Crucial Thursday Night Tilt at Gill Coliseum vs. UCLA

Feb. 24, 2003

Corvallis, Ore. -

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BEAVERS CAN CLINCH PAC-10 TOURNAMENT BERTH: A win Thursday over UCLA would earn Oregon State a berth into the eight-team Pac-10 Conference Tournament, March 13-15 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. With a win OSU would be three games in front of the Bruins with three contests remaining to play. The Beavers would have two victories over UCLA and thus own the tiebreaker.

SERIES: UCLA leads overall 72-31, but had its seven-game winning streak snapped by Oregon State Feb. 1 at Pauley Pavilion. Philip Ricci scored 26 points and had 14 rebounds, while teammate Brian Jackson added 18 points and nine rebounds in the team's 83-79 win. The game was one of streaks, particularly in the second half. UCLA built a seven point lead early in the second half 48-41, before OSU went on a 21-4 run to take a 62-52 lead. The Bruins scored the next seven points before OSU pushed the lead back to 12 points twice -- at 6:05 and 5:25. The Bruins crept to within two points at the 2:27 mark, but Jimmie Haywood hit a huge three at 1:50 to make the score 80-75. The Bruins twice battled back to three-point deficits, but two free throws by Lamar Hurd and one by Haywood in the final 13 seconds sealed the victory.The win was the first for OSU at UCLA since the 1988 season, and the team is trying to sweep the Bruins for the first time in the same year since that '88 campaign.

PAC-10 SUPREMACY ON THE LINE: UCLA and Oregon State enter Thursday's game tied for the Pacific-10 Conference lead for overall victories with 1,516, according to the NCAA. The two schools rank tied for 10th overall.

IT'S HARD TO DEFEND THAT: Five of the last six opponents vs. Oregon State have shot better from three-point range than their overall season percentage. Here is a closer look:

			vs. OSU		Season Pct.Washington State	         .583 (7-12)	.354Washington		.375 (6-16)	.350Oregon			.500 (14-28)	.395Stanford		         .421 (8-19)	.365California		.381 (8-21)	.384UCLA			.500 (7-14)	.362

IS THE HOOP LARGER ON THAT END? The last four opponents (UW, Cal, Stan, UO) at Ralph Miller Court have combined to shoot .625 (30-48) from three-point range while shooting at OSU's end of the court (1st half), while the Beavers have made just .200 (7-35) on the opponents' end. In the second half, when of course the teams exchange baskets, those four opponents have a combined percentage of just .188 (6-32), while OSU has hit a modest .333 (10-30).

FRESHMEN IN THE PAC-10: Beaver point guard Lamar Hurd entered the week leading the Pac-10 Conference for average minutes played by a freshman at 33.3 per game. Hurd has played at least 30 minutes in every contest this season, except at California where he fouled out after playing 21 minutes. Arizona State's Ike Diogu is second in the conference at 31.5. Hurd will likely end the season as the first freshman to lead OSU in minutes played since Carson Cunningham (30.8) during the 1996-97 season, and average the most minutes by a Beaver freshman since Gary Payton (37.2) in 1987.

EIGHTY IS A GOOD GOAL TO HAVE: Oregon State has scored 80-plus points in four conference games this season, the most since the 1995 team had 10. The Beavers are 4-0 when they score 80-plus.

PRIZED POSSESSIONS: Oregon State enters Thursday's game with the lowest turnovers per game average in the Pac-10 Conference at 13.7. The Beavers are also averaging a league-low 12.8 turnovers in conference action only, California is second at 13.7.

SIX PAC-10 WINS? A win Thursday would give the Beavers their sixth conference win of the season, the most since the 1998-99 team had seven.

RICCI CONTINUES HIS STELLAR PLAY: Beaver senior forward Philip Ricci continues to make a case for being the school's first all-conference selection since Deaundra Tanner in 1999. Ricci is fifth in the conference for scoring (17.2), first for rebounding (8.7), ninth for field goal percentage (.517), and fifth for blocked shots (1.4). He leads the Pac-10 for active players with double-doubles with 14.

RETURN TO SENDER: Oregon State enters Thursday's contest third in the Pac-10 Conference for blocked shots, averaging 3.83 per game. The Beavers are on pace to register 103 rejections this season, which would be the most since the 1992-93 team had 111.

PUT THEM IN THE BOOK: Unlike recent seasons, Oregon State has been consistent with its starting lineup. Beaver head coach Jay John has used the same five players to start the game for the last 21 contests (Ricci, Jackson, North, Haywood, Hurd).

THREE RECRUITS SIGNED: First-year head coach Jay John signed three individuals to national letters of intent during the early signing period in November. Joining the Beavers for the 2003-2004 season will be Liam Hughes (7-2, C) from Modesto Christian High School in California, Kyle Jeffers (6-8, F), from Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa, Cal., and Jeffree Williams (6-9, F) from Roosevelt High School in Portland, Ore. John and his staff have two scholarships remaining to award during the late signing period, April 16-May 15.

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