Men's Basketball Hosts Lehigh in New Year's Eve Showdown

Dec. 28, 2001

Corvallis, Ore. -

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THE NEXT GAME: Oregon State (7-4, 1-1 Pac-10) hosts the Lehigh Mountain Hawks (2-8) Mon., Dec. 31 at 1:05 p.m. at Ralph Miller Court in Gill Coliseum. Lehigh, of the Division I Patriot League, plays at the University of Portland Dec. 29.

FG PERCENTAGE DEFENSE IMPROVES: Oregon State has allowed its last four opponents to shoot a combined .383 (106-277) from the field. For the season, OSU's foes are shooting a paltry .401.

STARTERS ON TARGET: Oregon State's typical five starters have opened the year with a combined shooting percentage of .532 (191-359) from the field. Junior guard Jimmie Haywood is the only starter under .500, at .437. The bench has not had similar success, shooting .363 (62-171).

SHOOTING PERCENTAGE CLIMBS: Oregon State has improved to .475 from the field for the season, and is coming off back-to-back strong shooting performances. The Beavers have combined for .520 in the victories over Arizona State and Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne.

CLOSING IN ON 1,500: Oregon State enters Monday's game with 1,499 NCAA recognized victories, the 10th-highest figure in Division I basketball. Oregon State has the most victories of any school in the Pac-10 Conference.

NOTICEABLE IMPROVEMENT INSIDE: Oregon State enters game 12 of the season with 26 percent of its field goals coming from three-point range, compared to 34 percent last year, and 29 percent in 2000.

OSU VS. LEHIGH: These two schools have tangled on the wrestling mat a few times (OSU 5-2) over the years, but never on the hardwood. OSU has played only two members of the Patriot League in school history, defeating Army twice (1965, '74) and Navy (1966).

JUST PLAIN '2': Senior guard Brandon Payton will wear jersey number '2' for the remainder of the season. Payton wore '02' the first six games in honor of his brother Gary Payton (#20), but the number has been declared ineligible by the NCAA (Sect. 5, Art. 12).

DOUBLE-DOUBLE CLUB: Junior forward Philip Ricci has already recorded four double-doubles this season. He is the first Beaver to have more than two in one season since Mustapha Hoff achieved seven in 1995.

Philip Ricci, 15 pts, 10 reb. vs. TexasPhilip Ricci, 17 points, 11 reb. vs. San DiegoPhilip Ricci, 23 pts, 10 reb at Cal PolyPhilip Ricci, 24 pts, 11 reb vs. IPFW

A FULL BENCH: Head coach Ritchie McKay has many options this year when he turns to his bench, unlike last season. He has 14 'active' players for most games. McKay didn't have a game where he had more than nine available players in 2000-2001, and at times during the year had only seven.

STARTING STREAKS: OSU players Adam Masten and Brian Jackson have started 41 consecutive games each entering this Monday's game. For Jackson, he has started 94 percent (61 of 65) of his career college games.

HOOPS RECRUITS ADDED: Ritchie McKay and his staff signed three athletes to national letters of intent during the early signing period. Joining the program for the 2002-2003 season are Kerbrell Brown (6-7, F) from Dodge City Community College in Kansas, Kevin Field (6-10, C) from Wilson High School in Tacoma, Wash., and Justin Holt (6-6, F) from Lincoln High School in Tacoma. The program has one remaining scholarship to offer during the late signing period April 10-May 15. A quick glance at the projected roster for next year (as of Nov. 15) includes four seniors, two juniors, seven sophomores, and two freshmen.

HEAD COACH RITCHIE McKAY: Ritchie McKay is in his second year at Oregon State, and is in his sixth overall as a head coach. McKay's record stands at 78-76, which includes an injury riddled 2001 season at OSU (10-20) and the first year of college basketball in 15 years at Portland State University (9-17). McKay spent two years at PSU and finished with a record of 24-29, then led Colorado State University for two of the program's most successful years ever, leaving with a mark of 37-23.

TOP EIGHT QUALIFY: For the first time since the 1989-90 season, the Pacific-10 Conference will hold a postseason tournament. The top eight teams from regular season play will qualify for the March 7-9 event at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

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