No. 1 Arizona on the Docket Thursday in a Regionally Televised Game
March 3, 2003
WINNING SEASON? Oregon State needs one victory in its final two games to post its first winning regular season since the 1990 campaign. Since 1990, the program has finished with one even record (1991), and one game under in 1992, 1993, and 1999.
A LONG ROAD: Oregon State officials need to speak with Pac-10 Conference officials about the schedule, as this is the fifth time in the last seven years the program has finished the regular season away from Corvallis. The Beavers do host the L.A. schools at the end of the 2003-2004 season.
OSU VS. NATIONALLY RANKED: Oregon State enters Thursday's game attempting to snap a 19-game losing streak to nationally ranked clubs. The last Beaver victory over a top-25 club was over then No. 3 Arizona 70-69 (OT) March 2, 2000 in Gill Coliseum.
OSU VS. NO. 1: The Oregon State program has played the No. 1 team in the country 23 times, posting a record of 2-21. The Beavers defeated Indiana 67-51 Dec. 22, 1954, and UCLA 61-57 Feb. 15, 1974. OSU has battled a No. 1 ranked Arizona team twice, losing 98-87 Mar. 11, 1989 at The Forum in Los Angeles in the Pac-10 Tournament, and 70-48 Jan. 14, 1988 at Gill Coliseum.
SERIES: Arizona has won five straight in the series and 19 in a row at the McKale Center. Five Wildcats scored in double figures, led by Hassan Adams' 14 points, in their 80-65 win at Gill Coliseum Jan. 4. Philip Ricci scored a game-high 24 points for the Beavers. Arizona held a 49-33 advantage in the rebounding column, the largest margin vs. OSU this season. The Beavers had their best chance in years to win at the McKale Center last season, building as much as a 21-point lead in the first half thanks to a 19-25 (.760) shooting performance. Arizona outscored OSU in second half 55-32 to rally for a 93-87 victory. Jason Gardner scored 34 to lead UA, while Brian Jackson had 21 for OSU, 20 of those in the first half.
TENTATIVE ARIZONA STARTERSF -- 4 Luke Walton, 6-8, Sr., 10.1 pts, 5.4 rebF-- 33 Rick Anderson, 6-9, Sr., 10.4 pts, 6.0 rebC -- 45 Channing Frye, 6-10, So., 11.6 pts, 7.5 rebG -- 20 Salim Stoudamire, 6-1, So., 13.3 pts, 1.6 rebG -- 22 Jason Gardner, 5-10, Sr., 14.5 pts, 4.0 reb
HOMECOMING: First-year OSU head coach Jay John makes his first return to the McKale Center, where he was an assistant the past four seasons. John grew up in Tucson, and his parents still reside in the area. During John's four-year run (1999-2002) as an assistant coach, the Wildcats won 101 games, appeared in four NCAA Tournaments, and played for the national title in 2001.
INJURY REPORT: Sophomores Floyd North III and J.S. Nash both were nursing injuries in last Saturday's game. North injured his ankle during the game and Nash suffered an abdominal injury minutes before tip-off that forced him to miss the contest. Both are probable.
'IT'S A VERY SIMPLE GAME': A quote from the late Ralph Miller, and it pretty much sums up Oregon State's struggles of late -- it's comes down to the simple fact that this team just doesn't shoot very well. The Beavers have shot 37 percent or less in four of their last six games. OSU is 0-7 when it shoots under 40 percent. The Beavers are eighth in the Pac-10 with a .427 overall field goal percentage, and are last for three-point field goal percentage at .306. The .306 percentage would be the program's second-lowest (.300/1994) since the three-point shot was introduced to college basketball prior to the 1987 season.
SHOOTING TWO: Oregon State's deficiency in perimeter shooting is at times painfully clear, but credit the coaching staff and team for knowing its strength -- in the paint. Thus, the Beavers have been earning trips to the free throw line. The team has actually converted more free throws (405) than its opponents have attempted (394). OSU has also attempted 29 or more from the line in five of the last six contests. Individually, Philip Ricci has attempted 157 for the season, second in the Pac-10 to only Arizona State's Ike Diogu's 221.
CONSIDERING THE PAST, THIS A PRETTY GOOD AVERAGE: Oregon State enters this week's action fourth in the Pac-10 for rebounding, averaging 36.9 per game. If that average holds, it would be the second-highest since the 1973-74 season, and the team has an opportunity to eclipse the highest average (37.0/1999) during that time frame. The program has finished 10th for rebounding in the conference the last two seasons.
MORE ON THE BOARDS: Oregon State was allowing an average of 16.1 offensive rebounds to its first eight Pac-10 opponents. Through the last eight games, the average has decreased to 10.1.
PUT THEM IN THE BOOK: Oregon State could finish the year with four players starting every game, the most since the stat was kept at OSU beginning in the 1984 season. Brian Jackson, Philip Ricci, Jimmie Haywood, and Lamar Hurd have been introduced in all 25 contests. In four of the last six seasons, the program has had zero players start every game.
EIGHTY IS A GOOD GOAL TO HAVE: Oregon State has scored 80-plus points in four conference games this season, the most since the 1995 team had 10. The Beavers are 4-0 when they hit 80-plus.
FRESHMEN IN THE PAC-10: Beaver point guard Lamar Hurd entered the week leading the Pac-10 Conference for average minutes played by a freshman at 33.5 per game. Hurd has played at least 30 minutes in every contest this season, except at California where he fouled out after playing 21 minutes. Arizona State's Ike Diogu is second in the conference at 31.5. Hurd will likely end the season as the first freshman to lead OSU in minutes played since Carson Cunningham (30.8) during the 1996-97 season, and average the most minutes by a Beaver freshman since Gary Payton (37.2) in 1987.
PRIZED POSSESSIONS: Oregon State enters Thursday's game with the lowest turnovers per game average in the Pac-10 Conference at 13.9. The Beavers are second in the category in league games only at 13.2 (Cal/13.1). The 13.9 average could be the program's second-best mark since the 1990 season.
SEVEN PAC-10 WINS? A win Thursday would give the Beavers their seventh conference win of the season, the most since the 1998-99 team also had seven.
RICCI CONTINUES HIS STELLAR PLAY: Beaver senior forward Philip Ricci continues to make a case for being the school's first all-conference selection since Deaundra Tanner in 1999. Ricci is fifth in the conference for scoring (17.0), first for rebounding (8.5), ninth for field goal percentage (.515), and fifth for blocked shots (1.3). He is second in the Pac-10 for active players with double-doubles with 14 (Luke Walton has 15). Ricci also could be the first Beaver since Corey Benjamin (19.8) in 1998 to finish among the top five scorers in the league.
RETURN TO SENDER: Oregon State entered the week tied for third in the Pac-10 Conference (USC) for blocked shots, averaging 3.64 per game. The Beavers are on pace to register 98 rejections this season, which would be the most since the 1992-93 team had 111.
THREE RECRUITS SIGNED: First-year head coach Jay John signed three individuals to national letters of intent during the early signing period in November. Joining the Beavers for the 2003-2004 season will be Liam Hughes (7-2, C) from Modesto Christian High School in California, Kyle Jeffers (6-8, F), from Montgomery High School in Santa Rosa, Cal., and Jeffree Williams (6-9, F) from Roosevelt High School in Portland, Ore. John and his staff have two scholarships remaining to award during the late signing period, April 16-May 15.