Wildcats focus frustrations on OSU

By Monty Phan

Arizona Daily Wildcat

After dropping two of its last three Pacific 10 Conference games, the Arizona men's basketball team is most likely thinking one thing.

Bring on the Beavers.

After losses to California at home Feb. 12 and to UCLA in Westwood Sunday, the 13th-ranked Wildcats are ready to take their frustrations out on the eighth-place team in the conference, Oregon State.

Tip-off is 7:37 tonight at McKale Center. The game will be televised by KTTU-TV (Channel 18).

Arizona (19-6 overall, 9-4 in the Pac-10) will try to contain senior Brent Barry, the Beavers' version of Damon Stoudamire. Oregon State's all-everything forward averages a team-leading 20.4 points per game second in the Pac-10 and is first on the team in assists (79), steals (51), free-throw percentage (.815) and three-pointers (39).

In addition, the son of former NBA great Rick Barry is averaging 6.1 rebounds per game and has recorded 10 blocked shots, good for second on the team. Most valuable player nominee, perhaps?

"I think he's as good as there is in the league at what he does, and I'm not sure there are many guys in the country better than he is," UA head coach Lute Olson said. "If I were an NBA scout he'd be one of the guys that I'd be watching. He'll play at the next level. In my opinion he's going to be an outstanding NBA player."

To complement Barry, Oregon State lays claim to senior Mustapha Hoff, whose 19.6 points per game average is third in the conference, and his team-leading 7.4 rebounds per game is eighth best in the Pac-10. Take two of the top three scorers in the league, add guard Stephane Brown's 12.3 ppg average, and you'd think the Beavers have got a pretty good team.

They don't. Their 3-9 Pac-10 record is just a half game in front of ninth-place Washington, and their overall record of 6-15 is the worst in the conference. And to top it all off, at season's end OSU will lose not only its two best players in Barry and Hoff, but also its coach of five years, Jim Anderson.

"Jim and I have been not what you call close friends, but I think friends for a long time," Olson said. "(He's) just a really good person. I hate to see him out of (basketball), because I think we need quality people like that, but it's the nature of the game."

Needless to say, Stoudamire will be ready to take on whatever or whoever the Beavers throw at him. Even though the Pac-10 race may be over, the Wildcats' season sure isn't, and the senior made sure everyone knows that.

"Although I don't think we're in the Pac-10 race anymore, I still think it's important for us to come out and win these next five games to get a lot of momentum going into the tournament," Stoudamire said. "I think we'll be ready."

And just in case he needs it, there will be a little fuel left over from the fire the Bruins stomped out just four days ago.

"I'm mad," Stoudamire said Monday. "Mad all night. Mad all day too. Mad right now. I can't do nothing about it though. When you lose two-point games, you can look back at so many things that if you did right, the outcome could've been different."

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