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Game 24 Preview: Oregon State at Arizona

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Oregon State at Arizona  /  5:00pm, McKale Center /  TV on FCS (Check your listings)

It's times like this during the course of a long basketball season in which my seemingly ever-present optimism is tested. As the losses continue to pile up, I always continue to find the silver lining of the situation, and boy did I see it after Oregon State's Civil War win last Saturday. The Beavers did a lot right-- and it gave me reason to believe that a second half run could be in the works. Then came the Arizona State game, in which the Beavers couldn't hit the broad side of a barn and lost by ten while shooting a mere 25 percent.

There are seven games left on the schedule for Oregon State, plus a Pac-10 tournament where anything could happen, especially this year.

It's tough for me to continue with optimism when I cruse around to other blogs and seeing people express extreme frustration, or say that their team "just sucks" or what have you. I'm convinced that this Oregon State teams doesn't "just suck"... that would be an insult to Coach Robinson and all the guys who have been working hard since November. It seems like the pieces are there, it's just that the team can't really put together a complete performance night in and night out. If the rebounding is good, there are too many turnovers. If the Beavers handle the ball well, they shoot poorly. It seems like there is always one fact of the game that derails this team, and more often than not, it's something different from game to game.

I keep going back to RVM's comment that he left after Thursday's loss:

This team as given us that oh so close, but yet so far look all season. One of those seasons that still has some potential left and keeps me excited just enough, but at the same time I am looking forward to this roller coaster ride to be over and move on to next year.

They really have. They're still providing reason to believe this thing can get headed in the right direction come march-- and we know what these players are capable of after last season. But even with the addition of Angus, Joe, and Jared, something is missing. 

The missing piece seems to be someone who can light up the statsheet as a scorer in addition to Calvin, and it looks like we'll be getting that next year in Roberto Nelson. So we have that to look forward to.

But I'm not ready to write this season off. Like I said, there are seven games left, and if you want to get hypothetical, the Beavers could finish 11-7 in Pac-10 play. That seems unreasonable, but what is reasonable?

Looking ahead to tonight's Arizona games brings back some great memories for Beaver fans from earlier in the year. Lathen Wallace hit a three point basket from the baseline to win the game as time expired, and the Beavers moved to 2-2 in conference play at that point. To this day, that is probably the high point of a conference season that includes that win, two wins against the Ducks, and a six point win at home against USC.

As we saw that night back in January, the Wildcats are a youthful team under first-year head coach Sean Miller. Four of their top eight scorers are freshmen, led by Derrick Williams. Lamont "Momo" Jones has been playing well lately after going through a slump a few weeks ago. Arizona also features freshmen Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom.

The veterans are guys you'll recognize: senior Nic Wis, sophomore Kyle Fogg, and junior Jamelle Horne. 
This was a team the Beavers were able to beat back on January 14, but they're much improved since then, and the McKale Center is a tough place to play.

A look at Arizona's player stats:

FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
Derrick Williams 24 26.9 5.1 8.8 58.0 0.1 0.4 33.3 5.2 7.3 70.9 2.0 5.0 7.0 0.8 1.8 0.6 0.7 2.5 15.5
Nic Wise 23 31.9 4.5 11.1 40.4 1.7 4.3 40.8 4.4 4.9 89.4 0.2 3.0 3.2 3.4 2.4 1.9 0.1 2.5 15.1
Kyle Fogg 24 28.1 3.3 7.9 41.6 1.3 3.2 40.8 2.8 3.6 75.9 0.7 2.4 3.1 2.3 1.9 1.0 0.3 2.2 10.6
Jamelle Horne 23 29.3 3.7 8.3 45.0 1.7 4.0 43.5 0.7 1.4 51.5 1.2 4.4 5.6 1.4 1.7 0.7 1.1 2.8 10.0
Solomon Hill 24 25.4 2.5 5.1 48.0 0.1 0.6 20.0 1.8 2.6 71.0 1.6 3.0 4.6 1.7 2.2 0.5 0.1 2.8 6.9
Lamont Jones 23 18.2 2.3 5.9 40.0 0.4 1.9 20.5 0.7 1.1 64.0 0.3 1.3 1.7 1.4 1.5 0.7 0.0 1.7 5.8
Kevin Parrom 14 20.4 1.4 4.6 31.3 0.1 0.9 15.4 1.0 1.6 60.9 1.1 2.8 3.9 1.6 1.1 0.7 0.3 3.0 4.0
Dondre Wise 5 10.2 0.6 2.6 23.1 0.2 1.6 12.5 2.4 2.4 100.0 0.2 1.2 1.4 1.2 0.4 0.4 0.0 0.0 3.8
Brendon Lavender 22 17.3 1.0 3.1 33.3 0.8 2.4 32.7 0.3 0.4 87.5 0.3 0.9 1.1 0.7 0.7 0.3 0.0 1.1 3.2
Kyryl Natyazhko 24 11.9 0.7 2.1 34.0 0.0 0.2 25.0 0.7 1.0 70.8 0.9 1.4 2.3 0.1 0.7 0.2 0.2 2.0 2.2
Alex Jacobson 13 7.1 0.7 0.8 90.0 0.1 0.1 100.0 0.2 0.3 75.0 0.4 0.5 0.9 0.0 0.6 0.1 0.1 0.8 1.7
Garland Judkins 6 4.3 0.3 0.5 66.7 0.2 0.2 100.0 0.3 0.3 100.0 0.0 0.7 0.7 0.3 0.7 0.0 0.0 0.7 1.2
D.J. Shumpert 10 2.1 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 50.0 0.4 0.3 0.7 0.2 0.4 0.1 0.0 0.2 0.2

Can the Beavers make a stretch run? Or are they going to continue to give us that so close, but yet so far vibe?

--Jake | (jake.buildingthedam@gmail.com)