Washington State Visits Gill Coliseum Thursday

Jan. 13, 2004

Corvallis, Ore. -

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THEME: Oregon State, coming off an emotional victory over Oregon, continues its schedule of Pacific Northwest foes, hosting the Washington State Cougars at 8:07 p.m. Thursday in a Fox Sports Northwest televised game. The Beavers are attempting to get to 2-2 in conference action for the first time since the 1998-99 season. The Cougars are off to their first 2-2 start since the 1996-97 season and haven't been 3-2 in league action since 1994-95.

SERIES: Pacific-10 Conference records indicate that Oregon State has a 155-111 lead in a series that dates back to the 1906-07 season. The Beavers have won five straight at Gill Coliseum, and seven of the last nine games overall. WSU snapped OSU's three-game winning streak last season with a 75-71 victory at Friel Court in Pullman. OSU held WSU to .266 from the field in last season's 63-48 victory at Ralph Miller Court. Former Beaver Philip Ricci scored 17 points to lead all scorers with Jimmie Haywood adding 13 and Brian Jackson 11. Chris Schlatter and Thomas Kelati paced WSU with 12 points each. Six of the last 10 games in the series have been decided by five points or less, with each winning three times.

QUITE A ROLL: Sophomore guard Chris Stephens has scored 15 or more points in 10 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 27 of 78 (.346) over those 10 games. For good measure, he ranks fifth in the Pac-10 for free throw percentage at .846 (33-39).

THE 'START' OF SOMETHING: Entering Thursday's contest, Oregon State's eligible players have combined for 118 career Division I starts -- the lowest number in the Pac-10 Conference. Counting games through Jan. 10, the rest of the league shapes up with UCLA (162), California (168), Oregon (168), Arizona State (172), Arizona (190), Washington (201), Stanford (221), Washington State (246), and USC (258).

TALE OF TWO HALVES: Beaver forward David Lucas has had some interesting games this season in terms of production in the first and second halves. Here is a closer look:

			1st half		2nd halfJan. 10 vs. Oregon	         1-3, 2 pts	8-10, 22 ptsJan. 2 at UCLA		2-3, 4 pts	4-6, 9 ptsDec. 28 vs. Jackson St.	0-2, 0 pts	5-9, 11 ptsDec. 22 vs. Sac. State	3-7, 6 pts	6-9, 18 ptsNov. 29 vs. IPFW		2-7, 10 pts	7-11, 15 ptsNov. 22 vs. Prairie View	1-5, 6 pts	5-8, 10 pts

Note: OSU is 5-1 in these games.

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 19.2 turnovers per game through 13 contests, while averaging 14.4 -- a Pac-10 Conference leading plus 4.8. 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 ninth in the Pac-10 at .423. However, the team has shot better than .420 in five of the last six games. Over the last three contests OSU is shooting .449 (83-185).

WELL WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION: Six overtime periods in 13 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. Fairfield leads the nation with five overtimes, followed by Oregon State, Maryland, USC, Santa Clara, Louisiana-Monroe and Duquesne all with three as of Jan. 13.

DOUBLE-DIGIT LEADS: Oregon State has had leads of 10-plus points in each of the last four games, winning twice. In fact, OSU has jumped out to impressive leads of late, leading UCLA at the half by 10 (34-24), scoring the first 13 points at USC, and leading Oregon 12-2. The last four games:

	Jan. 10 vs. Oregon	         12-2	Jan. 4 at USC		13-0	Jan. 2 at UCLA		34-24 (Half)	Dec. 28 vs. Jackson St.	Several times

10TH NO MORE: Oregon State enters this week's action sixth in the Pac-10 for scoring at 75.8 points per game (79.3 in Pac-10). Sixth 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 12 times in the 41-game John era. The program hit the 80-point plateau just six times in 59 games during the two-year reign of Ritchie McKay, and 16 times during the Eddie Payne 130-game tenure.

HELP FROM YOUR FRIENDS: Even with team's struggles shooting, OSU is still averaging 15.1 assists per game. The last three seasons the Beavers have averaged 13.6 (2003), 13.8 (2002), and 13.3 (2001).

QUICK HANDS: Through 13 games last season, Oregon State had 70 steals -- compared to 99 this season against better competition. The Beavers are second 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 double figures, with three averaging 32.5-plus. Point guard Lamar Hurd, who led the team last year for minutes played at 33.4, is playing 35.3 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 33.9 for the season, which includes 46 vs. KSU. Chris Stephens is averaging 32.5.

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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