Midway through their tour of the White House in advance of Sunday evening's matchup with Maryland, Oregon State players visited with President Obama and received some words of encouragement.
"He was admonishing the guys to make sure they set a plan a little bit better because his brother-in-law’s coaching the team," Oregon State coach Craig Robinson said. "It was a fun thing for them to hear. It means a lot to these guys because they know him. They really do know him and he knows them."
Inspired by the words of the President and his presence during the game, Oregon State delivered easily its best performance of the young season. Roberto Nelson scored 31 points and Devon Collier had 29 points and 11 rebounds as the Beavers upended ACC power Maryland 90-83.
Perhaps Oregon State's victory shouldn't have been a huge surprise because President Obama has become somewhat of a good luck charm for the Beavers. They're 4-0 in Obama's presence and 75-89 during the rest of Robinson's up-and-down coaching tenure.
A win over Maryland was especially encouraging for Oregon State since the Beavers are only a week removed from a deflating season-opening loss to unheralded Coppin State. Since then, Collier has returned from suspension, giving Oregon State an interior scoring presence to go with Nelson's perimeter punch.
Oregon State seized control of a game that was tied with halftime with an 8-0 run to start the second half. The lead ballooned to as many as 12 and the Beavers had an answer for every Maryland surge, securing the victory on a jump shot by Nelson that extended the cushion to five with 29 seconds left.
Obama watched every minute of the game, clad in a long-sleeve black polo shirt and jeans and seated between his daughters, Malia and Sasha.
To everyone in attendance, the first family's presence added some extra excitement to a routine November game. To Oregon State, it was also a good luck charm.