Beavers Meet Arizona in Pac-10 Semifinals
March 10, 2005
Los Angeles -
UPCOMING: The Oregon State men's basketball team (17-13), having its best season in the last 15 years, has advanced to the semifinals of the 2005 Pac-10 Tournament and will face top-seeded and #8-ranked Arizona (26-5) on Friday (March 11) at 6:15 p.m. at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
OF HISTORICAL NOTE: The Beavers have clinched their first overall winning record since 1989-90 ... They also have their most wins since that season (22) ... The Beavers earned their most conference wins and had their best conference finish since 1992-93 (nine wins, tied for fifth place) ... OSU is poised to take part in a postseason tournament beyond the Pac-10 Tournament for the first time since 1990.
OSU TOURNAMENT HISTORY: The Beavers have participated in five of the previous seven Pac-10 Tournaments. This is only the second time OSU has been in the tournament since it was reinstated in 2002, however (in 2003, the team lost in the first round to California). The Beavers have an all-time record of 4-5 in the tourney after Thursday's win against UCLA. Their best showing was in 1988, when they reached the championship game but lost to Arizona at the McKale Center.
LOOKING BACK: The Beavers built a 22-point first-half lead against #4-seed UCLA, then held on for a 79-72 victory in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament on Thursday. Despite David Lucas being in early foul trouble, OSU took a 45-23 lead with 1:25 to go in the first half. The Bruins fought back, getting the lead down to four points at 57-53 with nine minutes to play. With a five-point lead a bit later, a Nick DeWitz three-point play and a Jason Fontenet three-pointer got the advantage back to 11 points. UCLA got no closer than six points the rest of the way. Chris Stephens led the Beavers with 17 points.
NOTABLES: The Beavers have outshot the opponent in five straight games, including holding the last three opponents to a field-goal percentage below 40 percent ... OSU had five scorers in double-figures against UCLA, and improved to 4-0 this year when that happens ... For the first time since the Sacramento State game, neither David Lucas or Nick DeWitz was the team's top scorer ... OSU won its first game away from Gill Coliseum since Dec. 21 (at Prairie View A&M) ... OSU's last victory in the Pac-10 Tournament came 16 years ago to the day (March 10, 1989, vs. California).
THE SERIES (UofA): Oregon State is 16-42 all-time against Arizona. OSU has won one of the last 10 meetings (last year in Gill Coliseum). The schools have met twice in the Pac-10 Tournament, with the Wildcats winning in the final in 1988 and the semifinals in 1989.
LAST TWO MEETINGS (UofA): Arizona is the only Pac-10 team the Beavers have not beaten this year ... In the first meeting on Jan. 22, it's was Jay John's first game returning to the sidelines after suffering his hypertensive event. Despite shooting 54.2% from the field, then-#13 Arizona left Gill Coliseum 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 ... In the second game on Feb. 20, Salim Stoudamire was the story, as he hit nine three-pointers and scored 31 points as the then-#10 Wildcats rolled to a 91-70 win. OSU lost its 23rd consecutive game in Tucson. Nick DeWitz and Jason Fontenet had 16 points apiece for the Beavers.
LUCAS: David Lucas is one of the hottest players in the conference right now, and has earned All-Pac-10 first team honors for the second straight year. The last OSU player to earn two-time All-Pac-10 honors was Scott Haskin in 1992 and 1993. He needs just 22 points to become OSU's 31st player to score 1,000 career points. He is averaging a team-best 18.4 points per game, and has scored in double-figures 19 of 20 times this season (including a current streak of 14 games), and has posted 50 career double-figure scoring games. Lucas was honored as Pac-10 Player of the Week twice this season. He has three career honors, joining 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.
DeWITZ: If there's a list of the top Division I transfers from this past year, Nick DeWitz belongs on it. The former Iowa Hawkeye has been a true standout, averaging 14.0 points and 5.6 rebounds. He is the winner of the Pac-10's Fred Hessler Award, given to the league's top non-freshman newcomer. DeWitz also earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention honors. His versatility shows in the fact that entering the tournament, he was #1 in the Pac-10 in three-point percentage and #3 in blocked shots. He has blocked at least one shot in 22 of the last 23 games (15 were multi-block games).
JOHN'S HONORS: OSU Coach Jay John was named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year by collegeinsider.com ... Jay Bilas of espn.com named John a runner-up for his Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors ... Following OSU's sweep of the L.A. schools, John was named National Coach of the Week on Jan. 3 by Dick Vitale on espn.com.