Joe Burton plays his final regular season game at Gill Coliseum for Oregon St. today. - (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)
California (17-9, 9-5) at Oregon St. (13-14, 3-11 / Gill Coliseum / 3 PM PST / Pac-12 Channel / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
It's Senior Day for Joe Burton, Oregon St.'s only departing senior this season. "Big Joe" will be honored before the game, and its sure to be one of the more emotional moments in Gill Coliseum in a very, very long time.
The Turquoise Uniforms for the Nike N7 Initiative, which Burton has been a big part of, will be brought out for the occasion. Fans who have Nike N7 t-shirts from any of the games in recent years are encouraged to wear them today to honor Joe.
There will also be dunk competition at halftime, with football players Storm Woods and Ty Zimmerman scheduled to compete. The panel of celebrity judges will include James Rodgers and Charlie Sitton.
Burton has improved his average numbers for points, assists, and rebounds in each of his 4 seasons at Oregon St., and is now up to 5th all time on the Beaver career rebounding list, and needs 29 points (with a minimum of 5 games remaining) to reach the 1.000 point plateau.
But Burton has meant much more than just his exploits on the basketball court. Known for his family involvement as well as Native American issues, Burton has also been active on campus and in the community since his arrival in Corvallis. Burton not only gets to football, baseball, and womens' hoops games as his schedule allows, he's actively involved with area youth sports, and also is a familiar figure at local high school games. It doesn't stop there, as Burton is active in other campus and political activities. And, he's on track to graduate with his degree in ethnic studies this spring.
Beaver Nation will miss "Big Joe" in numerous ways.
The California Golden Bears are on hand to help celebrate the occasion, and try to complete a season sweep of not only the Beavers, but the state of Oregon, after upsetting #23 Oregon 48-46 Thursday night at Matt Court, when Justin Cobbs connected on the game winning shot with .7 seconds left.
The Bears have won 4 games in a row, and 6 of their last 7, in their current, late season surge, including 3 wins over ranked teams, 2 of those on the road. As Oregon St. fans recall, the Bears' becoming Golden began with their 71-68 win over the Beavers in Berkeley back on Jan. 31.
The Beavers lost a 12 point second half lead that day, and it was Cobbs that put Cal ahead for good that day too.
Oregon St. continued their late game downfalls Thursday, losing 82-72 to Stanford, in a game that was closer than the final score until the last basket of the game. It was only the second of the 10 times that Eric Moreland posted a double double that the Beavers did not win, and a game-high 28 points by Roberto Nelson plus a 16 point, 8 rebound effort by Burton weren't enough either, due in near equal measures to the Cardinal out-rebounding Oregon St. by double digits in the second half, and Ahmad Starks going scoreless for the game.
Oregon St. coach Craig Robinson said lineup and rotation changes could be in store for today.
One player who will not play today is freshman Langston Morris-Walker. Morris-Walker, who also was not in uniform for Thursday night's game, was suspended by head coach Craig Robinson after being cited for misdemeanor theft and released by Oregon St. police on Wednesday, for allegedly shoplifting a Nike T-shirt from the OSU Beaver Store on campus.
Morris-Walker reportedly said he was attempting to compare prices on the item, and has a court date awaiting.
If you not able to make it to Gill today, leave a note for Joe in the comments. There have been more productive players wear the Orange and Black, though really not all that many. But there has never been a Beaver with a bigger heart, nor one that poured more effort and emotion into his days as a part of Beaver Nation, which he will always be a member of!
(Connor Pelton also contributed to this article.)