COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — President Barack Obama stayed to the end of a thrilling game and Oregon State rewarded him with a surprising victory, holding off Maryland 90-83 Sunday night.
Beavers coach Craig Robinson is the older brother of Michelle Obama, who sat with her husband, the couple's two daughters and Marian Robinson, the first lady's mother. Craig Robinson usually arranges to bring his team to the Washington area around Thanksgiving, which enables him to visit family and provide the Oregon State a White House tour.
The business aspect of this trip could not have gone better for the coach and Oregon State (2-1). Roberto Nelson scored 31 points and Devon Collier had 29 points and 11 rebounds to provide the Beavers their first win over an Atlantic Coast Conference team since 1999.
Dez Wells scored 23 for the Terrapins (1-2), whose 30-game non-conference winning streak at home ended.
Wearing a long-sleeved black polo shirt and jeans, Obama received cheers and a few jeers from many in the packed house before the game as he walked behind the scorer's table toward his front-row seat. He waved in appreciation before settling into his seat between his daughters, Malia and Sasha.
The appearance of the first family added a level excitement — and security — to an otherwise ordinary matchup between two teams meeting for the first time.
Everyone entering the gates had their bags checked and was required to pass through a metal detector. This included cheerleaders, media members and team officials. Also, three policemen were stationed in front of the student section across the court from the President.
None of the attention appeared to deter Obama from enjoying a first-hand view of a sport he has long loved.
Oregon State looked very little like the team that lost at home to Coppin State and squeezed past visiting Portland by six points.
The Beavers scored the first eight points of the second half to take a 46-38 lead. After the margin reached 12 points, a 3-pointer by Jake Layman sparked a 12-4 run that got Maryland to 61-57.
But Oregon State used a 7-0 spurt to make it 72-63, and the Beavers — especially Nelson and Collier — subsequently had an answer for every Maryland surge.
After drive by Wells made it 84-81, Nelson responded by sinking a soft jumper with 29 seconds left to clinch it.
The first half ended tied at 38 after Wells sank a jumper just inside the midcourt line an instant after the buzzer sounded. The shot was initially called good, and the President stared intently at the video board to catch the replay.
Nelson scored 16 in a seesaw half that featured 12 ties and eight lead changes. The Beavers went 13 for 22 (59 percent) from the field but offset that by committing 11 turnovers and allowing the Terrapins to grab 11 offensive rebounds.