compared to none for Portland.
Oregon State: The Beavers shot 27.6 percent in the opening half, their worst shooting percentage in a half this season. ... Oregon State held a 53-16 lead in the all-time series between the two teams before Sunday's loss.
RESPONDING: While Wayne Tinkle acknowledged the adversity, he said what happens next will be important for the Beavers: In other words, how Oregon State responds to the back-to-back losses against mid-major teams.
"It's going to show a lot about how we come out of this, and where we continue to build with the team moving forward," said Tinkle. "We've got to keep scrapping. That's life. Life throws all sorts of curve balls at you, and the ones that hangs their heads and disengage, it snowballs."
Portland: The Pilots host cross-town rivals Portland State on Tuesday night. Portland visits Cal State Fullerton on Thursday to conclude the non-conference schedule.
Oregon State: The Beavers host Kent State on Wednesday night, the last non-conference game for the Beavers before Pac-12 play gets underway.
Follow Anne M. Peterson on Twitter @AnnieMPeterson