No. 14 Arizona visits Gill Coliseum

Feb. 20, 2004

Corvallis, Ore. -

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THEME: Oregon State could improve its postseason fate (Pac-10 Tournament) tremendously with a victory over the second-place No. 14 Arizona Wildcats Saturday. A victory over the Wildcats would be a big factor in tie-breaking procedures if OSU ended the season tied with another conference team. Arizona meanwhile will attempt to hang onto second in the league and improve its position in terms of NCAA Tournament seeding. This is the final road game of the season for Arizona.

WHAT IT ALL MEANS: As a result of Thursday's action, Oregon State has closed the gap between ninth and seventh. The Beavers enter Saturday at 4-9 in conference action, trailing both Washington State and USC by one-half game (5-9). Should OSU and WSU tie for a position in the standings, OSU would earn the edge by sweeping the two-game series this season. Should OSU and USC share a position, the two play in the final regular season game March 6 at Gill Coliseum, USC would earn the spot by -- A. winning both games -- or -- B. by defeating a higher placed team in the standings (Arizona) -- Oregon State still has two opportunities to defeat the league's top two clubs -- Saturday vs. Arizona, and next Thursday at No. 1 Stanford. Other scenarios could also enter the picture, but the previous two are the most likely in event of a tie with the Trojans.

SERIES: A competitive game turned into a route in the latter stages of the first half Jan. 22 at the McKale Center. Arizona actually built a seven point lead early (11-4), but trailed 27-26 when J.S. Nash made a layin at the 7:30 mark. The game was tied at 28-28 at 6:37, but from there it was all Arizona. The 'Cats finished the half outscoring the Beavers 20-6 to take a 48-34 lead. Arizona was never challenged in the second half and won going away, 109-75 -- the third-highest amount of points given up by OSU in a conference game. Arizona shot .632 from the field, and received 20 points each from Hassan Adams and Salim Stoudamire. OSU shot just .411, with Chris Stephens leading the way with 16 points. Arizona has won three straight in Corvallis and seven straight in the series. Overall, Arizona has a 40-15 lead in the series, according to Pac-10 Conference records.

TOUGH STRETCH: Oregon State's next two games are against No. 14 Arizona (Saturday), and No. 1 Stanford Thursday at Maples Pavilion. The two teams currently have a combined 39-6 record, with Stanford perfect at 22-0

DEFENSES BEWARE: The scoring defense statistic could take a hit in Saturday's game, as five of the Pac-10's top 10 scorers will hit the hardwood at Ralph Miller Court. Here is a closer look:

	David Lucas, OSU 	         17.5 (4th)	Salim Stoudamire, UA	17.0 (5th)	Hassan Adams, UA	         16.6 (6th)	Chris Stephens, OSU	15.7 (7th)	Channing Frye, UA	         14.9 (9th)

THAT WOULD MAKE SENSE: Where you have high scorers you usually find some impressive assist numbers. Four of the league's top-10 players for assists per game will also be in Gill Coliseum Saturday:

	Andre Iguodala, UA		5.3 assists per game (2nd in Pac-10)	Lamar Hurd, OSU		5.0 (3rd)	Mustafa Shakur, UA		4.5 (8th)	J.S. Nash, OSU		3.9 (10th)

MIGHT AS WELL ADD THIS TOO: Four of the conference's top-10 players for free throw percentage also will be stepping to the charity stripe Saturday in Corvallis. A closer look:

	Chris Rodgers, UA		.852 (4th in Pac-10)	J.S. Nash, OSU		.841 (6th)	Chris Stephens, OSU	.833 (T7th)	David Lucas, OSU		.813 (10th)

DOUBLE THREAT: OSU's David Lucas (17.7) and Chris Stephens (15.7) have become the top double scoring threat at the school in many seasons. The last time two Beavers averaged 15-plus points in the same season was in 1995 -- Brent Barry (21.0) and Mustapha Hoff (18.6).

SECOND CHANCE OPPORTUNITIES: Of late, Oregon State has been a force on the offensive boards, highlighted by its conference team-high 19 at Washington last Saturday. The Beavers have 57 offensive boards over the last four games, compared to 32 for their opponents. The Beavers are second in the league averaging 13.3 offensive boards per game, trailing only Arizona (14.1).

RAPID IMPROVEMENT: At the halfway mark of the Pac-10 Conference schedule Oregon State ranked tied for eighth for rebounding margin at minus-3.7. In just four games, the Beavers have improved to fifth at minus-0.3.

GEOGRAPHY LESSON: Junior forward Jim Hanchett would likely do pretty well in a geography class. Hanchett has resided in Brazil, Germany, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Georgia.

YOUTHFUL LOOK: Three true-freshmen have played this season, with the trio combining for 19 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.

'START' OF SOMETHING:Entering Saturday's contest, Oregon State's eligible players have combined for 168 career Division I starts -- the lowest number in the Pac-10 Conference. Counting games through Feb. 20, the rest of the league shapes up with California (213), UCLA (217), Oregon (218), Arizona State (227), Arizona (245), Washington (251), Stanford (266), Washington State (296), and USC (313).

WELL WORTH THE PRICE OF ADMISSION: Seven overtime periods in 23 regular season games, plus another during the exhibition slate. The Beavers have played two single overtime games (at Hawaii/vs. Washington), double overtime (vs. Portland), and triple overtime (vs. Kansas State). The four games that have gone to extra periods are the most since the 1985-86 season. The last time OSU played five overtime games in one season was the 1966-67 campaign (4-1). The total of seven overtime periods is a school record, eclipsing the five played by the 1982-83 club. Fairfield leads the nation with six overtime games, followed by Butler with five, and Oregon State, USC, Loyola (Chicago), Texas-San Antonio, Ohio, and Minnesota with four through games of Feb. 16.

10TH NO MORE: Oregon State enters Saturday's game sixth in the Pac-10 for scoring, currently at 73.2. 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 14 times in the 50-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.

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