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Beavers hope to stop streak.

Byline: Steve Mims The Register-Guard

CORVALLIS - Already the winningest Oregon State men's basketball team in more than a decade, the Beavers have a checklist of things still left to accomplish.

A Pac-10 Conference tournament berth, a winning record and a berth in the postseason are all within reach for OSU. But first, how about just beating one of the Bay Area schools?

None of the five seniors who will make their final regular-season appearances at Gill Coliseum this weekend have ever defeated Stanford or California. Stanford brings an 11-game winning streak over OSU into tonight's game, while Cal has won 14 straight over the Beavers.

"We haven't beaten Cal or Stanford in a long time, so that would be another positive thing for our seniors to say that they accomplished," OSU coach Jay John said. "There are a lot of good things set up for us right now."

One more win probably assures Oregon State a spot in the Pac-10 tournament. Two more victories would ensure the Beavers a winning record for the first time since 1990. Three wins would give the Beavers a .500 conference record and a good chance to finish in the top half of the standings.

"We're down to four games now, and basically what we talk about is achievement of goals," John said. "The things we set out and talked about possibly being in store for this team in the preseason are still available to us."

At 14-11 overall, OSU has already won more games than it has since 1992. The next big hurdle is a winning record, which the Beavers have not had since Jimmy Anderson's first team went 22-7 in 1990.

"It is important because we have not had a winning season in I don't know how long," OSU senior forward David Lucas said.

Lucas wouldn't recall the last time Oregon State beat Stanford either because it happened three seasons before he joined the roster. On March 6, 1999, OSU closed out the season with a 59-45 upset of the sixth-ranked Cardinal at Gill.

OSU played perhaps its best road game of the conference season at Stanford last month before losing 69-65.

The Cardinal lost leading scorer Dan Grunfeld to a knee injury two weeks ago in a win over California, but swept USC and UCLA last week to remain in third place in the conference.

"They are still doing the same stuff," John said. "From a defensive standpoint, they may be just as good as they were. From a depth standpoint, they have one less player. Offensively, Dan Grunfeld is a good player, but if you look at Fred Washington's shooting percentage since he has started playing more, it is about 70 percent, so he's not hurting them. Chris Hernandez has stepped up to take more shots, so it is no secret why they are sitting in third place. They are just solid all around."

Washington, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, stepped into the starting lineup to replace Grunfeld and had a career-high 22 points on 11-for-17 shooting against USC before making all three of his shots from the field to score 12 points against UCLA.

"Fred is a pretty good player in the open court, and USC pressed and trapped and that gives an opportunity for a guy like Fred to get driving angles to the basket, and he took advantage and played well for us," Stanford coach Trent Johnson said.

The Beavers are 10-1 at home, including a 6-1 mark in conference play. OSU forwards David Lucas and Nick DeWitz are averaging 18.0 and 13.5 points per game, respectively, while guard Chris Stephens averages 10.0 and J.S. Nash is at 9.8.

"They have a whole group of seven or eight guys who are real talented that you have to guard," Johnson said. "It is a big game to me because of how good they are at home and how capable they are of scoring from all five spots."
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Title Annotation:Sports; OSU hasn't beaten Stanford since nipping the Cardinal in 1999
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Feb 24, 2005
Previous Article:Elmira, Pleasant Hill advance in playoffs.
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