Sacramento State Visits Ralph Miller Court Monday

Dec. 21, 2003

Corvallis, Ore. -

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THEME: Oregon State has lost its last two games by a combined five points. Sacramento State ended its four-game losing streak with a 64-56 victory at home over UC Irvine Saturday.

FAMILIAR FACES: Hornet junior Jameel Pugh transferred to Sacramento State from UMass, where current OSU assistant coach Brian Loyd was the director of operations. Hornet junior E.J. Harris is a transfer from Washington State, where he played during the 2001 and 2002 seasons.

MANICURE NEEDS: Oregon State coaches and fans may be headed for manicures over the holiday season after experiencing one of the wildest seasons in recent years. The last six Division I games have been decided by an average of less than six points, and that includes a 15-point setback at Colorado. Eliminate the Colorado game from the equation, and the average margin drops to four points.

SERIES: This the fourth meeting between the two programs with OSU winning the previous three. The two played last season at Hornet Gym (Dec. 14) with the Beavers posting a 62-49 victory. Then Beaver Philip Ricci returned home to score a game-high 18 points as OSU broke from a 20-20 halftime tie.

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 just ended a stretch of playing four Division I opponents (not counting Dec. 12 game vs. Willamette) with a combined record of 25-5 (through games of 12/20). KSU is 6-1, Colorado is 6-1, Hawaii is 5-2, Boise State is 8-1.

CREDIT THE DEFENSE: Oregon State has forced an average of 20.3 turnovers per game through eight contests, while averaging 14.9 -- plus 5.4. The last time OSU forced its opponents into a 20-plus average per game ratio was the 1979-80 season (20.0). The Beaver defense forced 13.8 last season, 12.5 in 2002, and 13.2 in 2001.

WELL WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION: Six overtime periods in eight regular season games, plus another during the exhibition slate. The Beavers have played a single overtime game (at Hawaii), double overtime (vs. Portland), and triple overtime (vs. Kansas State). The three games that have gone to extra periods are the most since the 1990-91 team played extra stanzas against New Orleans, UCLA, and Washington State. The total of six overtime periods is a school record, eclipsing the five played by the 1982-83 club. For future reference, the last time Oregon State played in four overtime games was during the 1985-86 season. Oregon State, Maryland, and USC share the honor for most Division I overtime games this season with three -- through games of Dec. 20. Sacramento State has also played two overtime games through nine contests.

DON'T COUNT US OUT: Oregon State has shown some maturity in recent games by overcoming double figure deficits to give itself a chance for victory. Here is a closer look: Down 22-10 vs. Boise State -- OSU takes the lead 23-22 (13-0 run) Down 59-49 vs. Boise State -- OSU takes the lead 60-59 (11-0 run) Down 10-0 at Hawaii -- OSU ties the game 16-16 (16-6 run)

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

REBOUND RATIO: Oregon State enters Monday's game looking to end a dubious streak that has seen it be outrebounded in all but one Division I game (Portland) this season. The Beavers are coming off their worst ratio of the season, -16 vs. Boise State. For the year, OSU is being outboarded 43.4-39.5 (-3.9). The 43.4 average would be the highest allowed since the 1971 team relinquished 44.7. On a positive note, OSU's 39.5 for the season would be its highest since that 1971 season (41.6).

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

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 33-plus. Point guard Lamar Hurd, who led the team last year for minutes played at 33.4, is playing 36.6 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 34.4 for the season, which includes 46 vs. KSU. Chris Stephens played a total of 274 minutes last season and is just three short of that mark this year through eight games -- he is averaging 33.9.

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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