THE GAME: Oregon State (14-12, 6-8 Pac-12) hits the road for the final time in the regular season starting with a Thursday tilt against USC (10-17, 1-13) that tips at 8 p.m. at the Galen Center in Los Angeles.
QUICKLY: Roberto Nelson leads the Pac-12 in scoring (20.8), free throws made (173), free throws attempted (203) and 20-point games (15) ... Nelson is on pace to become the first Oregon State player to lead the team in scoring, assists and steals since 2000 ... Eric Moreland needs three blocked shots to become the career leader at Oregon State ... Moreland has grabbed double-figure rebounds in eight of his 14 games this season ... Angus Brandt has scored in double figures in 12 consecutive games ... Brandt has knocked down seven three-pointers in the last six games after making five in the first 20 ... Devon Collier is one of five players on both of Oregon State’s top-10 career scoring and rebounding lists ... Hallice Cooke continues to lead the Pac-12 in three-point field goal percentage (.486) ... Langston Morris-Walker has started 14 of the past 15 games ... Craig Robinson passed Paul Valenti to become the fourth-winningest coach in Oregon State history.
vs. USC: Oregon State and USC meet for the 129th time in history with the Trojans leading the series, 67-61. The last two meetings have each been decided by one point with USC winning 69-68 on Jan. 19, 2013 in Los Angeles and the Beavers taking a 76-75 overtime victory earlier this season on Jan. 30 in Corvallis.
Since 1990, USC is 19-3 at home in the series, although Oregon State’s three road wins during that stretch were part of season sweeps (2003, 2005 and 2010). If the Beavers want to sweep the Trojans again this year, they’ll need a better effort than the first meeting when their biggest lead in the game was two points. The key to Oregon State’s 76-75 overtime win earlier this season was 19 offensive rebounds and a 22-8 advantage in second chance points. Roberto Nelson scored a game-high 24 points, while Angus Brandt (14), Devon Collier (13) and Hallice Cooke (11) were also in double figures. Byron Wesley led the Trojans with 23 points and Pe’Shon Howard added 16 but missed a free throw with one second left in overtime that would have sent it to double overtime.
A WIN OVER THE TROJANS: If Oregon State defeats USC it will improve to 15-12 overall and 7-8 in the Pac-12. It would also:
- Be just the third time since 1992 Oregon State is above .500 through 27 games (the 2004-05 team started 16-11; the 2011-12 team started 15-12).
- Equal Oregon State’s best Pac-12 record since 1993 through 15 conference games (the 2004-05 and 2008-09 teams also started 7-8).
- Be the third time in five years the Beavers sweep USC (Oregon State won both meetings in 2010; the teams played once in 2012 when the Beavers won).
OREGON STATE QUICK HITTERS: Here are some quick hitters about the Oregon State basketball team through 26 games:
- Oregon State has outrebounded 11 of its 14 Pac-12 opponents. When the opposition has outrebounded the Beavers it has been by big numbers: Washington +20 (43-23); at Arizona +15 (39-24); and at Washington +7 (34-27) so Oregon State’s rebounding margin in conference games is only +0.5.
- The Beavers are 13-1 when shooting a better field goal percentage than their opponent and 1-11 when the opposition shoots a better percentage.
- Oregon State is 13-0 when leading with five minutes to play this season; 1-12 when trailing. In the past four seasons, Oregon State is now 68-5 when leading (13-0 this year) and 5-77 (1-12 this year) when trailing with five minutes left to play. The one win when trailing came against George Mason in the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu, Hawai’i.
- Through 24 games, the Beavers led the Pac-12 and were sixth in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (.409). In the last two games, Oregon State shot just 21.4 percent (6-for-28) from beyond the arc and fell to second in the Pac-12 and 20th in the nation (.395).
- Oregon State shot 35.0 percent (55-for-157) from the three-point line in non-conference games but is shooting a league-best 42.8 percent (89-for-208) in conference games.
- The Beavers are shooting 48.2 percent (665-for-1,379) from the field, which is third in the Pac-12 and 20th in the nation. If the season ended today it would be the Beavers’ best percentage since 1991-92 when that team finished at 48.6 percent (860-for-1,771).
- Oregon State has the top scoring trio in the Pac-12 with Roberto Nelson (20.8), Devon Collier (13.6) and Angus Brandt (12.6) combining for 47.0 points per game, which is 60.1 percent of the team’s output.
- With six Pac-12 wins, the Beavers have already more than or equaled the total number of conference victories they finished with in 15 of the past 20 seasons.