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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Beavers’ offensive struggles leave team winless in Pac-10

    One of Oregon State’s problems this year is that arguably its best player just joined the team last week.

    C.J. Giles announced his intention to join the Beavers after transferring from Kansas, but they could sure use him now after a 45-point blowout loss at home against USC last week. But Giles won’t be eligible until next season.

    Oregon State (8-8, 0-3, Pacific 10 Conference) has also suffered defeats at the hands of Southeastern Louisiana, a 44-point loss at Hawaii and a 28-point less at then-No. 23 Nevada, not to mention an escape with a two-point win over a 2-14 Northern Colorado squad.

    But Beaver coach Jay John, a Lute Olson disciple, is still optimistic his squad can get back to respectability.

    “”It’s getting back to competing with great energy and improving the execution we have on offense and defense,”” he said during Tuesday’s Pac-10 teleconference. “”Instead of passively sitting back on our heels, we’ve got to go aggressively after people like they do us.””

    The Breakdown
    Oregon State at No. 10 Arizona

    Backcourt: The Beavers are inexperienced at the point with redshirt freshman Josh Tarver, while the Wildcats feature senior Mustafa Shakur, who should be able to control the tempo against the younger Beavers. Arizona

    Frontcourt: UA forward Ivan Radenovic scored a then-career-high 26 points last time the Beavers came to town. With no dominant big man to deal with from Oregon State, expect his eyes to light up with this matchup. Arizona

    Bench: Not a particularly strong point for either squad, but at this point not many benches are used less than Arizona’s. With forward Bret Brielmaier out, the Wildcats only go seven deep, and even that’s a stretch. Oregon State

    X-Factor: Overconfidence. On paper Arizona wins in a cakewalk, but as we all know games aren’t played on paper. With senior leaders Shakur and Radenovic, don’t expect that to happen. Arizona

    Prediction: The Wildcats have taken care of business thus far, with an average victory margin of 15.4 points per game in their 12 wins. That average is about to go up. Arizona
    Oregon State’s leading scorer from last season, forward Sasa Cuic, has seen his point (12.5) and rebounding averages (3.4) fall by one from last season.

    Fellow forward Marcel Jones has raised his average, however, in part to replace the scoring prowess of last year’s second leading scorer, Nick Dewitz, who has since departed.

    DeWitz went for 20 points in a 75-65 win over Arizona last year in Corvallis, Ore., one of only two wins John has ever had against his mentor in nine tries.

    “”It’s never easy for me to play against Coach and I don’t know that it will ever be that way, that I’ll ever be comfortable with it,”” John said of facing Olson.

    One person John has begun to get comfortable with is redshirt freshman point guard Josh Tarver.

    The 6-foot-3-inch Portland native played all 40 minutes in the Civil War game against Oregon and repeated the feat the next game against then-top ranked UCLA.

    “”I think that ultimately Josh is going to be a star in this league and it’s just a matter of time for him,”” John said.

    Tarver leads the team in assists and is third in scoring, but what John likes the most is Tarver’s ability to take care of the ball.

    “”We don’t shoot the ball very well, but we’ve been able to execute offense to this point without turning the ball over a lot,”” John said of the team’s 42-percent shooting mark on the season.

    Oregon State is averaging just 65.8 points per game – good for next to last in the Pac-10 – and that offensive execution has meant little without the Beavers’ finishing shots.

    John, who led Oregon State to its only over-.500 record in 16 years back in 2004-05, still has a team capable of providing a challenge. It just hasn’t shown it yet this year.

    “”They’re playing pretty well,”” John said. “”They’re fighting like crazy from wire to wire and then we hit a wall Saturday against USC.””

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