Men's Basketball Opens Season vs. Mississippi State

Nov. 10, 2000

BERKELEY -

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Cal opens its 2000-01 season against Mississippi State in the first round of the Tivo Preseason NIT. The game tips off from Haas Pavilion at 9 p.m. Monday and will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

The winner of the Cal-MSU game advances to meet the Texas-Navy winner Wednesday at 5 p.m. The semifinals and final of the 16-team tournament are Nov. 22 and 24 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Under head coach Ben Braun, the Bears are 3-1 in season openers, with the only loss being at North Carolina in 1997. The victories have all come on the road - 75-59 over Iowa in the 1996 Maui Invitational, 71-60 at Hawaii in 1998 and 91-83 over TCU in last year's Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska.

The last time Cal began the season at home, the Bears defeated Northern Arizona, 111-83. Overall, Cal is 11-1 in its last 12 home openers.

This year's Bear squad is much the same team as last year, only a year older. Each of Cal's Top 9 scorers return, giving the Bears more than 93 percent of their scoring and rebounding and more than 75 percent of their assists back from 1999-2000.

One of the big differences Braun hopes to have with this unit is a consistent starting lineup. With five freshmen playing key roles last season, Cal used 12 players in 15 different lineups. In the two exhibition games, Braun went with the same fivesome both times, and he expects to go with the same group again in the Mississippi State opener.

Leading the way for the Bears is All-Pac-10 senior forward Sean Lampley. Cal's leading scorer (16.6 ppg) and rebounder (7.4 rpg) as a junior, Lampley is on the verge of becoming just the third player in school history to have more than 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 200 assists, needing only seven assists to join the elite group (also Roy Fisher and Doug True). He is coming off a pair of strong efforts with 15 points against the LA Stars and 23 points in 25 minutes vs. EA Sports.

Sophomore forward Joe Shipp has also looked good in the exhibition contests. He tied Lampley for team honors against the LA Starts with 15 points, then added 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor (3-3 3P) vs. the EA Sports team.

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