Beavers Take on Conference Leader UCLA

Beavers Take on Conference Leader UCLA
January 16, 2013, 8:30 pm

The Beavers are now 0-3 in conference play (the first time since 2007) and things don't get any easier heading into Thursday night's game. Facing the the Pac-12's top of the pack (4-0 in conference) Bruins without their key guy down low in Eric Moreland will be a true test of grit and focus for OSU.

To see what they're up against, we've compiled some key quotes, notes and stats to get you ready for the big match up. Tipoff is 6pm at Pauley Pavillion.

UCLA coach Ben Howland told ESPN:
"We know Oregon State is going to come in here and play really well.”
"Starks and Nelson are a very good backcourt, and they're very dangerous, they're both capable of scoring 25 points in a given game.”
"And then Collier, who we really like inside, he's strong, he hurt us, they beat us last year so we're going to be very motivated against Oregon State."

"They're coming off three losses and they've all been at home so they'll probably be happy to be on the road."

OSU’s Craig Robinson in his press conference:
"We'll be short-handed on Thursday for hopefully the last time ever and then those guys will be back on Saturday.”

"They are playing more like we are playing this season so they are playing up and down." "So what we want to do is make sure that we being short-handed can last with them going up and down."

Key Stats (CBS Sports:

Oregon State
Points: Roberto Nelson: 15.4
Rebounds: Erik Moreland: 11.1
Assists: Joe Burton: 3.1
Steals: Joe Burton: 1.2
Blocks: Erik Moreland: 2.7

UCLA
Points: Shabazz Muhammad: 18.2
Rebounds: Kyle Anderson: 8.9
Assists: Larry Drew II: 8.1
Steals: Tyler Lamb: 2.0
Blocks: Travis Wear: 1.4

Team Release:
Game History

Oregon State ended a 13-game losing streak to UCLA last season with an 87-84 win at home for its first victory over UCLA since March 10, 2005. However, the team is 3-0 in the Pac-12 this season.

UCLA (14-3, 4-0) has won nine straight games, moving the Bruins back into the rankings at No. 24.

UCLA is the Pac-12’s highest-scoring team with 78.5 points per game. Oregon State is fourth with 75.7.

However, in terms of defense, these two teams both allow more points than any in the conference as the Beavers are allowing an average of 69.4 and the Bruins 68.1.

Oregon State is off to its worst start in conference play since when they went 0-18 five years ago. The Beavers have lost 16 of 18 conference road games entering their first Pac-12 trip of the season.

The Beavers have lost eight straight at Pauley Pavilion. And have also lost 33 of 34 games against ranked opponents and haven't beaten one on the road since 1985.

Top Players
Devon Collier had 13 points and a career-high 15 boards in the loss against the Wildcats. Collier is shooting lights out, having 53.5 percent from the field to rank among the conference leaders.

In last year’s win vs UCLA, Collier and Angus Brandt combined for 33 points inside for the Beavers.

However, with Brandt out with an ACL injury, and with the suspensions of Eric Moreland and Victor Robbins, UCLA twins Travis and David Wear will have it a little easier in the post this game. The two forwards combined for 32 points on 16-of-22 shooting in last season's meeting.

UCLA has two of the best freshmen scorers in the country. Shabazz Muhammad scoring 18.2 points per game and Jordan Adams 16.4.

From the LA Daily News:
Muhammad slumping
Leading scorer Shabazz Muhammad has struggled in his past two games, shooting 9 for 29 on the team's trip to Utah and Colorado.
A 46.3-percent shooter on the season, Muhammad has made just one 3-pointer in that span. Gone for now are the second-half eruptions he showed often at home, most notably in an upset of then-No.7 Missouri.
"I just think I just settle for too many jump shots," Muhammad said. "On those away games, the court, I'm not used to the court, the rim might not be the same as Pauley. Just not settling for jump shots and getting rebounds on the offensive and defensive end will get my game going."
Howland expects his star player to bounce back quickly, and said the struggles will serve as additional motivation. He also said Muhammad has seen increased defensive attention, introducing yet another necessary adjustment for the freshman.
"They were trying to really focus on him and that's natural," Howland said.
"Colorado's best player was guarding him, in (forward Andre) Roberson, and in Utah, they were really trying to be physical."