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No Room For Let Downs

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Bruins get to play in a classic let down game as they take on a reeling Oregon State team tomorrow afternoon. Beavers kept it close with the Trojans for one half, before getting blown out in the second half. Not much has changed since the Bruins last played the Beavers up in Corvallis. Not much has gone right for them this season and at this point their fans are willing to settle for competitive games. Here is Tightwad's mid-season analysis on Jay John's team (written before last night's game):

1st half MVP: Marcel Jones. Jones (left) is sixth in the Pac-10 in scoring at 16.5 ppg and also pulls down 6 rebounds per game. He's frankly the only scoring threat on the Beavers (including Mr. Outside, Sasa Cuic) - shut down Jones, and you beat the Beavers. Hell, you probably beat them even if he goes off for 25.
Pleasant surprise: Kyle Jeffers has been a force on the offensive glass, and the lone shot-blocker inside. He doesn't add much offensively (6.5 ppg) but that's OK given that Jones and Cuic are black holes.
Important number: 59.1 - which is OSU's awful % from the foul line. Every one of their starters is 65% or worse from the stripe. To compound matters, the Beavers rarely get to the foul line in the first place, ranking 319th in the nation in free throw rate %.
What they need to fix: Josh Tarver needs to play much better in the second half of the season. It's hard to be efficient offensively when your 3rd leading shooter averages 37% from the field (and 26% from three).
Per the Sportsline update Jeffers continued his steady performance against Southern Cal, while Tarver struggled starting for the first time this season:
--G/F Seth Tarver, a 6-foot-5 freshman, drew his sixth start of the season and first against a Pac-10 opponent in Thursday's loss to USC -- a sign that he could start seeing more significant playing time in an attempt to get him some experience for next season. He went scoreless with two rebounds and two turnovers in 18 minutes, but that was the most he had played in a conference game this season. Tarver is probably best suited to playing small forward, but leading scorer Marcel Jones has dominated the playing time at that position, which has made it difficult to get Tarver on the floor.

--Junior G Wesley Washington hasn't been the same since he was sent crashing to the floor by California's Eric Vierneisel and injured his right wrist in a 77-74 loss to the Bears in Corvallis on Jan. 18. Washington said he had some swelling after he was given a cortisone shot Wednesday, which forced him to sit out Thursday's 73-56 loss at USC. Coach Jay John said he hopes Washington is available to play Saturday against UCLA, but Washington sounded less optimistic, saying if his wrist doesn't respond to treatment soon, he may have to undergo season-ending surgery.

--Senior C Kyle Jeffers continues to grind, trying to make the most out of what has turned into a frustrating situation that appears to be taking a toll on many of the younger players. Against USC, Jeffers led the Beavers with 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting with eight rebounds in 25 minutes. It was exactly the sort of production the team likes to see from him, but the numbers don't go very far on the nights when his teammates don't play up to their potential.
Obviously this game is a mismatch on paper. But that doesn't mean the Bruins should come in and expect to win this game by being on cruise control. They should know by now they are going to take best shots of every team from here on out. Let's hope they come out and show the same passion and intensity they showed on Thursday night. There is no room for let downs if they want to defend their Pac-10 title.