Men's Basketball Concludes Regular Season Play in Los Angeles

Feb. 26, 2002

Corvallis, Ore. -

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THIS WEEK: Oregon State (12-15, 4-12 Pac-10) concludes the 2001-2002 regular season at the UCLA Bruins (18-9, 10-6) Thurs., Feb. 28 and the No. 19 (AP)/No. 20 (ESPN/USA Today) USC Trojans (19-7, 11-5).

OSU STILLS CONTROLS ITS OWN FATE: Oregon State can still qualify for the final berth into the Pac-10 Tournament, March 7-9 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The best league record OSU can achieve is 6-12, the best Washington can do is 5-13. Here is a closer look:

*OSU earns the position if it wins at UCLA and USC this week.

*OSU can earn the berth if UW loses at home to WSU, and OSU wins one road game this week.

*OSU loses all tiebreakers if the conference race ends with multiple teams tied for first place, due to UW's victories over Cal and Oregon.

TOUGH COMPANY: As of games through Mon., Feb. 25 the Pacific-10 Conference ranks second in the USA Today Sagarin Rankings, behind only the Southeastern. Eight of the league's 10 teams are among the top-40 for schedule strength, led by Arizona at one and Washington at two. The rest of the conference includes UCLA (6), USC (12), WSU (15), Stanford (22), Oregon State (32), Arizona State (37), Oregon (57), and Cal (71).

STARTING LINEUP SHUFFLE: Head coach Ritchie McKay has shuffled his starting lineup in recent weeks due to injuries and performance. He has announced seven different starting combinations in the last eight games, and has used a total of 12 lineups for the season. Oregon State does not have a player who has started all 27 games, and has only three (Joe See, Adam Masten, Floyd North III) who have played in every contest.

FREE THROW PERCENTAGE ESCALATES: Buoyed by a 33-for-37 (.892) performance against the Washington schools, including a near record setting 21 of 22 vs. Washington State, OSU is now shooting .729 from the free throw line -- 2nd in the Pac-10. The Beavers shot .727 last year in head coach Ritchie McKay's first year. The program has shot 72-plus percent just 10 times since 1954.

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 entering this week. Here is a look at the conference breakdown -- Arizona (107.9), OSU (78.3), Washington (65.5), UCLA (57.4), Cal (53.2), Stanford (53.0), USC (50.4), WSU (33.8), Arizona State (21.8), and Oregon (0).

YOUTHFUL CONFERENCE: There are 12 freshmen in the Pac-10 averaging 20-plus minutes per game, as of Feb. 26. Here is a list of the top-15 freshmen (includes redshirts) in the conference: 1. Salim Stoudamire (UA), 30.2, 2. Errick Craven (USC), 27.2, 3. Amit Tamir (Cal), 25.7, 4. Jamal Sampson (Cal), 25.1, 5. Channing Frye (UA), 24.7, 6. Cedric Bozeman (UCLA), 23.0, 7. Joe See (OSU), 22.8, 8. Josh Childress (Stan), 22.3, 9. Jason Braxton (ASU), 21.8, 10. J.S. Nash (OSU), 20.8, 11. Erroll Knight (UW), 20.6, 12. Will Bynum (UA), 19.9, 13. Floyd North III (OSU), 17.8, 14. Shaminder Gill (WSU), 17.3, 15. Thomas Kelati (WSU), 16.5.

SHOOTING IMPROVES OF LATE: Oregon State has hit .500 (76-152) from the field over its last three games, after shooting just .402 (99-246) in the previous five contests. The team is shooting .362 from three-point range for the season, including .444 (24-54) over the last three. The Beavers ended the season shooting .433 (187-432) on Ralph Miller Court in nine league games, compared to entering this week at .480 (166-346) in seven road league games.

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 24 of the 27 games this season and in the second half of 19 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 1,507 victories entering this week, followed by OSU (1,504). The rest of the conference stands at Washington (1,433), Arizona (1,404), Washington State (1,344), USC (1,333), Oregon (1,285), California (1,267), Stanford (1,188), and Arizona State (1,056).

DEFENSIVE DATA: Oregon State is second this week in the Pac-10 for scoring defense allowing 66.1 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. 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. UCLA: UCLA leads 71-30 and has won six straight overall and 13 in a row vs. Oregon State at Pauley Pavilion. The last Beaver victory in Westwood was Jan. 7, 1988, 65-64. UCLA shot .615 from the field, the highest vs. OSU this season, and pulled away for a 70-48 victory Feb. 2 at Gill Coliseum. Jason Kapono scored a game-high 19 points and Dan Gadzuric added 18 in the Bruins' victory, while Philip Ricci was the only Beaver in double figures with 11 points. For the game, OSU was just .353 from the field, including .296 in the first half. Kapono also had 19 points in UCLA's 67-40 victory at Pauley Pavilion last season.

OSU VS. USC: USC leads this competitive series 53-51, which includes a 64-51 victory Jan. 31 at Gill Coliseum. The Trojans shot .500 from the field in the first half to take a 31-16 lead at the break and ended the game with a .510 percentage. OSU managed just .396 from the field, including .304 in the first half. Sam Clancy and Brandon Granville each scored 17 points, while former Beaver Jimmie Haywood scored 14 for OSU. USC won 73-47 at the Sports Arena last year, and has a six-game winning streak in the series in Los Angeles.

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 Feb. 26) includes three seniors, two juniors, six sophomores, and two freshmen. The program has two scholarships 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 83-86, 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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