Men's Basketball Faces Make or Break Weekend

Feb. 19, 2002

Corvallis, Ore. -

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THIS WEEK: Oregon State (11-14, 3-11 Pac-10) hosts the University of Washington Huskies (9-16, 3-12) Thurs., Feb. 21 at 7:05 p.m. The game will be played on Ralph Miller Court in Gill Coliseum. The Beavers conclude regular season home action Sat., Feb. 23 at 5:07 p.m. against Washington State (5-18, 1-14).

TOUGH COMPANY: As of games through Mon., Feb. 18 the Pacific-10 Conference ranks second in the USA Today Sagarin Rankings, behind only the Southeastern. Seven of the league's 10 teams are among the top-25 for schedule strength, led by Arizona at one and Washington at two. The rest of the conference includes UCLA (6), USC (16), WSU (17), Oregon State (23), Stanford (24), Oregon (34), Arizona State (51), and Cal (73).

JACKSON QUESTIONABLE: Junior forward Brian Jackson is questionable for Thursday's game with an abdominal strain. Jackson missed Monday's game vs. Portland, played a combined 32 minutes at Stanford and Oregon, and missed the game at Cal.

STARTING LINEUP SHUFFLE: Head coach Ritchie McKay has shuffled his starting lineup in recent weeks, due to injuries and performance. He has announced five different starting combinations in the last six games, and has used a total of 10 lineups for the season. Oregon State does not have a player who has started all 25 games, and has only three (Joe See, Adam Masten, Floyd North III) who have played in all 25.

HAYWOOD LEAVES PROGRAM: Junior two-year letterman guard Jimmie Haywood left the program Monday morning citing personal reasons. Haywood started 21 games and was third for the team in scoring averaging 9.0 points per outing. He leaves OSU eighth for career three-point field goals with 93.

IN A NUTSHELL, SORT OF: Thursday's winner virtually clinches the eighth and final spot for the Pac-10 Tournament, March 7-9 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Here is a closer look at what is now a complicated issue:

*OSU can't clinch a berth Thursday, but a win could eliminate WSU if it loses Thursday at UO. If that scenario happens, OSU can capture the berth if it wins Saturday at home vs. WSU, thus giving OSU five wins and eliminating UW -- the Huskies could still earn five victories, but would lose the first tiebreaker to OSU (head-to-head) due to losing twice to the Beavers.

*WSU is eliminated if it loses one more game. A win Thursday would keep the Cougars mathematically alive. WSU would have to win at UO Thursday, at OSU Saturday, and at UW next week -- plus have UW win at OSU and lose at UO, and have OSU lose next week at UCLA and USC. That scenario would give WSU a tiebreaker vs. UW due to beating the Huskies twice. OSU would be eliminated because it would have just three wins. WSU could still qualify providing it wins its final three league games and finishes in a tie with OSU, as long as UO finishes ahead of USC or UCLA, depending on which team lost to OSU and where it finishes in the standings.

*A UW win Thursday would eliminate WSU, if the Cougars lose at UO. The Huskies would also have the tiebreaker advantage vs. OSU if the two should end in a tie, due to its victory over Oregon. That advantage could switch back to OSU if it beats WSU and then wins on the road at UCLA or USC, depending on where one or both schools finish in relation to UO and Cal in the standings.

YOUTH OF THE NATION: Oregon State is second in the Pac-10 Conference for the number of minutes its freshmen (includes redshirts) are playing per game. Here is a look at the conference breakdown -- Arizona (107.5), OSU (77.0), Washington (65.6), UCLA (57.6), California (52.7), USC (51.4), Stanford (45.0), Washington State (31.6), Arizona State (21.2), and Oregon (0).

YOUTHFUL CONFERENCE: There are 12 freshmen in the Pac-10 averaging 20-plus minutes per game, as of Feb. 19. Here is a list of the top-15 freshman (includes redshirts) in the conference: 1. Salim Stoudamire (UA), 30.1, 2. Errick Craven (USC), 26.8, 3. Amit Tamir (Cal), 25.1, Channing Frye (UA), 25.1, 5. Jamal Sampson (Cal), 24.9, 6. Josh Childress (Stan), 23.4, 7. Joe See (OSU), 22.9, 8. Cedric Bozeman (UCLA), 22.7, 9. Jason Braxton (ASU), 21.2, 10. Erroll Knight (UW), 20.8, 11. Will Bynum (UA), 20.2, 12. J.S. Nash (OSU), 20.0, 13. Floyd North III (OSU), 17.7, 14. Shaminder Gill (WSU), 16.6, 15. Jeffrey Day (UW), 16.0.

NOT SO FRIENDLY HOOPS: Oregon State enters Thursday game vs. Washington attempting to reverse what has become a rather baffling trend in Pacific-10 Conference action. The Beavers have shot .413 (135-327) on Ralph Miller Court in seven league games, compared to .480 (166-346) in seven road league games. The percentage is even wider when comparing three-point field goal percentages, .308 (40-130) at home -- .420 (50-119) away.

POSITIVE SIGN: Oregon State has won four road games this season (UW, WSU, Portland State, UA-Anchorage) -- the most since 1998 (Cal, ASU, UC Irvine, UH-Hilo). Oregon State hasn't won more than four on the road since the 1990 season (7).

LEARNING HOW TO WIN: Oregon State continues its rather impressive streak of leads in games. The team has led in 22 of the 25 games this season and in the second half of 18 of those contests.

1,500 MILESTONE: Oregon State earned its 1,500 NCAA recognized men's basketball victory in the New Year's Eve Day triumph over Lehigh. UCLA has 1,506 victories entering this week, followed by OSU (1,503). The rest of the conference stands at Washington (1,432), Arizona (1,403), Washington State (1,344), USC (1,332), Oregon (1,283), California (1,265), Stanford (1,188), and Arizona State (1,056).

DEFENSIVE DATA: Oregon State is second this week in the Pac-10 for scoring defense allowing 66.7 (now 66.4) points per game. The program appears to be heading for its fifth consecutive season of allowing less than 70 points per game. The Beavers have held Portland State (46 pts), San Diego (56), Arizona State (57), and IPFW (59) to those programs lowest point total of the season entering this week.

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 recorded four double-doubles this season, and teammate Brian Jackson has one. Ricci 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. IPFWBrian Jackson, 16 pts, 10 reb. at WSU

A FULL BENCH: Head coach Ritchie McKay has many options this year when he turns to his bench, unlike last season. He has 13 '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.

OSU VS. WASHINGTON: This series has been one of streaks of late, as OSU has won five straight over the Huskies. Washington had won the previous seven. The Huskies hold an overall 137-131 advantage. Oregon State won 68-53 Jan. 26 in Seattle. Philip Ricci scored a game-high 21 for the Beavers, and added nine rebounds. OSU shot .510 (.619 in 2nd half) from the field, including .643 (9-14) from three-point range. Washington shot just .378 for the game. This is the fifth meeting between Ritchie McKay, a former assistant under UW head coach Bob Bender. McKay is 3-1 vs. his old boss.

OSU VS. WASHINGTON STATE: Oregon State is looking for its sixth victory in the last seven meetings vs. the Cougars, and fourth consecutive in Corvallis. The last five games (OSU is 4-1) have been decided by a combined 23 points (4.6 avg.). Former Beaver Jimmie Haywood scored a game-high 23 points, including three free throws in the final six seconds to lift OSU to a thrilling 74-72 victory in Pullman Jan. 24. Brian Jackson added his first double-double of the season (16 pts, 10 reb) and Philip Ricci contributed 16 points in the victory. Five Cougars scored in double figures led by Marcus Moore with 17. OSU hit .607 from the floor in the second half.

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. The program has one scholarship available for the late signing period (April 10-May 15).

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 82-85, 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.

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