Friday, January 27, 2006

UCLA vs. Oregon State - Game Preview

No.17 ranked UCLA looks for a sweep of the Oregon schools when it faces the Oregon St. Beavers (OSU) tomorrow afternoon in Corvallis.

The Bruins 16-4, 6-2) won a hard fought game on Thursday in Eugene against the Oregon Ducks 56-49.

On Thursday the Beavers (3-5, 10-9) lost in overtime to the USC Trojans, 72-70. OSU’s Chris Stephens forced the game into overtime with a three-pointer at the end of regulation, but in overtime USC’s Nick Young hit the winning shot with three seconds left.

OSU mixes their defense with a man-to-man and zone. Against California, OSU’s zone effectively shut down Cal’s big men inside and limited the Bears to only 34% FG shooting for the game.

The Beavers lead the Pac-10 in FG% defense allowing only 39% shooting from the field. Moreover, they defend against 3-pointers well limiting opponents to only 23% from beyond the arc.

Although OSU averages only 66.3 points per game, they lead the Pac-10 conference in FG% (48%) and 3-point FG shooting (41%).

The Beaver’s offense is paced by two seniors: guard Chris Stephens and forward Nick DeWitz.

Stephens (Sr, 6'2,195) leads the team in scoring at 14.5 ppg - shooting 51% from the field and 48% on 3-pointers. He leads the conference in 3-point shooting. Stephens also shoots over 90% from the line.

DeWitz (Sr, 6'8, 230) is a tough match-up for defenders. Although not very athletic, he has the ability to score on post ups and can step outside to hit a jumper. He is shooting 50% from the field and 31% on 3-pointers. DeWitz also averages 5.1 rebounds and a team-high 1.8 blocks per game.

In addition to DeWitz, OSU has three other big bodies they can put in the game.

Forward Marcel Jones (So, 6’8, 215) leads the team in rebounding at 7.3 per game. He also averages 8.7 ppg and shoots 45% from the field and 37% on 3-pointers. Only a sophomore, Jones tends to struggle with consistency at times.

OSU starts Kyle Jeffers (Jr, 6’9, 258) at center. Jeffers is a good interior defender and shot blocker. He averages 4.3 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 22 minutes per contest. Jeffers also averages 6.4 ppg on 49% FG shooting.

European import Sasa Cuic (So, 6’10, 253) gives the team an offensive spark off the bench. He averages 11.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He shoots 45% from the field and is dangerous when left open beyond the arc hitting 46% on 3-pointers.

OSU lost senior starter Lamar Hurd to a groin strain last week. Junior college transfer Wesley Washington (So, 6’3, 175) and Jason Fontenet. (Sr, 5’10, 168) have filled his spot. Even with Hurd, the Beavers have struggled at the play-making spot.

The Beavers are last in assists in the conference averaging only 10.4 assists per game. Making matters worse, they also commit the most turnovers per game in the conference (18.4). Not surprisingly they have a record of 5-8 when they commit more turnovers than their opponents. The Beavers have a conference low of 0.57 in assist to turnover ratio.

The Bruins will need to match up against a big OSU front line. UCLA did not fare well against Cal’s big front line; however, the Bruins center Ryan Hollins did not play in that game. The senior Hollins has played well on the defensive end since his return from a groin injury. He grabbed season-high 8 rebounds against West Virginia last week.

Sophomore 6’7 forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had a double-double performance against Oregon on Thursday scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Senior forward Cedric Bozeman played 18 minutes against the Ducks and looks to continue his road back from a shoulder injury. He hit the only shot he took in the game – a 3-pointer, but most importantly, Bozeman provided the Bruins with a steadying presence on both ends of the court.

Guard Arron Afflalo looks to snap out of a six game slump in which he has shot less than 50% from the field. Prior to his shooting woes, Afflalo was shooting over 56% from the field. In his last two games he is shooting only 4 of 19 from the field and 1 of 12 on 3-pointers.

Last year UCLA and OSU split their regular season game but the Beavers upset the Bruins in the Pac-10 tournament 79-72.



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