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GP: Countdown To The Hall Of Fame #5

Sep 4, 2013

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Gary Payton, Oregon State’s all-time leader in points, assists and steals, will be enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday. Over the next five days we will recap his greatest games as a Beaver, complete with game stories, box scores, photos and video highlights.

 Payton’s fifth-best game came on Jan. 21, 1989 against Washington State when he scored a then career-high 41 points with the help of an Oregon State single-game record seven three-pointers to lead the Beavers to a 90-63 win in front of 10,219 fans at Gill Coliseum. The Glove did it all that night as he went 7-for-10 from beyond the arc, 10-for-12 from the stripe and added seven assists, four rebounds and four steals.

 Here’s the game recap as written by Brooks Hatch of the Corvallis Gazette-Times:

 Payton smokes Cougars

 CORVALLIS -- Gary Payton has yet to make a bicycle fly, a la E.T.

The only thing about him that’s out of this world is his basketball ability.

But Payton demonstrated again Saturday night that he can do just anything else on the basketball court, as he smoked Washington State with an amazing 41-point outburst in Oregon State’s 90-63 pasting of the Cougars at Gill Coliseum.

Payton’s numbers simply explode from the box score and grab your attention.

He was 12-for-18 from the field. He was 7-for-10 on 3-pointers. He was 10-for-12 from the free-throw line, and had seven assists.

But the numbers that made Payton’s Saturday night special, and possible, were posted this past summer at -- of all places -- the University of California.

Every day Payton and a friend from his hometown of Oakland would go to Berkeley and shoot at least 500 jump shots each day.

You don’t improve, Payton said, by merely playing, and the one part of his game he most wanted to elevate was his outside shooting.

“That was my goal,” he said. “And that’s what I did.

“You can’t go out and just play every day and get better,” he said, using noted shotaholilc Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics as his example.

“I’ll shoot more, maybe I’ll shoot 1,000 times a day this summer. It’s got to help my shot. I don’t think I’m a great shooter.”

He’d have a hard time convincing anyone of that Saturday night. His seven 3-pointers set a school record, breaking Bill Sherwood’s mark by one. At one point he made nine shots in a row.

He did miss a layup. And his only other miss of the second half -- an air-balled jumper -- was grabbed by teammate Earl Martin for an easy layup. It was that kind of night.

“You got to just keep putting up,” Payton said. “I was feeling like my shot was going to go all the time. Every time I shot the ball I was confident of making it. It was going in and I just kept shooting it.”

Payton had 22 points at halftime. He broke the 40-point plateau on an uncontested layup with 1:27 remaining. He didn’t dunk the ball, though, much to the dismay of 10,219 Gill Coliseum faithful.

Not that he can’t, with ease.

“The dunk is not my thing. I had one at Loyola. But I was tired and if you miss a dunk you look like a fool.”

Payton’s former career high was 30, last March 3 against Oregon. His all-time high was 52 as a senior at Oakland’s Skyline High School.

“Scoring in high school was my thing,” he said. “Here, it’s just one night. I can’t come back and look to score 40 a game. I was really hot and it just happened.”

Payton’s outside proficiency wasn’t lost on WSU coach Kelvin Sampson.

“Last year he wasn’t a 3-point shooter at all. He’s a complete guard now,” he said. “I’d have said, if there was one area he lacked, it was the 3-point shot, and I wouldn’t say that now.”

Sherwood, who happily watched from the first row as his record evaporated, doesn’t even hold the school record for most 3-pointers by a southpaw.

Not many people know it, but Payton is also a lefty, even though he shoots righty.

“I eat and write left-handed,” he said. “I don’t know why I shoot right-handed. My father asked me why, too, but I really couldn’t tell you why. I’ve just always done that.”

And as far as making bikes fly, don’t bet against him. His normal mode of transportation is a jeep, but don’t forget -- he’s got another year left.