Men's Basketball Visits Texas in Preseason NIT

Nov. 14, 2000

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Cal travels to Texas to take on the Longhorns in the season round of the Tivo Preseason NIT Wednesday in the first game between the schools since 1965.

The Bears advanced with an 83-76 overtime win over Mississippi State Monday, while UT beat Navy, 79-65.

Cal, making its third appearance in the Preseason NIT, has also reached the second round for the third time. However, the Bears are hoping to make the semifinals and a trip to Madison Square Garden for the first time ever in the tournament. In the 1989 Preseason NIT, the Bears opened with a 70-49 win over Air Force, but lost at UNLV. In '93, Cal defeated Santa Clara only to fall at Kansas.

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 head coach Ben 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 and Mississippi State opener, Braun went with the same fivesome on each occasion, and he expects to go with the same group again at Texas.

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 four assists to join the elite group (also Roy Fisher and Doug True). He is coming off a 19-point, 8-rebound, 3-assist outing against Mississippi State.

In addition to Lampley, Cal also received strong play inside against the Bulldogs from centers Solomon Hughes and Nick Vander Laan. The duo combined for 22 points and eight rebounds, with Hughes scoring 14 points, only two points short of his career high.

On the outside, the Bears made 10 three-pointers, led by three each from sophomores Joe Shipp and Brian Wethers. Wethers, who was 3-for-4 from long range, was only 7-for-37 from behind the arc as a freshman, while Shipp helped clinch the game on his final trey with 1:30 left in overtime.

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