Men's Hoops Looks to Keep Ball Rolling

Feb. 15, 2005

Corvallis -

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UPCOMING: The Oregon State men's basketball team (14-9 overall, 6-6 Pacific-10 Conference), thanks to a three-game winning streak, including a dismantling of then-#11 Washington, has moved all the way up to fifth place in the conference. To maintain or improve their position, the Beavers will need to finish strong by ending their frustrations on the road (four of the final six games are away from Gill Coliseum; OSU is 0-5 in Pac-10 road games). It begins this week in Arizona, where OSU battles Arizona State (16-9, 5-8) on Thursday at 7 p.m. MST, and #10 Arizona (21-4, 11-2) on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. MST. The Beavers have their most wins since the 1991-92 season, and one more victory will guarantee their first winning regular-season record since 1989-90. OSU has its best Pac-10 record after 12 games since 1992-93. The Beavers received votes in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. David Lucas is the Pac-10 Player of the Week again.

ON THE AIR: The Arizona State and Arizona games can be heard live on the Beaver Radio Network (which includes 15 stations throughout the Northwest), with Mike Parker calling the action. Games can also be heard on the internet by Yahoo! Sports college broadcast subscribers by going to www.osubeavers.com and following the links. The Arizona game will be televised nationally on FSN, with Barry Tompkins and Dan Belluomini on the call.

THE SERIES (ASU): Oregon State leads the all-time series with ASU, 35-28. The Beavers have won two in a row, which ended a four-game Sun Devil winning streak before that. ASU has won nine of the last 12 meetings, including six straight in Tempe.

LAST MEETING (ASU): The Beavers looked like a much different team than the one that had just lost three straight on the road, crushing Arizona State, 88-66, on Jan. 20 in Gill Coliseum. Kevin Mouton stepped in as acting head coach in place of Jay John, who was out dealing with a case of hypertension. The Beavers shot a season-high 62.5% from the field and took a halftime lead (42-39) for the first time in six Pac-10 games. David Lucas scored 27 points, two off his career high. Nick DeWitz scored a career-high 22 points and was 9-for-9 from the field. Lamar Hurd had nine assists, the most by a Beaver this season. The 22-point win was the largest against a Pac-10 team in the three seasons the current coaching staff has been in place. ASU's Ike Diogu also scored 27 points, but only five in the second half.

THE SERIES (UofA): Oregon State is 16-41 all-time against Arizona. OSU has won one of the last nine meetings (last year in Gill Coliseum). The Beavers have actually lost 22 straight meetings in Tucson (the last OSU win there was in 1982-83).

LAST MEETING (UofA): Though Jay John returned to the sidelines after missing the Arizona State game, and despite shooting 54.2% from the field, then-#13 Arizona left Gill Coliseum on Jan. 22 with a 92-83 victory. David Lucas and Chris Stephens scored 17 points apiece in front of a near-sellout crowd. The Beavers took a 15-point first-half lead, though the Wildcats cut the margin to one at halftime, and Arizona took over in the second half.

LOOKING BACK: It was a very good weekend at Gill Coliseum, as the Beavers defeated Washington State, 58-51, on Thursday, and then beat #11 Washington, 90-73, on Sunday in front of an FSN national audience. Against WSU, OSU trailed 21-19 at halftime, but the Beavers began the second half on a 20-3 run. Against Washington, OSU shot 60.0% for the game and took a seven-point halftime lead. Four players scored at least 17 points, led by David Lucas' 23 points and 10 rebounds and Nick DeWitz' 20 points.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: David Lucas is one of the hottest players in the conference right now. He's been honored as Pac-10 Player of the Week twice this season, the second coming on Monday after averaging 20.0 points and 10.0 rebounds in a sweep of the Washington schools. His first of the season came after a sweep of the Los Angeles schools. The last OSU player to earn the award twice in one season was Brent Barry in 1994-95. It's Lucas' third career honor, and he joins a select group of OSU players who have won the award three or more times: Gary Payton (nine), A.C. Green (four), Scott Haskin (three) and Jose Ortiz (three).

MORE ON LUCAS: In the last four games, David Lucas is averaging 21.0 points and 9.8 rebounds. He's led the Beavers (or tied for the lead) in scoring in 10 of 12 conference games. He's averaging 17.6 points overall and 18.0 in the Pac-10 (good for fifth in conference games only). OSU had no double-doubles in the first 19 games of the season, but Lucas now has three in the last four games. His overall statistics don't qualify him among the Pac-10 leaders yet because he missed the first 10 games of the season due to surgery on his right big toe. Despite missing all that time, Lucas leads the Beavers in games with double-figure points (12), 20+ point games (five), games leading the team in scoring (10) and games leading the team in rebounding (nine).

INJURY UPDATE: Jim Hanchett underwent season-ending shoulder surgery on Feb. 10. The procedure was successful. He suffered an initial injury during football season and it got progressively worse. The senior forward, a crowd favorite with his energetic play and tough post defense, appeared in 19 games and averaged 2.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and 12.4 minutes ... Angelo Tsagarakis is already redshirting the season due to a shoulder injury.

HOME SWEET HOME: OSU is 10-1 at Gill Coliseum (6-1 in Pac-10 play). The Beavers won their first seven home games, their best start at home since 1990-91, when they won their first nine. The Beavers are averaging 79.4 points, while opponents are averaging 69.4 points. OSU is shooting 48.8% from the field, 40.4% on three-pointers and 72.8% from the foul line in home contests. Opponents are at 44.5%, 31.3% and 66.5%, respectively.

PAC-10 ROAD WOES: The Beavers have lost eight straight Pac-10 road games dating back to last year, and have only one win in the last 17 such games (at Washington State in 2004). The Beavers, 0-5 on the road in the Pac-10 this season, are averaging 61.6 points and shooting 38.4% from the field. The four opponents have averaged 80.8 points and are shooting 51.3%. OSU has been outrebounded in four of the five games, and the rebound margin for the five games is -11.2.

VICTORY INDICATORS: If OSU can make the following happen, it will probably mean a good result. The Beavers are 4-0 when the opponent shoots below 39.9% from the field ... 4-0 when shooting 80% or better from the foul line ... 6-1 when scoring 80 or more points ... 9-2 when outrebounding the opponent ... 11-2 when committing fewer turnovers than the opponent ... 11-2 when leading at the half.

IT'S BEEN A WHILE: OSU's 10-3 start after 13 games was its best since 1989-90, the last time the Beavers played in the NCAA Tournament ... OSU started 2-0 in the Pac-10 for the first time since 1992-93 ... OSU posted back-to-back home wins against Oregon for the first time since 1993 and 1994 ... OSU won its Pac-10 opener for the first time since 1994-95 ... OSU swept the Los Angeles schools at Gill Coliseum for the first time since 1998-99 ... OSU had back-to-back home crowds of better than 10,000 for the first time since January 1999 (both times were against Arizona and Oregon) ... OSU's 22-point win over Arizona State was the largest margin of victory against a Pac-10 team since 2001-02 ... OSU's six-game winning streak was its best since early 2002-03.

EVERYONE CONTRIBUTES: OSU's depth has been very good this season, as the Beaver bench has outscored the opponents' bench 14 of 23 times, with OSU posting a 9-5 record in those games. A total of 11 OSU players averaged at least 10 minutes of playing time in the non-conference season, although the bench has grown shorter in Pac-10 play, where only eight are averaging double-figure minutes. The depth has come in handy, as only three Beavers have appeared in all 23 games, and only four have appeared in at least 22 games. No player has started every game. OSU has utilized 12 different starting lineups, including seven different lineups in 12 Pac-10 games. Lamar Hurd is the only OSU player to start all 12 Pac-10 games.

FREE THROWS ARE GOOD: OSU has outshot the opponent at the free throw line in 18 of 23 games. And, several free throw shooters have had impressive streaks this season, and have hit for an excellent percentage. Chris Stephens is second in the Pac-10 in free throw percentage at 90.9% (50-for-55). He has had streaks of 22 and 15 this season. Jason Fontenet and Sasa Cuic are eighth and 10th in the Pac-10, respectively. Fontenet is 46-for-56 (.821), including a streak of 13 straight at one point. Cuic made 30 straight earlier this season to tie an OSU record, and he is 69-for-86 (.802). David Lucas is making 82.8% of his free throws (he just hasn't played enough to qualify for the Pac-10 stats). As a team, the Beavers are shooting 72.6% from the stripe, which is not far off the school record of 75.0% set in 1965-66.

A TALE OF TWO HALVES: In 10 of the 12 Pac-10 games, OSU has scored more points in the second half than the first. OSU has led at halftime in only four of 12 Pac-10 contests (vs. ASU, vs. ARIZ, vs. ORE, vs. UW). But, of those eight halftime deficits, OSU has come back to win three times (vs. UCLA, vs. USC, vs. WSU). All of this goes against 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).

COACH JOHN'S HEALTH: OSU Coach Jay John did not return to the sidelines after halftime of the Jan. 15 Washington game because he felt chest pains and a shortness of breath. He was taken to the UW Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with hypertension, which is basically an event of high blood pressure. He was released from the hospital a day later, but doctors ordered him to rest for a few days while further tests were conducted and his medication took hold. He missed the Jan. 20 Arizona State game, but returned two days later against Arizona. Through exercise, a new diet and blood pressure medication, he is expected to be fine.

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.

A SHARP-DRESSED MAN: OSU assistant coach Brian Loyd is ranked #6 among the nation's assistant coaches on collegeinsider.com's 'FPI' -- the Fashion Power Index that rates the best-dressed coaches.

BIG LEADS THAT DISAPPEAR: One area of concern is that the Beavers have taken a double-digit lead in 16 games, but have let the opponent back in by either giving up most of the lead, or the entire lead, 12 times. OSU won nine of those 12 games, but surrendered a 15-point lead to Arizona and 13-point leads to both East Carolina and Georgia in losses.

DOWN TO THE LAST SECOND: Four of the first seven games were decided by three points or less. Here's a closer look at this year's last-second 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):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: It's believed that this is 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 (Raleigh, N.C., and Atlanta). 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 briefly 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 2005-06 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. Five Beavers are in the newly reformed ABA: Jimmie Haywood (Bellevue), Brian Jackson (Arkansas), Charles McKinney (Portland), Brandon Payton (Portland) and Deaundra Tanner (Utah). Jackson was recently named to the ABA All-Star Game.

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