San Diego (6-6) vs. Oregon St. (8-2) / MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas / 7 PM MST (6 PM PST) / Pac-12 Channel / KEJO 1240 AM / KPOJ 620 AM
Oregon St. makes their last road trip of the year and the non-conference portion of the season, though they will be the "home" team in a neutral-court game against San Diego of the West Coast Conference. The game is a dry run for the Pac-12 Conference at the new site of the Pac-12 Tournament, and the Beavers are the only team from the Pac-12 that will have had the advantage of a game at the MGM Grand when everyone re-convenes there in March.
The Beavers are only sticking around in Las Vegas for 1 game, but San Diego is making a weekend of it, sticking around for a Sunday afternoon game against James Madison.
The Toreros are one of only 2 WCC teams that does not have a winning record at this point, and so the Beavers are up against an opponent of a higher level of competition that they have faced in recent non-conference games.
San Diego dropped a 72-56 decision to their cross-town rivals, 18th ranked San Diego St., last Saturday, but had won 3 straight prior to that.
The Toreros got a game high 16 points, as well a 7 boards, from 6'5" senior forward Ken Rancifer, who is San Diego's leading rebounder and second leading scorer (averaging 9.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game), against the Aztecs. But a good part of the problem was 6'0" sophomore guard Johnny Dee, who leads the Toreros in scoring this season, with 14.5 points per game, was held down to only 9 points.
The Beavers extended their winning streak to 4 games in December, with a 69-53 victory over Howard University on Wednesday night. Eric Moreland had a 14 point, 10 rebound double double, and Roberto Nelson also posted 14 points to lead Oregon St.
Devon Collier moved back into the starting lineup, and finished with 12 points, but went down hard early in the second half, and misses several minutes. Whether Collier suffers any residual effects on his left knee will be one thing worth watching tonight.
Jarmal Reid had his best game so far as a Beavers, with 7 points, 3 rebounds, and also 2 assists and 2 blocks. Reid also was primarily responsible for shutting out Howard's leading scorer Calvin Thompson.
Oregon St. started faster than in several recent games, but then had a scoring lull, which allowed the Bison to hang around longer than they should have been able to. Oregon St. is off to an 8-2 start for the second year in a row, better than they have done in consecutive years since 1983 and 1984. Still, getting improved consistency over the course of the game, particularly against a better opponent, will be on head coach Craig Robinson's agenda as the Beavers move closer to the start of the conference season.
San Diego and Oregon St. split their only previous meetings, with the Toreros taking an 82-71 win in the team's first meeting in the 2000-01 season, and the Beavers picking up a 65-56 win a year later in the return match in Corvallis.
San Diego is coached by 1990 Oregon grad Billy Grier, who is also a graduate of Cottage Grove, OR. Greer is in his 6th season at the helm of the Toreros.
Here's the place to weigh in on how the Beavers' season is progressing, what you think of the MGM Grand as a basketball site, or to talk about the Alamo Bowl, coming up in 1 week.