Beavers Seek to End Home Season vs. Cal with Win

Feb. 25, 2005

Corvallis -

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UPCOMING: The Oregon State men's basketball team (15-11 overall, 7-8 Pacific-10 Conference, fifth place) closes out the regular-season home schedule with a contest against California (12-13, 5-10, tied for seventh place) on Saturday (Feb. 26) at 6:05 p.m. The Beavers' five seniors will be honored in a pregame ceremony that will start approximately 20 minutes prior to tip-off. Then, the Beavers will seek to finish off a tremendous season at Gill Coliseum (where OSU is 11-1 this year), while trying to end a long losing streak to the Golden Bears. A win against Cal would also clinch an OSU berth in the Pac-10 Tournament. The Beavers have their most wins since the 1991-92 season, and are guaranteed their first winning regular-season record since 1989-90. One more victory and the Beavers will be assured of a winning record regardless of postseason results.

ON THE AIR: The California game 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 California game will be televised nationally on FSN, with Barry Tompkins and Dan Belluomini on the call.

THE SERIES (CAL): California leads the all-time series, 68-54. The Golden Bears have also won 14 straight meetings. The last Beaver victory was in 1997-98, a game played in Oakland. Cal has won eight straight in Corvallis (nine if you don't include a forfeit in 1995-96). The last OSU win against Cal on the floor of Gill Coliseum was in 1994-95.

LAST MEETING: OSU got off to a good start at California on Jan. 29, taking a five-point lead seven minutes into the game. But the Golden Bears then went on a 20-0 run and earned an easy 91-66 win. David Lucas had 22 points and 10 rebounds, but he was the only Beaver in double-figures. Cal's Rod Benson matched Lucas with 22 points and 10 rebounds.

LOOKING BACK: Five Beavers scored in double-figures and OSU ended an 11-game losing streak to Stanford in an 84-83 victory on Thursday night. OSU never trailed in the game, though the Cardinal rallied to make it a very tight game down the stretch. The Beavers had an uncharacteristic poor game from the free throw line, though made just enough at the end. David Lucas had 21 points (17 in the second half) and a career-high 14 rebounds. J.S. Nash hit one of two free throws with 13 seconds left to clinch the win. Stanford's Chris Hernandez, who had 29 points, made a three-pointer at the buzzer to cut into the final margin.

LUCAS' HONORS: 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 Feb. 14 after averaging 20.0 points and 10.0 rebounds in a sweep of the Washington schools. His first of the season came on Jan. 3 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). Lucas has also been named to the 2004-05 NABC All-District 14 second team.

MORE ON LUCAS: In the last seven games, David Lucas is averaging 20.9 points and 10.6 rebounds. He's led the Beavers (or tied for the lead) in scoring in 12 of 15 conference games. He's averaging 18.2 points overall and 18.5 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 five in the last seven games (he was three rebounds short of having seven straight double-doubles). 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 (15), 20+ point games (seven), games leading the team in scoring (12) and games leading the team in rebounding (12).

SWAT TEAM: Oregon State ranks #1 in the Pac-10 in blocked shots per game (4.0). The main cause of this has been Nick DeWitz, who is third in the conference in blocks with 2.10 per game. His 42 blocks are tied for third in school single-season history. DeWitz has at least one block in 18 of the last 19 games (13 were multi-block games), with a career-high five at California. Also contributing are Kyle Jeffers (14 blocks), David Lucas (13) and Kenny Hooks (12).

HOME SWEET HOME: OSU is 11-1 at Gill Coliseum (7-1 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 79.8 points, while opponents are averaging 70.5 points. OSU is shooting 48.6% from the field, 41.3% on three-pointers and 71.6% from the foul line in home contests. Opponents are at 44.3%, 30.9% and 68.4%, respectively.

PAC-10 ROAD WOES: The Beavers have lost 10 straight Pac-10 road games dating back to last year, and have only one win in the last 19 such games (at Washington State in 2004). The Beavers, 0-7 on the road in the Pac-10 this season, are averaging 64.4 points and shooting 39.2% from the field. The seven opponents have averaged 81.4 points and are shooting 49.9%. OSU has been outrebounded in six of the seven games, and the rebound margin for the five games is -9.1. The Beavers have come close in two of the last four games. The Stanford and ASU games were very similar, as the Beavers trailed both games by 18 points in the second half, yet rallied to take a late one-point lead, only to fall by a few points both times.

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 ... 7-1 when scoring 80 or more points ... 10-1 when having a better field goal percentage than the opponent ... 10-2 when outrebounding the opponent ... 11-3 when committing fewer turnovers than the opponent ... 12-2 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 had its best Pac-10 record after 12 games (6-6) 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 beat Stanford for the first time since 1999 (11 straight losses) ... 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' reserves 17 of 26 times, with OSU posting a 10-7 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 26 games, and only four have appeared in at least 25 games. No player has started every game. OSU has utilized 13 different starting lineups, including eight different lineups in 15 Pac-10 games. Lamar Hurd is the only OSU player to start all 15 Pac-10 games.

FREE THROWS ARE GOOD: OSU has outshot the opponent at the free throw line in 19 of 26 games. Chris Stephens and David Lucas lead the team at 85.0% and 83.1% respectively, but neither appears in the Pac-10 stats because Stephens doesn't have enough made free throws and Lucas hasn't played in enough games. Stephens had consecutive-made streaks of 22 and 15 this season. Jason Fontenet (82.9%) and Sasa Cuic (79.8%) are fifth and ninth in the Pac-10, respectively. Fontenet had consecutive-made streaks of 21 and 13. Cuic made 30 straight earlier this season to tie an OSU record. As a team, the Beavers are shooting 71.7% from the stripe, which is not far off the school record of 75.0% set in 1965-66.

A TALE OF TWO HALVES: In 12 of the 15 Pac-10 games, OSU has scored more points in the second half than the first. OSU has led at halftime in only five of 15 Pac-10 contests (all five were home games). Of those 10 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).

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.

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 #1 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 17 games, but have let the opponent back in by either giving up most of the lead, or the entire lead, 13 times. OSU won 10 of those 13 games, but surrendered a 15-point lead to Arizona and 13-point leads to both East Carolina and Georgia in losses.

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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