Undefeated Kansas State at Ralph Miller Court Saturday

Dec. 4, 2003

Corvallis, Ore. -

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THEME: Oregon State hosts Big 12 Conference foe Kansas State Saturday. The Wildcats are undefeated with victories over Lipscomb, Gardner-Webb, Birmingham-Southern, and Wyoming. The trip to Corvallis is KSU's only road game in its first eight regular season dates. OSU is attempting to rebound from its 81-66 loss at Colorado Monday, a game that was closer than the score indicates.

IMPROVING SCHEDULE: Beaver head coach Jay John stated early in his OSU career that he wanted to improve the program's non-conference schedule -- which he apparently has done. The Beavers are currently in a stretch of playing five Division I opponents (not counting Dec. 12 game vs. Willamette) with a combined record of 14-5 (as of 12/3). KSU is 4-0, Colorado is 3-1, Hawaii is 2-2, Boise State is 2-1, and Sacramento State is 3-1.

SPEAKING OF SCHEDULES: Kansas State is the first program from one of the 'BCS' conferences (SEC, Big 12, Big East, ACC, Big Ten), other than the obvious Pac-10, to visit Corvallis since the Texas Longhorns Dec. 18, 1996. Colorado will visit Gill Coliseum next year.

SERIES: This game concludes a two-game series with Kansas State. The Wildcats evened the series at 2-2 last year with a 90-72 victory at Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan. The game ended a road trip that also included a game at IPFW, and airport visits to Portland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Denver, Phoenix, and Kansas City. That road trip was not scheduled by the current coaching staff. The Wildcats were on fire from three-point range last season, hitting 9 of 12 from beyond the arc. The now departed Gilson DeJesus was particularly blazing hitting all six of his attempts and ending the game with 21 points. DeJesus' teammate Matt Siebrandt also tallied 21. OSU's Jimmie Haywood led all scorers with 26 points, which also included six threes. The most famous game in this series was during the 1981 NCAA Tournament at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion when KSU's Rolando Blackman sent top-seeded OSU out with a jumper at the buzzer and a 50-48 victory. The Beavers have wins of 56-55 in Manhattan during the 1985 season and 66-48 in Corvallis during the 1989 campaign.

OSU VS. BIG 12: OSU is looking to break a nine-game losing streak to Big 12 foes. Overall, OSU is 17-22 vs. conference members -- 2-2 vs. KSU, 0-5 vs. CU, 1-1 vs. Baylor, 0-4 vs. Okla., 5-1 vs. Okla. St., 5-3 vs. Nebraska, 1-4 vs. Texas, 2-0 vs. Texas A&M, and 1-2 vs. Missouri. OSU has never played Kansas, Iowa St., or Texas Tech.

BEAVERS LOOK FOR SHOOTING TOUCH: OSU is looking to break out of a slugglish shooting streak over the last two games which it has combined for a .364 (44-121) percentage. The Beavers were clearly the better team in the first half at Colorado Monday, but its 14-for-41 shooting effort gave them only a 33-32 lead at the break. OSU has been outshot, percentage wise, in the last three games -- which is an especially bad trend since KSU is allowing its opponents to shoot just .356 for the season. The Beavers have actually 36 more field goal attempts than their opponents, but have made just two more.

CREDIT THE DEFENSE: Oregon State has forced an average of 22.5 turnovers per game through four contests, while averaging 14.8 -- plus 7.8. The school record for forced turnovers per game is 22.9 in 1979. The Beavers forced a season-high 25 vs. Prairie View A&M.

YOUTHFUL LOOK: Three true-freshmen have played this season, with the trio combining for six starts. Oregon State is one of only six schools in the nation without a senior on its roster, joining Pepperdine, Wake Forest, Tennessee, UNC-Asheville, and Harvard.

HOME SCHOOL: Oregon State's 17 regular season home dates are the most in the program's modern history. The team makes only two non-conference road trips this season, Dec. 1 at Colorado and Dec. 15 at Hawai'i.

MAJOR MINUTES: Oregon State players haven't had too much to complain about regarding 'their' minutes. Six players are averaging 18.5-plus minutes, and a total of eight are averaging in double figures. Point guard Lamar Hurd, who led the team last year for minutes played at 33.4, is playing 36.8 per game -- that does include a 45-minute double-overtime marathon stint vs. Portland. Guard J.S. Nash, who entered the year averaging 21.6 minutes for his 55-game career, is up to 33.0 for the season.

FINALS BREAK NEXT WEEK: Oregon State takes the week off from games next week as the school enters finals week. The team resumes action Friday, Dec. 12 with a home game against nearby Willamette University. The Willamette game starts a stretch of four games in 10 days.

TEAM CAPTAINS: Junior guard J.S. Nash and sophomore guard Lamar Hurd have been elected team captains for this season.

HUGHES TO REDSHIRT: Freshman center Liam Hughes will redshirt this season. The 7-2, 306-pound center from Hullbridge, England is in his third year of organized basketball. Junior guard Jason Fontenet will also redshirt after transferring from New Mexico State.

THE MURAL OF THE STORY: A quick peek to the south rafters in Gill Coliseum will present you a look at a mural of some of the Oregon State University men's basketball greats. The nearly completed mural includes the 1980-81 team, plus individuals Ralph Miller, Paul Valenti, Slats Gill, Steve Johnson, Charlie Sitton, Gary Payton, Lester Conner, Brent Barry, Scott Haskin, Wally Palmberg, Ed Lewis, Cliff Crandall, Mel Counts, Dave Gambee, Jose Ortiz, Jim Jarvis, A.C. Green, Charlie White, Red Rocha, and Jim Anderson.

SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED: The Oregon State coaching staff signed one prospect to a national letter of intent during the November period. Joining the Beavers next season will be Marcel Jones from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif. The 6-7 guard averaged 10.8 points and 5.3 rebounds last season for the California Interscholastic Federation champions.

BEAVERS IN THE NBA: Currently three former Beavers are residing in the National Basketball Association. NBA all-star Gary Payton is in his 14th year in the league and first with the Los Angeles Lakers. Brent Barry is in his ninth year in the league and fifth with the Seattle Sonics. Lester Conner is in his fifth year as an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics, after a lengthy pro career. A total of 26 former Beavers have played in the NBA.

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