Men's Basketball Hosts Southern Utah University

Nov. 29, 2001

Corvallis, Ore. -

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THIS WEEK: Oregon State (3-2) looks to build on its two-game win streak when it hosts the Southern Utah University Thunderbirds (2-2). The game will be played Fri., Nov. 30 at Ralph Miller Court in Gill Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 8:07 p.m.

WHY THE LATE START? The rare 8:07 p.m. start is due to the Beaver Sports Television Network clearing programming for the live telecast.

OSU VS. SUU: The Beavers and Thunderbirds have never met on the hardwood. Southern Utah University is a member of the Mid-Continent Conference, a league that includes Valparaiso (Ind.), Oakland (Rochester, MI), Western Illinois, Chicago State, Oral Roberts (Tulsa, OK), IUPUI (Indianapolis), and Missouri-Kansas City. The T'Birds won last season's conference regular season and tournament championships.

A DEFENSIVE CONFERENCE: Oregon State is allowing its opponents to shoot a paltry .401 from the field, but that's only the fifth best figure in the conference, trailing USC, Washington, Oregon, and California. Four of the first five OSU opponents have shot .407 or less.

WE'RE CONSISTENT: You can't say Oregon State is a first half or second half scoring team, at least not at this juncture. The Beavers are averaging 33.8 points in the first half and 32.6 in the second half. Beaver opponents have averaged 28.6 in the first stanza and 35.8 in the second.

THIS IS A GOOD SIGN: Oregon State has become known as a finesse team in recent years, but that reputation may be changing. Through the first five games OSU has attempted 36 more free throw attempts than its opponents, an indication of players getting to the rim. In fact, OSU's opponents have been whistled for 28 more fouls. Beaver post players Philip Ricci, Brian Jackson, and Jarman Sample have combined for 50 percent of the team's 121 charity attempts. Through five games last year, the team had just 84 attempts.

WELCOME TO COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Oregon State's freshmen class came into the program with solid perimeter shooting backgrounds, but the step up to Division I basketball has proved challenging. The freshmen have combined for 20-for-63 (.317) from the field, including 3-for-29 (.010) from three-point range.

EVEN WITH THAT, THE ACCURACY ISN'T BAD: Overall, OSU is shooting .467 from the field, which if the season ended today, would be the top percentage since 1992 (.486). OSU's top three scorers Philip Ricci, Brian Jackson, and Jimmie Haywood, are all over the 57 percent mark.

CLOSING IN ON 1,500: Oregon State enters Friday's game with 1,495 NCAA recognized victories, the 10th-highest figure in Division I basketball. Oregon State has the most victories of any school in the Pac-10 Conference.

BUSY FIRST MONTH, BUT NOT THE SECOND: Oregon State plays its school record sixth regular season game in the month of November Friday. In contrast the six scheduled games for December equals the fewest contests in modern history in the 12th month.

DOUBLE-DOUBLE CLUB: Junior forward Philip Ricci has already recorded a pair of double-doubles in four games played. No Beaver has had more than two in one season since Mustapha Hoff achieved seven in 1995.

Philip Ricci, 15 pts, 10 reb. vs. TexasPhilip Ricci, 17 points, 11 reb. vs. San Diego

HURT ON THE BOARDS: Oregon State is losing the rebound wars by an average of 6.0 per contest, with the biggest discrepancy on the offensive side where its opponents have 73 compared to 42 for OSU. The Beavers gave up 18 offensive boards, easily the biggest factor in the team's 66-63 loss to St. John's at the Great Alaska Shootout.

POTTER REMAINS OUT: Redshirt-freshman center Derek Potter remains sidelined with a stress reaction injury in his left leg. Potter played briefly in the season opener, but since has been unable to run. He missed all of last season with a broken toe among other ailments.

A FULL BENCH: Head coach Ritchie McKay has many options this year when he turns to his bench, unlike last season. He has 13 'active' players for Friday's game. McKay didn't have a game where he had more than nine available players in 2000-2001, and at times during the year had only seven.

SPREADING MINUTES AROUND: With the additional bodies McKay has available, he has been able to spread minutes around. Junior forward Philip Ricci is the only Beaver averaging over 30 minutes (36.5) on the team. Last season, three Beavers played the campaign at 30-plus minutes per game, and one averaged 29.7. Ricci's minutes will likely drop somewhat when Potter returns.

'STARTING AT FORWARD': OSU players Adam Masten and Brian Jackson have started 35 consecutive games each entering Friday's contest. For Jackson, he has started 93 percent (55 of 59) of his career college games.

HOOPS RECRUITS ADDED: Ritchie McKay and his staff signed three athletes to national letters of intent during the early signing period. Joining the program for the 2002-2003 season are Kerbrell Brown (6-7, F) from Dodge City Community College in Kansas, Kevin Field (6-10, C) from Wilson High School in Tacoma, Wash., and Justin Holt (6-6, F) from Lincoln High School in Tacoma. The program has one remaining scholarship to offer during the late signing period April 10-May 15. A quick glance at the projected roster for next year (as of Nov. 15) includes four seniors, two juniors, seven sophomores, and two freshmen.

HEAD COACH RITCHIE McKAY: Ritchie McKay is in his second year at Oregon State, and is in his sixth overall as a head coach. McKay's record stands at 74-74, which includes an injury riddled 2001 season at OSU (10-20) and the first year of college basketball in 15 years at Portland State University (9-17). McKay spent two years at PSU and finished with a record of 24-29, then led Colorado State University for two of the program's most successful years ever, leaving with a mark of 37-23.

TOP EIGHT QUALIFY: For the first time since the 1989-90 season, the Pacific-10 Conference will hold a postseason tournament. The top eight teams from regular season play will qualify for the March 7-9 event at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.OSU...ineligible for the season opener due to playing in a non-NCAA sanctioned summer tournament.

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