Finals Week Concludes with Willamette Test

Dec. 10, 2003

Corvallis, Ore. -

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THEME: Oregon State returns from a hectic week of finals to host the Willamette University Bearcats Friday, Dec. 12. The Beavers enter the game in quest of back-to-back victories for the first time this season. OSU will travel up Interstate-5 immediately following the game to catch an early a.m. flight to Honolulu for a Dec. 15 date with the Hawai'i Warriors. The Warriors' game against OSU is their first counting contest since a Nov. 26 loss at home to Dayton.

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 17-7 (as of 12/8). KSU is 4-1, Colorado is 4-1, Hawaii is 2-2, Boise State is 4-1 (@ Idaho State 12/10), and Sacramento State is 3-3 (@ vs. St. Mary's 12/11).

SERIES: Oregon State and Willamette have played 54 times, but not since the Bearcats won in Salem in OSU's 1951-52 season opener, 64-54. The Beavers have an overall advantage in the series of 45-9.

NOT SO FAST: Oregon State welcomes Division III Northwest Conference foe Willamette Friday, but it is no guarantee of a victory if recent history is any indication. The Beavers did dominate non-Division I Seattle University last year, but there have been struggles of late over lower division opponents. OSU posted a five-point victory in the 2002 season opener vs. Northern Colorado and fought to defeat Alaska-Anchorage by nine points later in that season. In the 2001 season, the Beavers lost to UC Riverside, a program in transition from II to I, and during the 1996 season lost at home to Montana State-Billings.

WELL WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION: Beaver fans who have been in Gill Coliseum for every game this season, counting the exhibition tilts, have witnessed six overtime periods in five games. As of Dec. 9, Oregon State and Kansas State are the only programs in Division I to have participated in a triple-overtime contest. The Beavers entered the week as one of only six programs to have played two overtime regular season games -- joining USC, Maryland, Fairfield, Mount St. Mary's, and Old Dominion. The Trojans have since played their third overtime game in a row, defeating Cal State-Fullerton Tuesday.

BEAVERS LOOK FOR SHOOTING TOUCH: OSU is looking to break out of a sluggish shooting streak over the last three games which it has combined for a .363 (77-212) percentage. The Beavers have gone five consecutive halves shooting .379 or less. The team also has 349 field goal attempts for the season, 48 more than its opponents -- but only three more makes. Over the last two games, OSU has attempted 161 field goals, Colorado and Kansas State combined for 126.

CREDIT THE DEFENSE: Oregon State has forced an average of 22.6 turnovers per game through five contests, while averaging 14.6 -- plus 8.0. 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, and every OSU opponent has turned the ball over at least 21 times. Through five games last season, OSU was forcing 17.2 per game against lesser competition.

SHOOTER! SHOOTER! A common exclamation coming from coaches during games when a known shooting threat has the ball, maybe that should be the cry every time a Beaver has possession. Nine of OSU's 12 eligible players have attempted at least one three-point field goal, only Kyle Jeffers, Michael Johnson, and Derek Potter have failed to attempt a three, and only Potter is not a realistic threat from that range.

YOUTHFUL LOOK: Three true-freshmen have played this season, with the trio combining for seven 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. Eight players are averaging in double figures, with three averaging more than 33. Point guard Lamar Hurd, who led the team last year for minutes played at 33.4, is playing 38.0 per game -- that does include a 45-minute double-overtime stint vs. Portland and a 43-minute effort vs. Kansas State. Guard J.S. Nash, who entered the year averaging 21.6 minutes for his 55-game career, is up to 35.6 for the season, which includes 46 vs. KSU.

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 recently 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, and Red Rocha.

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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