Beavers Make Two-Game Trip to Boise, Prairie View

Dec. 14, 2004

Corvallis -

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UPCOMING: The Oregon State men's basketball team (5-3) makes its final non-conference road trip of 2004-05 with a pair of stops. First, the Beavers take on Boise State on Saturday (Dec. 18) at 6:30 p.m. PST/7:30 p.m. MST. The Broncos are 4-3 and host Eastern Washington at the Taco Bell Arena on Wednesday. The trip continues to Texas with a game at Prairie View A&M (about 50 miles from Houston) on Tuesday (Dec. 21) at 5:30 p.m. PST/7:30 p.m. CST. The Panthers are 0-6 heading into a game at Arkansas on Saturday. Junior guard Lamar Hurd, who hails from Houston, expects to have 50-75 family and friends in attendance.

ON THE AIR: Both games can be heard live on the Beaver Radio Network (which includes 15 stations throughout Oregon), with Mike Parker calling the action. It can be heard on the internet by Yahoo! Sports college broadcast subscribers by going to www.osubeavers.com and following the links. The Boise State game will be aired on television over the Beaver Sports Network (which includes six stations in Oregon). Todd McKim and Scott Lynn are the broadcasters. It can also be viewed via live streaming on the OSU website.

THE SERIES (BOISE STATE): The Beavers are 6-3 all-time against Boise State. The Broncos won last year's meeting in Corvallis, 82-80, on Dec. 20. Five Beavers scored in double-figures, led by Jim Hanchett's 18, but the Broncos scored eight of the game's final 10 points in the last 3 1/2 minutes. The last OSU victory came in the previous meeting, which was in Hawaii during the 1997-98 season. In games played in Boise, the Beavers are 1-2, with a victory in 1984-85 and losses in 1988-89 and 1977-78.

THE SERIES (PRAIRIE VIEW A&M): This is the second meeting between OSU and Prairie View A&M. Last season, the Beavers posted a 70-53 victory at home in the season opener on Nov. 11. Two currently injured players, David Lucas and Angelo Tsagarakis, led the way with 16 and 10 points, respectively.

LOOKING BACK: All 11 Beavers that got into the game scored as OSU defeated Bethune-Cookman, 69-56, on Monday night (Dec. 13) in Corvallis. Junior forward Nick DeWitz, playing in just his second game (and first at home), scored 16 points and pulled down six rebounds in just 13 minutes of action. Senior guard J.S. Nash was the only other Beaver in double-figures with 13 points. OSU had a 19-point halftime lead at 37-18. The lead slipped to five points at 45-40 with less than 12 minutes to go, but OSU rebounded and grew the lead back up to 20 points before settling for the 13-point victory.

INJURY UPDATES: After playing in all of the first 61 games of his career, junior guard Lamar Hurd has missed the last three games due to back spasms. His condition is day-to-day ... Sophomore guard Angelo Tsagarakis is practicing again and may be available soon. He had surgery on a dislocated shoulder in September ... Senior All-Pac-10 forward David Lucas has had the protective boot removed from his right foot and will slowly begin to condition over the next few weeks. He has not been fully cleared to practice, however. 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.

BENCH SCORING IMPRESSIVE: OSU's depth has been very good this season and may be among the best in the Pac-10 Conference. In the last four games, the Beaver bench has outscored the opponents' bench, 121-23 (37-8 in the Bethune-Cookman game). With the addition of Nick DeWitz, who appeared in his first game against Georgia, 10 OSU players are averaging at least 14.5 minutes per game of playing time. When David Lucas and Angelo Tsagarakis return from injuries, the bench will grow even deeper.

FREE THROWS ARE GOOD: 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. Each is hitting 87.5 percent or better from the charity stripe. Cuic made 30 consecutive free throws earlier this season to tie an OSU record, and he is now 41 of 44 (.932). Stephens had a streak of 22 straight free throws end against Georgia. He's now 19-for-20 (.950) in 2004-05. Fontenet has made 21 of 24 attempts (.875), including a streak of 13 straight that recently ended. Of Cuic's 119 total points this season, 34.5% have come from the free throw line. As a team, the Beavers are shooting 73.9% from the stripe, which is not far off the school record of 75.0% set in 1965-66.

THREE-POINTERS TOO: The Beavers are also faring well from beyond the three-point line. OSU players have hit on 35.9% (46-for-128) from beyond the arc. The school record is 40.6% (97-for-239) in 1988 -- the second year of the three-point shot. Marcel Jones (8-for-16, .500), J.S. Nash (8-for-17, .471) and Jason Fontenet (9-for-22, .409) have been the most accurate long-range shooters.

OSU KEEPS IT INTERESTING: Four of the first seven games were 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.vs. Georgia (L 74-76 OT) -- In regulation, Chris Stephens hits a jumper with six seconds left to give OSU a two-point lead, but Georgia sends the game into overtime on a shot at the buzzer. With 1.6 seconds left in overtime, J.S. Nash throws a perfect length-of-the-court pass to Nick DeWitz, but his hurried, under-pressure lay-up attempt just misses.

BIG LEADS ARE NO CERTAIN THING: One area that Oregon State will seek to improve is to hold onto large leads, which hasn't been easy the last four games. 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. It finally cost the Beavers against Georgia. The Beavers had a 13-point first-half lead and a 10-point halftime lead, but ended up falling in overtime. Against Bethune-Cookman, the Beavers saw a 19-point halftime lead get cut to five points with 12 minutes to go, but OSU bounced back to regain a 20-point lead.

FREQUENT-FLYER MILES: Oregon State has made two trips to the Eastern time zone, with appearances at the Black Coaches Invitational in Raleigh, N.C., and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl for Kids in Atlanta. It's believed to be the first time in the history of the program that OSU has made two separate non-postseason trips to an East Coast time zone locale. The Beavers will hit all four time zones in the non-conference season alone, with trips to Boise State (Mountain) and Prairie View (Central) coming up.

INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: The Beavers have three players who hail from overseas, and another that had to cross the U.S.' northern border to get to OSU. There are three Europeans: Sasa Cuic (Croatia), Angelo Tsagarakis (France) and Liam Hughes (England), while Derek Potter is from British Columbia. Another player, Jim Hanchett, served a two-year mission in Brazil.

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.

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