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Ben Ball Gameday Roundup & Notes

Our Ben Ball warriors get back in action tonight against the worst team in the conference. On paper this is not a pretty picture. From’s standard preview:

UCLA will try for its seventh consecutive victory over Oregon State and fifth in a row over the Beavers at Pauley Pavilion.

Oregon State fell 97-59 at home to Washington on Saturday for its most lopsided conference loss this season. The Beavers have dropped 15 straight Pac-10 games since a 73-65 win over Washington last Feb. 22.

Oregon State has also lost its last 14 league road games.

On Saturday, freshman Lathen Wallace had 16 points as the conference's worst shooting team shot 32.2 percent - well below its 38.1 season percentage.
We are not going to go all Lou Holtz on you and build up Oregon State. However, we do remember how sloppy our guys looked in their last game against the Beavers. We led in that game by only 4 points at the end of the first half before getting it together in the second.

I hope we don’t need that kind of wakeup call tonight at Pauley. Because if we come out focused, going full steam from the get go, it could give players like Stanback and Dragovic to log some very valuable game mins heading into the stretch run.

So I hope our guys are taking this game seriously. Bruin Basketball Report is treating this game just like any other as they have their usual great game preview up:
Coach Mouton's Beavers are averaging 60.9 points a game while giving up 68.2 points to opponents. For the season, Oregon State is shooting an anemic 38.1% from the field and 29.7% on three-pointers.

One aspect the Beavers have improved upon this season is turnovers, the team is averaging just 12.6 per game - third best in the Pac-10.

The OSU basketball program is in deep transition. The current Beaver roster is completely different from last season's team due to early departures and player transfers, and the struggling program is looking for stars to emerge.

One player who has shined since the start of Pac-10 play is freshman Omari Johnson (6'7, 205, Fr). He's averaging 8.3 points and 4.9 rebounds. Two weeks ago against Arizona, the freshman scored a career-high 18 points.

Shooting guard Seth Tarver (6'5, 205, so) continues to lead the Beavers in scoring on the season with 11.1 per game. He's also second on the team in rebounds with 5.0 a contest. The athletic Tarver has bounced back from an injury plagued year and has shown glimpses of a potential star in the making.

Marcel Jones (6'8, 220, Sr) was expected to be a mainstay of the team this season, instead its been a very disappointing senior year for the former Mater Dei star. Jones is averaging 10.2 points and 5.2 rebounds - well below his numbers as a junior. With the team looking to a new direction, Jones has seen his minutes diminish.

Sophomore Josh Tarver (6'3, 185, So) has struggled at point-guard all season, in particular with his shooting where he is hitting on just 32.6% of his shots and 22.4% on three-pointers.
In addition to those guys, Lathen Wallace, the freshmen guard mentioned in the NCAA preview has been doing well. DC and RW will have to keep an eye on him, as they look to continue their stellar defensive effort from Sunday night.

Pucin in the LA Times has this local angle on Omari Johnson, who as BBR mentioned has be one of the few bright spots for the Beavers in their disastrous season:
Omari Johnson, an Oregon State freshman who came from a winning high school program at Los Angeles Dorsey High, said while that he has learned lessons about dutifully attending practice and working hard when there is little tangible reward, he feels an ache to win at least one game in the conference this season.

"I know this will make me a stronger person," Johnson said. "But I think I'd be stronger if we won a game."

The embarrassment of losing seemed to finally get to the Beavers last weekend when senior Marcel Jones (Santa Ana Mater Dei) and freshman Sean Carter were involved in verbal taunting against the Washington team at practice and with a cellphone voice message to a Washington player suggesting the Huskies meet the Beavers in a hotel parking lot before the game, which was won by Washington.

"There are frustrations for sure," Johnson said. "It's coming down to we just don't want to go 0-18."
Well we need to make sure they don’t even get a whiff of their first win tonight at Pauley. Also, another issue to keep an eye out for tonight is our three point shooting. I am still not all that concerned about. However, tonight’s game does present a good opportunity to get back in rhythm. Dohn’s zeroes in on that topic here. He pretty much has the same quotes Pucin ran on the same issue yesterday.

The tip off tonight is set for 7:30 pm PT. It is going to be on FSN West. We of course will have our game thread up before the tip off.