First of Two Men's Hoops Civil Wars this Saturday
Jan. 3, 2005
UPCOMING: The Oregon State men's basketball team (10-3 overall, 2-0 Pacific-10 Conference), continuing one of the best starts for the program in many years, will put its undefeated league record and six-game winning streak on the line this Saturday (Jan. 8) in a visit to rival Oregon (9-2, 1-1) in another installment of the hardwood Civil War. Tip-off is at 8 p.m. David Lucas was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week and Jay John earned a National Coach of the Week honor after last weekend's home sweep of the Los Angeles schools.
ON THE AIR: The Oregon game can be heard live on the Beaver Radio Network (which includes 15 stations throughout the Northwest), with Mike Parker calling the action. It can also be heard on the internet by Yahoo! Sports college broadcast subscribers by going to www.osubeavers.com and following the links. The game will also be televised via the Ducks' Oregon Sports Network, which consists of four Oregon television stations, including KEZI-9 in Eugene. Joe Giansante and Rob Closs are the announcers.
THE SERIES: Oregon State leads the all-time series against Oregon, 177-143. However, the Ducks have won 10 of the last 11 and 20 of the last 22 meetings. One of those rare Beaver victories came last season at Gill Coliseum on Jan. 10, 2004, as David Lucas scored 24 points in a 90-81 win. In Eugene on Feb. 7, however, the Ducks posted an 81-74 victory despite 20 points from Lucas. The last time OSU won in Eugene was in 1992-93 (11 straight losses).
LOOKING BACK: With a home sweep of UCLA (85-80 on Dec. 31) and USC (74-64 on Jan. 2), the Beavers won their Pac-10 opener for the first time since 1994-95, and stand at 2-0 in the Pac-10 for the first time since 1992-93. It was also the first home sweep of the Los Angeles schools since 1998-99. Beaver Nation turned out in force (9,042 for UCLA, 7,181 for USC) to create a great atmosphere. David Lucas, playing in only his second and third games of the season, led the Beavers in scoring both times, with 21 against the Bruins and 17 against the Trojans.
INJURY UPDATES: Derek Potter suffered a sprained ankle in practice on Dec. 26 and was set to be out 7-10 days. He may suit up again this week ... Angelo Tsagarakis has been practicing since early December, though he's not quite ready to play. He had surgery on a dislocated shoulder in September.
A LOT OF FIRSTS: OSU won its Pac-10 opener for the first time since 1994-95 ... OSU is 2-0 in the Pac-10 for the first time since 1992-93 (the Beavers started 5-0 that year) ... OSU swept the Los Angeles schools at Gill Coliseum for the first time since 1998-99.
IT'S AWESOME, BABY: Following OSU's sweep of the L.A. schools, Jay John was named National Coach of the Week on Jan. 3 by Dick Vitale on espn.com.
BACK AND BETTER THAN EVER: Senior All-Pac-10 forward David Lucas missed the first 10 games due surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right big toe. He returned last week and averaged 17.0 points in his first three games, including team highs of 21 points against UCLA and 17 points against USC. He was named Pac-10 Player of the Week on Monday for his efforts.
STREAKING: OSU's six-game win streak is its best since early in the 2002-03 season (the last seven-game winning streak was in 1992-93). In the six games, the Beavers have had a victory margin of +11.7 and a turnover margin of +3.2. OSU has had a decided edge at the free throw line, making more free throws (112-for-156, 71.8%) than opponents have even attempted (58-for-108, 53.7%).
SO CLOSE: The Beavers are six points away from having a 12-1 overall record (OSU suffered two-point losses to East Carolina and Georgia).
TEN-FOR-THIRTEEN: The 10-3 overall record that OSU has put together is its best mark after 13 games in the last 15 seasons. The Beavers opened the 1989-90 season with an 11-2 record (that was the last time OSU played in the NCAA Tournament).
HOME SWEET HOME: The Beavers are 6-0 at Gill Coliseum, their best start at home since 1999-2000 (when they also won their first six home games). Prior to that, OSU won its first nine home games in 1990-91. The Beavers are averaging 79.7 points, while opponents are averaging 68.2 points. OSU is shooting 46.7% from the field, 41.0% on three-pointers and 74.8% from the foul line in home contests.
BENCH SCORING IMPRESSIVE: OSU's depth has been very good this season and may be among the best in the Pac-10 Conference. The Beaver bench has outscored the opponents' bench nine times, with OSU posting an 8-1 record in those games. The Beaver bench is averaging 26.8 points per game, with a season high of 44 points against Sacramento State. A total of 11 OSU players are averaging at least 12.4 minutes per game of playing time, although the bench has grown shorter in Pac-10 play (only nine Beavers saw action against USC). The depth has come in handy, as only five Beavers have appeared in all 13 games.
FREE THROWS ARE GOOD: Several free throw shooters have had impressive streaks this season, and have hit for an excellent percentage. Chris Stephens leads the Pac-10 in free throw percentage at 91.1% (41-for-45), and he made 22 straight earlier this season. Sasa Cuic made 30 consecutive free throws earlier this season to tie an OSU record, and he is now 58 of 69 (.841). Jason Fontenet has made 27 of 35 attempts (.771), including a streak of 13 straight at one point. Of Cuic's 160 total points this season, 31.1% have come from the free throw line. As a team, the Beavers are shooting 73.4% 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 38.2% (76-for-199) from beyond the arc. The school record is 40.6% (97-for-239) in 1987-88 -- the second year of the three-point shot. J.S. Nash (17-for-32, .531), Jason Fontenet (16-for-38, .421) and Marcel Jones (8-for-20, .400) have been the most accurate long-range shooters. Nash ranks second in the Pac-10 for three-point field-goal percentage. Nash tied a school record against UCLA for three-point field-goal percentage when he went 5-for-5 (Deaundra Tanner did the same against USC in 1999).
A TALE OF TWO HALVES: In each of the two Pac-10 games thus far, OSU was outscored in the first half, but came back with a big second half to earn the victory. That reverses a non-conference trend that saw nearly the opposite occur. The Beavers led at halftime nine of 11 times, but were outscored in the second half seven of 11 times.
BIG LEADS THAT DISAPPEAR: One area of concern is that the Beavers took a double-digit lead in 11 of the first 12 games, but either gave it up partly, or entirely, 10 times. Here are the details: Siena: led by 14 in the first half, then trailed by nine in the second half before winning by two... East Carolina: led by 13 in the first half, but suffered a two-point loss... Elon: led by 14 in the second half, then had the lead cut to three points before winning by 10... Portland: led by 19 in the second half, then had the lead cut to two points before winning by three... Colorado: led by 16 in the first half, then trailed by two in the second half before winning by 11... Georgia: led by 13 in the first half, but suffered a two-point overtime loss... Bethune-Cookman: led by 20 in the second half, then had the lead cut to five points before winning by 13... Boise State: led by 17 in the second half, then had the lead cut to five points before winning by 11... Prairie View A&M: led by 17 in the second half, then had the lead cut to one point before winning by four... UCLA: led by 14 in the second half, then had the lead cut to three points before winning by five.
DOWN TO THE LAST SECOND: 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's finishes: 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... East Carolina (L 62-64): Chris Stephens and Sasa Cuic miss three-point attempts in the last three seconds... Portland (W 66-63): Kenny Hooks blocks a Darren Cooper three-point attempt at the buzzer... 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.
FREQUENT-FLYER MILES: Oregon State 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 hit all four time zones in the non-conference season alone after the trip to Boise State (Mountain) and Prairie View A&M (Central).
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 and lived for a short time in Germany.
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.