HOOPS: Beavs still looking for first league W

THE BEAVS AT one point earlier this season were 6-4 and even in the conference opening loss to No. 21 Arizona, there were signs of progress with OSU leading the Wildcats in the second half. No such promise has been found since, and in Oregon State's 66-46 loss to No. 23 Stanford Thursday night, it was over early as the Cardinal took a 15-2 lead and never looked back.

"It wasn't pretty, OK?" Oregon State coach Jay John said after the loss dropped Oregon State to 6-9 overall, and 0-3 in Pac-10 play. "But we gave great effort against a team that no question is the best team we've played so far. A team that will go deep in the NCAA tournament."

One of the problems facing teams with lesser records is they won't usually get the benefit of the doubt on close calls. Not to say all of them were questionable, but C.J. Giles, the highly regarded transfer from Kansas, scored seven points and continued to struggle to stay in games, fouling out against Stanford and for the fifth time in seven games.

The Beavers, in the midst of a five game slide, never led during the game and looked hesitant against the Cardinal.

"I don't know what it is," said freshman Omari Johnson, who led the Beavers with 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting. "I guess we're scared. Not scared, but nervous. People were afraid to shoot on the catch. People worried about getting to the hole too much. We should just settle down and concentrate on making shots."

The Beavers will be looking for to snap the losing streak when they host Cal (10-4, 1-2), on Saturday. The Golden Bears lost to Oregon 79-70 in Eugene on Thursday.

"It is a must win," Johnson said. "We have to get a win in the Pac-10. We have to."

John, despite a dispiriting loss, remained confident that the Beavers are on the right path.

"I've said it once and I'll say it a thousand times: our best basketball will be in February," John said. "I appreciate Stanford coming in with their ‘A' game and not taking us lightly and just coming to smash us if they could."

Tipoff on Saturday against Cal is scheduled for 1:30 pm. Great seats remain, and tickets can be purchased from the Oregon State ticket office at 1-800-GO-BEAVS or online at osubeavers.com. The game will also be televised by FSN.

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