The Most Contested Rivalry in the Nation Resumes Saturday at Gill Coliseum

Jan. 7, 2004

Corvallis, Ore. -

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THEME: Pacific-10 Conference play at home opens for Oregon State University when it hosts the University of Oregon in the first of two Civil War matchups. The Civil War is presented by the Northwest Dodge Dealers. The Beavers enter the game looking to snap a two-game losing streak, while the Ducks finish a challenging three-game road set to open league action. The game will be broadcast via the Beaver Sports Television Network.

SERIES: Pacific-10 Conference records indicate that Oregon State leads the overall series 176-142, but Oregon has won nine straight and 18 of the last 19. Only one of the last eight games has been decided by less than 10 points. The Ducks won last year's encounter in Corvallis 80-63 with Luke Ridnour scoring 18 points, and Andre Joseph and James Davis adding 16 each. Brian Jackson scored 15 to lead OSU. The Ducks raced to a 47-28 halftime lead thanks in part to the Beavers shooting .241 (7-29) from the field in the first half. OSU finished the game shooting just .300 (18-60), the lowest percentage of the regular season. UO defeated OSU last season in Eugene 79-68. OSU and UO have faced each other more than any other two programs in the nation -- 318 games.

QUITE A ROLL: Sophomore guard Chris Stephens has scored 15 or more points in nine consecutive games -- that's the longest such streak by a Beaver since Gary Payton had 17-straight during the 1990 season. He has also made at least two threes in every game during the streak, and after a 4-for-17 start (3 games) has rallied to make 24 of 66 (.364) over those nine games. For good measure, he ranks 26th in the nation for free throw percentage and fourth in the Pac-10 at .886 (31-35).

THE 'START' OF SOMETHING: Entering Saturday's contest, Oregon State's eligible players have combined for 113 career Division I starts -- the lowest number in the Pac-10 Conference. Counting games through Jan. 8, the rest of the league shapes up with UCLA (157), California (163), Oregon (163), Arizona State (167), Arizona (185), Washington (196), Stanford (216), Washington State (241), and USC (253).

YOUTHFUL LOOK: Three true-freshmen have played this season, with the trio combining for 12 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.

CREDIT THE DEFENSE: Oregon State has forced an average of 19.4 turnovers per game through 12 contests, while averaging 14.8 -- a Pac-10 Conference leading plus 4.6. 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.

SHOWING IMPROVEMENT: Oregon State has generally struggled in the field goal percentage area this season, ranked eighth in the Pac-10 at .420. However, the team has shot better than .420 in four of the last five games. At the other end of the court, Beaver opponents have shot .509 or better in three of the last four games, and .400 or better from three-point range in four straight.

WELL WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION: Six overtime periods in 12 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, USC, Santa Clara, Fairfield, and Duquesne share the honor for most Division I overtime games this season with three -- through games of Jan. 6.

LEADS DISAPPEAR? In another possible sign of inexperience and the steep learning curve the program is in the midst of, Oregon State has held double digit leads in its last two games only to watch them disappear. The Beavers led by 10 points at halftime at UCLA, and briefly in the second half, and scored the first 13 points at USC.

THANKS FOR THE CHARITY: Oregon State has made its recent opponents pay at the free throw line. The Beavers have hit .814 (48-59) over the last three games, while their opponents have made just .578 (26-45) over the same span. Guard Chris Stephens has made 16 consecutive free throws and guard J.S. Nash has made 25 of his last 28.

10TH NO MORE: Oregon State enters this week's action eighth in the Pac-10 for scoring at 74.6 points per game. Eighth would be a significant improvement from recent years. A closer look.

	Year	Avg.	Rank	2003	68.0	10th	2002	64.3	10th	2001	61.9	10th	2000	69.6	8th

10TH NO MORE, PART II: Further evidence of head coach Jay John's belief in 'pushing the ball,' Oregon State has scored 80-plus points 11 times in the 40-game John era. The program hit the 80-point plateau just six times in 59 games during the two-year reign of Ritchie McKay.

HELP FROM YOUR FRIENDS: Even with team's struggles shooting, OSU is still averaging 14.8 assists per game. The last three seasons the Beavers have averaged 13.6 (2003), 13.8 (2002), and 13.3 (2001).

QUICK HANDS: Through 12 games last season, Oregon State had 63 steals -- compared to 91 this season against better competition. The Beavers rank third in the Pac-10 with a 7.6 per game average.

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.

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.

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 doube figures, with three averaging 32.4-plus. Point guard Lamar Hurd, who led the team last year for minutes played at 33.4, is playing 35.2 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 34.0 for the season, which includes 46 vs. KSU. Chris Stephens played a total of 274 minutes last season, and has already eclipsed that total -- he is averaging 32.4. One year ago as of Jan. 2, David Lucas had played a total of 32 minutes for his career -- this year alone he has played 272.

HOOPS REUNION SCHEDULED: In what has become an annual event at Oregon State University, the Athletic Department will hold a men's basketball reunion Sat., Jan. 17 for roster members from teams from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. Those three decades produced 10 conference championships, one NCAA Final Four appearance (1949), 13 All-American selections, 16 All-Pacific-Coast Conference picks, and 22 All-Northern Division honors. Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member Amory 'Slats' Gill was the head coach of the program for that entire span.

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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