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Payton, Richardson Go at It Again : Guards Hope to Make Points in Oregon State-UCLA Game

Times Staff Writer

Gary Payton, Oregon State’s extraordinary point guard, wishes everyone would stop comparing him to Pooh Richardson, UCLA’s extraordinary point guard.

“I don’t think we’re similar at all,” Payton said. “Pooh’s got a whole different game than me.

“Everybody pumps it up in the papers. I don’t think there’s a rivalry at all. Whenever we play UCLA, I just want my team to beat UCLA.”

Payton and Richardson will meet again when UCLA plays Oregon State in a key Pacific 10 Conference basketball game at 4 today at Gill Coliseum.

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Off to their best start since the 1983-84 season, the Bruins, 8-2 overall, lead the Pac-10 with a 3-0 record.

After opening with 2 conference losses, the Beavers (8-3) beat USC for their first Pac-10 victory Thursday night, 64-55.

Payton, a 6-foot 3-inch junior, had another brilliant effort against the Trojans. He made 5 3-point shots, matching his career high, and had 19 points, 10 assists and 4 steals.

“Gary Payton is probably the premier point guard on the West Coast,” USC Coach George Raveling said. “He doesn’t get all the credit he deserves.”

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Richardson, a 6-1 senior, was practically flawless in UCLA’s 31-point victory over Oregon, making 4 of 5 3-point shots. He had a season-high 21 points, 8 assists and 4 steals. Richardson also played superb defense against Frank Johnson, holding him scoreless for the first 17 minutes of the game.

After making the All-Pac-10 team last season, Richardson and Payton have been consistent again this season.

Richardson is averaging 15 points, 8.1 assists and 2.3 steals. He’s shooting 59.6% from the floor and 80.3% from 3-point range.

Payton leads Oregon State in every statistical category, averaging 14.8 points, 9.1 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 3.4 steals. He’s shooting 46.8% from the field and 36.1% from 3-point range.

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“They’re like two peas in a pod,” Oregon State Coach Ralph Miller said of Richardson and Payton. “They both have excellent speed. They’re fine passers and good defensive players.

“Naturally, I prefer Gary over Pooh. But they’re so much alike that it’s very hard to say who’s better.”

Jim Harrick, UCLA coach, also likes Payton.

“I don’t think Gary Payton has ever gotten his due because he’s not on national television that much,” Harrick said. “I’ll tell you, he is sweet .

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“Pooh and Payton are both unselfish and that’s something Pooh had to learn this year because that’s my style.”

In 4 previous encounters, Payton has outplayed Richardson.

Payton has averaged 13.5 points against UCLA compared to Richardson’s 9.5 average. Payton also has twice as many assists and steals as Richardson.

“He’s a great defender,” Richardson said. “But I can’t go out and try to compete against him.

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“It’s no personal thing with me. I just want to play hard against him.”

UCLA Notes

Today’s game will be televised by Channel 2 and the USA cable network. . . . Although UCLA has a 49-25 lead over Oregon State in the series, the Beavers have a 10-8 edge over the Bruins in the 1980s. After UCLA swept Oregon State in 1986-87, the Beavers swept the Bruins last season.


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