Beavers Travel East to Face Georgia
Dec. 8, 2004
Corvallis, Ore. -
THEME: Oregon State is coming off its most complete game of the season in an entertaining victory over Colorado on Dec. 4 at Gill Coliseum. The team will be occupied by final exams this week before embarking on a cross-country trip to Atlanta to participate in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl for Kids with a game against Georgia. The match-up is part of a doubleheader at Atlanta's Philips Arena (home of the NBA's Hawks), which also features Georgia Tech against Air Force. The one-day event benefits Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Camp Twin Lakes, a camp for children with chronic illness and disabilities. Georgia will make the trip to the Pacific Northwest next season to meet the Beavers at the Rose Garden in Portland.
THE SERIES: Oregon State and Georgia have never met in men's basketball. The Beaver men's basketball program is 5-10 all-time vs. current Southeastern Conference foes -- 3-1 vs. Tennessee, 1-0 vs. Arkansas, 1-3 vs. LSU, 0-1 vs. Alabama, Mississippi, and Mississippi State, and 0-3 vs. Kentucky. The last time OSU played a team from the SEC was Dec. 28, 2000 -- a 78-68 loss to LSU in a game played at the New Orleans Arena.
BENCH SCORING IMPRESSIVE: Oregon State has outscored its last two opponents (Colorado and Portland) 56-9 off the bench. The Beavers figure to have one of the deepest benches in the Pac-10 Conference, especially with the expected returns of Nick DeWitz and Angelo Tsagarakis.
IMPRESSIVE FREE THROW STREAKS: If it was up to Jay John, he would send freshman forward Sasa Cuic or junior guards Chris Stephens and Jason Fontenet to the free throw line every time. Cuic made 30 consecutive free throws earlier this season to tie an OSU record, and he is now 38 of 40 (.950). Stephens has made 22 straight dating back to last season (18-for-18 in 2004-05). Fontenet has made 15 of 16 attempts, including 12 straight. Cuic has made 35 percent of his 110 total points from the free throw line. As a team, the Beavers are shooting .745 from the stripe.
BIG LEADS ARE NO CERTAIN THING: Oregon State has built some impressive leads over the last two games (both victories), but have failed to keep the pressure on. The Beavers led Colorado by 16 points twice in the first half before watching Colorado take a two-point lead with 7:31 remaining in the game. The Beavers regained their first-half magic and promptly went on a 16-3 run to gain control of the game again. OSU led Portland by 19 points before seeing its lead shrink to as few as two points with 36 seconds remaining.
WE DO KEEP IT INTERESTING: Three of the first six games have been decided by three points or less, keeping with a theme that the program had during last year's pre-Pac-10 action in which six of the nine games were decided by five points or less or in overtime (2OT and 3OT as well). Here's a closer look at this year:vs. Siena (W 69-67) -- Sasa Cuic completes a conventional three-point play with four seconds remaining. Siena's Kojo Mensah narrowly misses a three-point attempt at the buzzer.vs. East Carolina (L 64-62) -- Chris Stephens and Sasa Cuic miss three-point attempts in the last three seconds.vs. Portland (W 66-63) -- Kenny Hooks blocks a Darren Cooper three-point attempt at the buzzer.
PLENTY OF PLAYING TIME: Through six games of this young season, Oregon State has nine players averaging in double-figures for minutes. Last year's team finished the season with seven players at 10-plus minutes.
'BUT, WE GAIN THREE HOURS ON THE RETURN': Oregon State is off to Atlanta this week to face the University of Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl for Kids. The game will mark what is believed to be the first time in the history of the program that Oregon State has made two separate non-postseason trips to an East Coast time zone locale. Earlier this season, the Beavers played at the Black Coaches Invitational in Raleigh, N.C.
RECORD PACE: Oregon State is off to a near-record pace from the three-point stripe. The Beavers have hit .374 (34-for-91) from beyond the arc, which would be the second-highest percentage in the history of the program. The school record is .406 (97-for-239) in 1988 -- the second year of the three-point shot.
LUCAS RETURN? Oregon State senior forward David Lucas has had the protective boot removed from his right foot and will slowly begin to condition over the next few weeks. Lucas had surgery to repair a tendon on his right big toe on Oct. 28. While there is no definitive date for his return, OSU officials are cautiously optimistic that he could be back in the lineup in early January.
THE NEW CLASS: Head coach Jay John signed three student-athletes to national letters of intent during the early signing period (Nov. 10-17). Joining the program for 2005-2006 will be guards Josh Tarver (6-3, Jesuit HS, Portland, OR) and Wesley Washington (6-3, Compton CC, Compton CA), and power forward Calvin Hampton (6-9, New Hampton Prep School, NH). Tarver's brother Zach is a true freshman receiver on the OSU football team and his oldest brother Shon was a standout guard at UCLA (1991-94).
BEAVERS IN THE NBA: Two former Beavers are currently in the National Basketball Association. NBA all-star Gary Payton is in his 15th year in the league and first with the Boston Celtics, and Brent Barry is in his 10th year in the league and first with the San Antonio Spurs. A total of 26 former Beavers have played in the NBA.