WASHINGTON Oregon State survived a lackluster first half, using a 17-2 second-half run to pull away from pesky Howard 84-74 on Saturday with President Barack Obama in attendance.
Obama and his family came to the game in support of Beavers coach Craig Robinson, the presidents brother-in-law, but early it was the scrappy Bison who surprised everyone in the sparse crowd by taking a 33-32 halftime lead.
Then Oregon State (3-2) began to utilize its size and speed advantages. Joe Burton and Jared Cunningham combined to score 26 second-half points as the Beavers built a 14-point lead, only to see Howard (1-5) continue to hang around.
Omari Johnson led Oregon State with 17 points and eight rebounds, while Anton Dickerson led the Bison with 24 points.
Obama showed no ill effects from the 12 stitches he received in his lower lip Friday, chatting with fans and munching on popcorn.
The president was injured Friday morning during a game of basketball with friends and family at Fort McNair in Washington when an opposing players elbow accidentally struck him in the mouth. Doctors stitched him up after he returned to the White House.
He shook hands with the Beavers players after the game and had a few words of encouragement for Robinson.
Oregon State trailed 46-45 when Burton began the Beavers run with a layup. Cunningham chipped in with a three-point play along the way to help build the lead to 64-50 as a flustered, fatigued Howard squad couldnt keep up with Oregon States pressure defense.
But the Bison went on a 7-0 run to make things interesting, narrowing the deficit to 69-63 before Oregon State closed out the game over the final 2:50.
Oregon State shot 60 percent in the second half and hit 20 of 27 free throws.
Taking in an Oregon State basketball game on the Saturday after Thanksgiving is becoming routine for the Obamas.
During last years Thanksgiving weekend, the First Family watched as Oregon State defeated George Washington University.