Oregon State Preview

The Sun Devils head to the northwest this weekend, starting in Corvallis on Thursday to take on the Oregon State Beavers (10-6, 2-3)

Coaches

Head Coach: Jay John (3rd season) – will miss game due to illness
Assistants: Kevin Mouton, Jeff Reinert, Bryan Lloyd

Projected Starters

G Lamar Hurd 6-4 190 Jr. (2.8 pts, 2.9 rebs, 2.2 asst) – solid PG that can distribute well
G Chris Stephens 6-2 210 Jr. (10.3 pts, 2.2 rebs) -- #1 in Pac FT% (91.5%); 3-pt threat
G J.S. Nash 6-2 210 Sr. (10.7 pts, 3.7 rebs, 2.9 asst) -- #4 in Pac 10 3-pt %, left handed
F Nick DeWitz 6-8 220 Jr. (11.2 pts, 5.5 rebs) – transfer from Iowa; eligible 12/11/04
F David Lucas 6-7 245 Sr. (14.3 pts, 4.8 rebs) – post presence; 1st team all Pac last year

Key Reserves

F Sasa Cuic 6-10 240 Fr. (12.8 pts, 5.2 rebs) – impressive Fr. with European-style game
G Jason Fontenet 5-10 169 Jr. (8.5 pts, 3.3 asst) – from Phoenix, NMSU transfer
F Jim Hanchett 6-6 248 Sr. (3.3 pts, 3.0 rebs) – started against WSU last week
F Vic Remmers 6-5 315 Sr. (2.8 pts) – started against UW last week

Overview

The Beavers will not throw a bunch of size at ASU; however, Lucas did very well against Diogu in Tempe last year, scoring 20 points in the Beavers win in Tempe. He will attempt to provide a strong presence on the blocks while the rest of the Beavers are more comfortable from the outside.

More good news is that the Beavers, while not slow, are not nearly as athletic as USC. So, ASU should not have to face the size of UCLA or the athleticism of USC, both of which they struggled with last week at home.

Offensively, this means Ike should be much more effective in these games, which is good news for ASU and the Devils' shooters. Life is much easier on them when Ike is making his presence felt down low.

On defense, the key will be to not allow Lucas to get going on the blocks and to keep Stephens in check from the outside. Also, ASU's bench players must match the intensity and production of the Beaver reserves, one of the most productive groups in the conference.

Basically, ASU should be able to win this game with good defense that emphasizes not allowing offensive rebounds and solid offense that values the basketball. Oregon State is 7-1 when either out-rebounding their opponents or when committing fewer turnovers.

Look for Ike, Ike, and more Ike after his mediocre performances last week. He should be focused and ready to take out his frustrations on this road trip. He also knows the Devils' opportunity to make it to the NCAA Tournament hinge on no worse than a split this weekend in Oregon.

The best opportunity for a win is Thursday night. The Devils' focus and intensity should be there. A lot is at stake this weekend.

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