Men's Basketball Hosts Santa Clara
Nov. 19, 2001
Santa Clara Broncos (0-1) at California Golden Bears (2-0)
Tuesday, Nov. 20, 7:30 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
With a BCA Classic championship under its belt, Cal aims for its first 3-0 start since 1995-96 when the Bears host Santa Clara Tuesday night in Haas Pavilion.
Cal began the season by posting victories over Princeton (70-58) and Eastern Washington (56-27), displaying strong defensive efforts in both contests. The Bears forced Princeton into an uncharacteristic 24 turnovers and held the Tigers to only 20 rebounds in the Nov. 15 opener. One night later, Cal limited Eastern Washington to 27 points - the lowest total for a Golden Bear opponent since 1946.
The last time Cal gave up 60 or fewer points in both of its first two games was during the 1964-65 season. And it was back in 1961-62 when the Bears last surrendered 60 or less in three straight games to open the year.
Now, Cal faces a challenging Santa Clara squad that returns three starters from last year's 20-12 unit that reached the title game of the WCC Tournament.
The Bears, meanwhile, have four starters back, but it is the one newcomer to the lineup that has had the biggest impact so far. Freshman Jamal Sampson, a 6-11 center/forward, was voted MVP of the BCA Classic after averaging 10.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg and 2.5 bpg in two games. His 14 rebounds vs. Eastern Washington where the most for a Cal freshman since Shareef Abdur-Rahim pulled down 16 boards vs. UCLA on Feb. 8, 1995.
On the perimeter, the Bears sank nine three-pointers vs. Princeton and another five against EWU. Senior Ryan Forehan-Kelly leads the way with five treys in eight attempts. As a result, he has moved to the top of Cal's career three-point percentage list at 43.5 percent, just ahead of Billy Dreher (43.1%, 1991-92).
Senior Dennis Gates has also provided a lift off the bench. He had 11 points and three steals vs. Princeton, then picked off another two steals in the EWU contest. In addition, Gates is tied for the team lead (with Joe Shipp) with six assists.