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Jackson racks up the praise
Before we go around the horn with the state's four Division I teams, let Arizona coach Lute Olson give his opinion on whom the Pacific-10 Conference player of the year should be.
Oregon's Luke Jackson, of course, scored 42 points against the Wildcats on Thursday.
'No question he's the best player in this league,' Olson says. 'He's the best because he plays every possession on both ends like his life depends on it. To get somebody who plays that hard and who's able to play that intensely on every possession É I'm so impressed with him, and I have been for a long time.
'This year he's just been unbelievable. He's very special. A very special player, very special person by all indications. You never see him lose it on the court or get upset, or anything else. He's very much of a stabilizing influence for everybody.'
Let's go around the horn:
Oregon State (11-13, 5-9 Pac-10)
Bound for the Pac-10 tourney? Maybe. The Beavs and WSU are tied for eighth, and eight teams go. They still have an outside chance at their first .500 record since 1990. É Seven turnovers against Arizona? Fantastic. The Beavers shot a season-high .554 against UA, only their second time above .500 this season. É Says Olson, complimentarily, about OSU coach Jay John, his former assistant: 'I'm really impressed by Jay and his guys. They play with a lot of heart. They brought it every possession.' É The Beavers have failed to lead in the second half of only two games Ñ at home against Stanford and Cal. É Attendance has averaged 7,312 for Pac-10 games, up by about 4,000 from preseason. É The Beavs are second in the Pac-10 in offensive rebounds, at 13 per game. É OSU has scored 80-plus points 15 times in John's 51 games as coach, as opposed to six times in 59 games with Ritchie McKay as coach. É David Lucas, who had 22 points on 10 of 14 shooting and nine boards against Arizona, has scored 20-plus in 10 of the past 12 games. He's averaging 17.8 points and 6.7 rebounds and is shooting .560 from the field. É Chris Stephens is second in scoring, at 15.9. É The final four: at Stanford and Cal, and at home against UCLA and USC.
Oregon (12-9, 7-7 Pac-10)
Could the Ducks fall out of NIT contention? The next four: at Cal and Stanford, and at home against USC and UCLA. What if the Ducks go 1-3 in those games and lose in the Pac-10 tournament? It would put them at 13-13. É Aaron Brooks' injury has hurt the Ducks. 'Our win-loss record would be a lot different with him in the lineup,' coach Ernie Kent says. É But the key has been the frontcourt, where Jay Anderson and Adam Zahn have been nonfactors, and Matt Short suffered a stress fracture in his foot and has not played much. Ian Crosswhite (13.9 points per game, .517 from the field) and rookie Mitch Platt have played decently, but they are slow defensively and get beat on the boards. Arizona and Arizona State combined to out-rebound UO 77-55. É Jackson is averaging 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists, all UO bests, and shooting .470 on 3-pointers. É The Ducks lead the Pac-10 in 3-pointers made per game (9.0), 3-point percentage (.404) and 3-point defense (.319) but rank ninth in blocked shots, steals and offensive rebounds.
Portland State (11-14, 5-7 Big Sky)
The Big Sky Conference standings: Eastern Washington 11-1, followed by Northern Arizona and Sacramento State at 6-6, and PSU, Montana State, Idaho State, Weber State and Montana at 5-7. Six teams go to the Big Sky tourney. É Next up: at Idaho State and Weber State. É The Vikings were outrebounded for only the third time Saturday in a 65-60 loss at Eastern. É Forward Marshal Hartman's line: 10 minutes, 0-2 from the field, zero rebounds and five fouls. É Seamus Boxley continues to lead in scoring (14.7 points per game) and rebounding (9.3 per game). He has shot better than 50 percent in 20 of 25 games and recorded at least seven rebounds in 22 games. É Center Seth Scott, unhappy with his limited playing time, has left the program . É The Vikings had 44 dunks through 24 games, compared with 25 in 27 last year. É PSU still leads the Big Sky in field goal defense (.417) but is shooting just .317 on 3-pointers.
Portland (10-15, 4-8 WCC)
The Pilots are going to the West Coast Conference tourney next week Ñ everybody goes. Next up: Santa Clara on Thursday and San Diego on Saturday at the Chiles Center, the final home games for seniors Dustin Geddis, Casey Frandsen and Adam Quick. É Coach Michael Holton is giving his frontcourt players more freedom, and Geddis led with 17 points against San Francisco and 16 against Gonzaga (a 76-69 Pilot loss). É Eugene Jeter still leads in scoring at 16.8 points. He's shooting better from 3-point land (.445) than overall (.412). É Still the key stats: minus-7.2 in rebounding margin and .396 on 3-pointers.