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December 27, 2008

Hoop Notes: 12.27


EUGENE, Ore. -- The University of Oregon men's basketball team (5-6) will complete the non-conference portion of its schedule on Monday, Dec. 29, with a home game against Long Beach State (5-6). Tip-time for the Ducks-49ers contest is slated for 7:07 p.m. (PST) at McArthur Court in Eugene. Tickets are still available for the game, with prices at $22. An $8 off coupon may be obtained at local Bi-Mart stores.

Oregon is coming off a win over Portland in the most recent outing for the Ducks, a 79-76 overtime decision at Mac Court on Dec. 20. Long Beach State is also coming off a victory, snapping a four-game losing streak with a 76-71 home win over Temple on Dec. 22. Oregon has a 1-0 advantage over the 49ers in the all-time series. The Ducks recorded a 97-67 blowout win over Long Beach State on Nov. 17, 2001, in the only meeting between the two schools.

The Ducks will open the New Year with Pac-10 Conference action, hosting USC on Jan. 2 and UCLA on Jan. 4. The following week, Oregon returns to the road when the Ducks travel to face Arizona and Arizona State. UO returns home to face Washington and Washington State on the weekend of Jan 15-17.

Long Beach State (5-6) won its last game, a 76-71 home victory over Temple on Monday, Dec. 22. The 49ers had lost four straight games prior to the win over the Owls. Long Beach State was riding a four-game winning streak earlier this season, recording consecutive victories over Weber State (73-69), Idaho State (88-82), New Mexico State (82-77) and Pepperdine (80-61). The 49ers have played three overtime games this season, with a 2-1 record in those outings. Two of those games that required extra time went to double-overtime (Idaho State and San Francisco).

Don Monson is in his second season as head coach at Long Beach State. Monson is 11-31 with the 49ers. Long Beach State finished eighth in the Big West Standings a year ago, going 6-25 overall and 3-13 in conference action. The 49ers were picked to finish fifth by the media and eighth by the coaches in the 2008 preseason polls.

LBSU is 4-1 in home games at the Walter Pyramid, but just 1-5 on the road. The 49ers lost road games to BYU (65-75), Wisconsin (61-68), San Francisco (74-78), Weber State (63-72) and Syracuse (55-79). There only home loss came to Montana State, a 61-75 defeat on Dec. 20. Long Beach State made a season-high 25 free throws (in 32 attempts) in their most recent outing with Temple.

The 49ers are giving up 38.9 rebounds per game, holding a -6.1 rebounding margin. After getting outrebounded in five straight games, Long Beach State held a +1 advantage (31-30) against Temple.

Senior guard Donovan Morris is one of five starters returning from last year's squad. Morris scored 23 points on 7-of-13 shooting in the last game, marking his sixth 20-point outing of the season. Morris is also the team-leader in rebounding, averaging a team-best 4.3 boards per game. Junior guard Stephan Gilling is the only other player to average double-figures in scoring (10.9 ppg).

Oregon is 1-0 this season and 17-8 all-time against schools from the Big West Conference. UO defeated UC Irvine earlier this season, 84-77, in a game played at the Bren Events Center is Irvine. Oregon is 1-0 all-time in games against Long Beach State. The Ducks recorded a 97-67 blowout win over the 49ers on Nov. 17, 2001, in the only meeting between the two schools.

Oregon needed a little extra time to put away pesky in-state rival Portland, defeating the Pilots 79-76 in overtime Saturday, Dec. 20, at McArthur Court, the 700th Oregon victory in the venerable venue.

Tajuan Porter hit a runner in the lane with just under one minute left in overtime to give the Ducks a one point lead and after a stout defensive stand, Joevan Catron's pair of free throws pushed the game to its final three point decision. Oregon out-scored Portland, 9-6, in overtime.

Porter had 12 points to go along with a season-high five assists while Catron snagged a team-high six rebounds and knocked down six points. Garrett Sim paced the Ducks with 14 points after scoring 10 points in the first half. LeKendric Longmire (13 points) and Michael Dunigan (11 points) also scored in double-digits for the Ducks.

Portland was paced by Nik Raivio's 23 points on 9-of-21 shooting and his team-high nine rebounds. Jared Stohl also broke the 20-point barrier in the game, netting 21 points including five 3-pointers. Guard T.J. Campbell's 17 points included the game tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation.

Five Duck freshman combined to score 28 of Oregon's 38 first-half points and the freshmen finished the game with 42 combined points, including a season-high seven points from forward Josh Crittle.

Portland's largest lead in the game came at the 2:30 mark in overtime, a 76-73 advantage. Oregon would score the final six points of the game for the victory. The Ducks held a lead as large as 14 points, a 49-35 advantage with 15:07 remaining in the second half.

UO received solid production from its bench, with the Ducks' reserves out-scoring Portland 23-2. UO was also able to capitalize off 26 Pilot turnovers, scoring 30 points off UP's give-aways. UP managed just 18 points off 22 Duck turnovers.

The Ducks lead the Pac-10 Conference and rank 32nd in the nation with a 9.4 steals per game average. Oregon also ranks fourth in scoring offense (73.8 ppg) and is tied for fifth in blocks (3.5 bpg) in the Pac-10.

Junior forward Joevan Catron ranks first in steals and fourth in rebounding among Pac-10 Conference players. Catron, from Phoenix, Ill., averages a league-leading 2.2 steals per game, while adding 7.6 boards per outing. He also averages 9.1 points and 2.4 assists per game on the year, ranking fifth on the team in points scored and third in assists.

Junior guard Tajuan Porter and freshman Michael Dunigan also rank among the leaders. Porter is second in the Pac-10 and 12th nationally in free throw shooting percentage (90.7 percent, 39-43). He is also 10th in the league in scoring (14.9 ppg). Dunigan ranks fourth in blocks (1.3 bpg) and is tied for ninth in rebounding (6.1 rpg).

With the victory over Portland last Saturday, the Oregon Ducks captured their 700th win in games played at McArthur Court in Eugene.

Oregon entered the 2008-09 season with 697 wins all-time at the hallowed grounds. UO defeated Kansas State, 75-70, on Dec. 7 at Mac Court in Eugene. The win gave the Ducks 699 career wins at their home venue. UO recorded a 66-64 win over Northern Colorado in the season-opener for the other home win. The Ducks have two home losses this year, falling to Saint Mary's and Oakland.

Head coach Ernie Kent has a 131-43 (.753) career record at McArthur Court. The Ducks are 3-2 in home games this season.

Malik Hairston recently signed with the San Antonio Spurs. The 6-6, 215-pound Hairston has spent the season with the Austin Toros, the Spurs affiliate in the NBA Development League. In 11 games with the Toros, Hairston averaged 19.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists. He was named this week's D-League Performer of the Week after averaging 24.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in three Toros wins.

Hairston spent training camp with San Antonio where he averaged 5.3 points and 4.5 rebounds in six preseason games. He was waived by the Spurs on Oct. 26. Hairston was selected by Phoenix Suns with the 48th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. He was acquired by San Antonio in exchange for the draft rights to Goran Dragic.

Hairston finished a four-year career (2004-08) at Oregon with 1,644 points which ranked tied for sixth all-time (with Stan Love and Fred Jones). He averaged 14.1 points per game over his career, playing in 117 games, a starter in 115 of those outings.

Tajuan Porter is making his way up the career scoring charts, ranking fourth all-time in career 3-pointers made at Oregon. He has made 220-of-554 attempts (.397) in just 78 games played, making him the fastest UO player to reach those numbers. Porter is just four shy of moving by Terik Brown (1995-99) for third all-time at UO. Brown totaled 223 career 3-pointers in 116 games. Orlando Williams (1991-95) is the all-time leader having made 282 3-pointers in 112 games at UO.

Earlier this season Porter passed former teammate and all-conference selection Aaron Brooks to move into fourth. Brooks finished his career with 205 career 3-pointers made in 115 games played.

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