No. 22 Cal Returns Home to Host WSU, Washington
Feb. 10, 2003
Washington State Cougars (5-15, 0-11) at California Golden Bears (16-4, 9-2)
Thursday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
Washington Huskies (8-12, 3-8, at Stanford 2/13) at California
Saturday, Feb. 15, 4 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
TV: Fox Sports Net
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
Fresh off a road sweep in Oregon, 22nd-ranked California returns home for the first time in three weeks when the Golden Bears host Washington State and Washington in Haas Pavilion.
At 16-4 overall and 9-2 in the Pac-10, Cal is off to its strongest start since the 1993-94 squad had the same record after 20 games. A win over WSU Thursday would give the Bears their best mark 21 contests into the season since the 1959-60 team was 20-1.
As a result of Cal's recent surge, the Bears have moved up to 23rd in the RPI and 27th in the Sagarin Ratings - their highest positions of the year.
Now, Cal resumes play in Berkeley, where the Bears have won 15 consecutive games and are the only school in the Pac-10 this season with an unblemished home record (10-0).
Cal's 'Big Three' of senior F Joe Shipp, sophomore F Amit Tamir and senior G Brian Wethers continue to lead the way, with the trio averaging 69.2 percent of the Bears' point total. Each player has reached double figures in at least 17 consecutive games, including a streak of 26 in a row by Shipp.
The Pac-10's leading scorer at 21.2 ppg, Shipp raises his rate to 22.9 ppg on 58.6 percent shooting from the floor in league contests. He scored 33 points (14-18 FG) the last time the Bears met WSU on Jan. 18 in Pullman.
Tamir, who pours in 17.4 ppg, is Cal's top long-range shooter, having connected on 47.0 percent of his three-point attempts (47-100), in addition to being the Bears' best rebounder with 6.7 per outing.
Wethers not only contributes 14.7 ppg, but he also paces Cal in assists with 3.2 apg, including a high of six at Oregon State last week. In his most recent contest, Wethers tallied a season-best 21 points (9-11 FG) and picked off five steals to help the Bears hand Oregon only its second home loss in the past two years, 86-75.
Second-Half Run Pushes Cal Past Oregon, 86-75
Cal used a 25-5 second-half run, holding Oregon scoreless during one 6:13 stretch, to defeat the 23rd-ranked (ESPN/USA Today) Ducks, 86-75, last Saturday in Eugene. Senior G Brian Wethers made 9-of-11 shots from the floor on his way to a season-high 21 points and a career-best five steals. The Bears also set season bests for points in a half (52, 2nd), field goal shooting (59.1%) and free throws (28-37). Cal did not score a basket in the final four minutes, but shot 16-for-22 from the free throw line to keep Oregon at bay. Senior F Joe Shipp added 23 points, while sophomore F Amit Tamir scored 18.
Haas Pavilion Winning Streak at 15 Games
Now 10-0 at Haas Pavilion this season, Cal has run off a 15-game winning streak on its home floor dating back to last year. The streak ties for the fourth-longest on-campus string in school history and tops the old Haas record of 14 in a row set from March 4, 2000 to Feb. 1, 2001. Over the past two seasons, Cal is 27-1 in Berkeley - the only loss was a 68-58 setback to Arizona - while the Bears' record since the start of the 2000-01 season is aPac-10 best 41-4. Cal's longest home win streak ever was 26 games from 1958-60.
Longest Home Winning Streaks1. 26 Dec. 27, 1958 to Dec. 16, 19602. 23 Nov. 25, 1995 to Dec. 28, 1999*3. 16 February 1953 to Jan. 30, 19544. 15 Feb. 2, 2002 to current4. 15 Dec. 8, 1945 to March 8, 1946*includes on-campus games only; Cal played the 1997-98 and '98-99 seasons at the Oakland Arena
Wethers Reaches 1,000 Career Points
With his 18-point effort at Arizona State Jan. 30, senior G Brian Wethers became the 32nd player in school history to amass 1,000 points during a career. Now with 1,063 points entering Thursday's match-up vs. Washington State, Wethers is 25th on the all-time Cal list, needing six more points to pass Kevin Singleton (1,068 points, 1977-81) for 24th. With senior F Joe Shipp holding down the seventh spot with 1,458 points, the Bears have two players teaming together with at least 1,000 points for the first time since Roy Fisher (1,382) and Ryan Drew (1,086) during the 1990-91 season. Ed Gray (1,082) and Randy Duck (1,003) both topped 1,000 points in 1997, but Duck reached his total after Gray was out of the lineup due to a broken foot.
Rebounding Margin Key Stat in Cal Results
If there is one statistic that stands out as a key indicator of Cal's results, it is rebounding margin. Through 20 games, the Bears are a perfect 12-0 when they out-rebound their opponent. Perhaps more significant, Cal's rebound margin is +4.5 in the Bears' 16 wins and -6.7 in their four losses. Cal's highest margin was +22 vs. Grambling (53-31) - the team's largest since posting a +25 advantage vs. Texas Southern (47-22) on Nov. 30, 1996. Overall, Cal averages 2.2 more rebounds than its opponents, a figure that, if it holds up, would be the Bears' highest since 1996-97 when the difference was +2.5.
Big Three Contribute 69.2 Percent of Scoring
How much does Cal rely on the scoring ability of Joe Shipp, Amit Tamir and Brian Wethers? Try 69.2 percent of the team's total - a figure that, if it holds up the rest of the year, would be the school's highest as far back as complete statistics are available (1949-50 season). The only trio to come close was the combination of Lamond Murray, Jason Kidd and Monty Buckley, who provided 67.8 percent of the Bears' output in 1993-94. Murray led the conference in scoring with 24.3 ppg, while Pac-10 Player of the Year Kidd averaged 16.7 ppg and Buckley added 12.8 ppg. Prior to this season, no Ben Braun-coached team had a threesome average more than 56.1 percent of a squad's total (1998-99 - Geno Carlisle, Thomas Kilgore and Sean Lampley). Last year, Shipp, Tamir and Wethers, who were Cal's top three scorers in 2001-02, contributed 45.1 percent of the Bears' points.
Shipp Could Be 5th Bear in 10 Years to Lead Pac-10
Senior F Joe Shipp, who has averaged 22.9 ppg on 58.6 percent shooting from the floor and 42.9 percent shooting from three-point range since the start of conference play, has taken over the Pac-10 scoring lead with an overall rate of 21.2 ppg. If he can maintain that position for the rest of the season, he would become the fifth Bear in the last 10 years to pace the conference. Lamond Murray averaged 24.3 ppg in 1994, while Shareef Abdur-Rahim (21.1 ppg in 1996), Ed Gray (24.8 ppg in '97) and Sean Lampley (19.5 ppg in '01) also topped the league. Abdur-Rahim, Gray and Lampley earned Pac-10 Player of the Year honors in the seasons they led the Pac-10.
Bears Getting A's for Accuracy from the Field
Cal has made at least 50 percent of its shots from the field seven times in its last 10 games to raise its FG percentage in Pac-10 contests to 50.1 percent and its overall rate to 48.1 percent. The Bears shot their highest percentage of the season at Oregon (59.1%) last week, including 68.4 percent (13-19) in the second half - their best performance since making 60.5 percent from the floor vs. UCLA on Feb. 1, 2001. Individually, three starters are at or above 50 percent for the season - Joe Shipp (53.5%), Richard Midgley (52.8%) and Gabriel Hughes (50.0%) - while Brian Wethers is at 49.8 percent.
Shipp in Rare Company with Five 30-Point Games
With four 30-point outings so far this season and another against Fresno State last year, senior forward Joe Shipp has joined just seven other Cal players with five career 30-point games. The next time he reaches 30, Shipp will tie the school record of six held by Ed Gray (1996-97) and Mark McNamara (1981-82). In addition, Shipp's four 30-point outbursts this year are only two off the Cal season record - Gray reached 30 six times in 1997. Shipp's career high is 35 points established against Oregon State Jan. 11 - a feat that helped him earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors.
Braun No. 2 on Cal's Conference Win List
Now in his seventh season at Cal, head coach Ben Braun has moved up to second on Cal's conference win list with a 67-52 mark, trailing only Nibs Price, who was 176-123 in the Pacific Coast Conference from 1925-54. Braun is also the first Cal coach to post a winning career league record since Pete Newell was 62-26 from 1955-60.
Tamir, Shipp Post Double Double-Double
In Cal's 80-69 win over UCLA Jan. 25, both senior F Joe Shipp (23 points, 10 rebounds) and sophomore F Amit Tamir (20 points, 10 rebounds) had double-doubles, marking the first time two Cal players accomplished the feat since Sean Lampley (25 points, 10 assists) and Nick Vander Laan (14 points, 12 rebounds) teamed to help the Bears defeat Georgia, 85-64, on Dec. 21, 2000 in Oakland. The Oakland Arena was also the site of the last double points-rebounds double-double - Lampley (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Carl Boyd (14 points, 15 rebounds) in an 85-67 victory over UCLA on Feb. 13, 1999.
In addition to Shipp and Tamir, junior F Conor Famulener pulled down a career-high 10 boards vs. UCLA, giving the Bears three players with at least 10 rebounds for the first time since Jason Kidd (11), Lamond Murray (11) and Michael Stewart (10) did it vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay in the first round of the 1994 NCAA Tournament (lost, 61-57).
Cal's League Start Best in 46 Years
Beginning Pac-10 action with a 7-0 record, Cal jumped out to its best conference start since the 1957 season when the Bears began 10-0 in the old Pacific Coast Conference under Pete Newell. Cal had been 3-0 in league action several times in the past 46 years, but never as good as 4-0. Even during Cal's NCAA Final Four runs of 1959 and '60, the Bears lost early in league play both years. Now at 9-2 in the Pac-10 this year, a win over WSU Thursday would give Cal its best 12-game conference start since the Bears were 11-1 in '60.
Eight-Game Winning Streak Best since 1993
Cal won eight consecutive games from Dec. 30 through Jan. 25, giving the Bears their longest victory run since also winning eight in a row in 1993 - a string that ended with a 93-76 loss to Kansas in the NCAA Sweet 16. This year's run started with a 77-70 overtime victory over San Francisco and included wins in their first seven Pac-10 games.
Midgley Cool Competitor as a Freshman
Guard Richard Midgley may be just a freshman in eligibility, but the collegiate rookie has displayed a level of maturity on the court usually reserved for more veteran players. Now averaging 9.5 ppg and 3.0 apg, he is shooting 52.4 percent from the floor, including a perfect 5-for-5 outing vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, and 46.2 percent (24-for-52) from three-point range. For his efforts, head coach Ben Braun rewarded him a spot in the starting lineup, beginning with the Pac-10 opener vs. Stanford. Midgley scored a career-best 23 points vs. USC Jan. 23 - the only time neither Joe Shipp nor Amit Tamir has led Cal in scoring - and he sank 9-of-10 free throws, including 5-of-6 in the final minute, to help the Bears top Oregon Feb. 8.
6-11 Tamir Poses Triple Threat
At 6-11, 260 pounds, sophomore F Amit Tamir looks like he should be Cal's dominant player near the basket. And in fact, he leads the Bears with 6.7 rpg, including four double-doubles and a career-high 14 boards vs. Howard. But Tamir's game is not limited to the area just around the hoop. Cal's second-leading scorer at 17.3 ppg, he tops Cal in three-pointers made (47, 47.0%). His most important triple came against USF Dec. 30 when his three-pointer with 3.7 seconds left in regulation sent the contest into overtime, a game the Bears won, 77-70. Tamir has scored at least 25 points five times this season, including a 27-point outing at Oregon State. His other big nights came against Georgia (27 points), San Francisco (26), Oregon (25) and at Washington (26). In addition, he is second on the team in assists (3.0 apg) and is first on the squad in free throw shooting (84.4%). Before missing against Stanford Jan. 4, Tamir had made 23 straight from the free throw line, and he has sunk 62 of his last 70 attempts (89.6%).
Wethers Report: Senior Reigns on Both Ends
According to coach Ben Braun, senior guard Brian Wethers, Cal's most athletic player, has the ability to dictate play on both ends of the court. And Wethers displayed his all-around skill to its fullest at the EA Sports Golden Bear Classic in late December. In earning tournament MVP honors, Wethers averaged 16.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 4.0 apg. In addition, he helped hold Louisiana-Lafayette's high-scoring guard Brad Boyd to just 6-for-17 shooting in the championship game. Later, he kept Oregon's Luke Jackson without a field goal for the first 36 minutes in Cal's Jan. 9 win. Then in Cal's victory at Oregon Feb. 8, he had 21 points (9-11 FG) to go with two blocks and five steals. Wethers, who has tallied at least 10 points in every game this season, has also scored 18 points three times - at Cleveland State, vs. UL-Lafayette and at Arizona State. He ranks third on the team in scoring (14.7 ppg), first in assists (3.2 apg) and third in rebounding (4.7 rpg). He leads all current players on the roster with 213 career assists and has twice had six assists in a game this year - vs. Kansas and at Oregon State.
Bears Sport International Flair
On a campus that prides itself on diversity, the Cal basketball team sports a roster that includes players from three foreign countries. Sophomore forward Amit Tamir hails from Jerusalem, Israel, while freshman guard Richard Midgley is a native of Burgess Hill, England, and freshman forward Jordi Geli Vilardell came to Berkeley by way of Girona, Spain. By no means does this trio represent all of the overseas players who have suited up for Cal under head coach Ben Braun. Others who have needed student visas before joining the squad include Sean Marks (New Zealand, 1995-98), Shahar Gordon (1999-00, Israel), Francisco Elson (1998-99, The Netherlands) and Saulius Kuzminskas (2001, Lithuania).
Fathers and Sons Share Athletic Backgrounds
Four members of the 2002-03 Cal team can point to their fathers as men who paved their way into the athletic arena. Junior guard A.J. Diggs, for example, is the son of Shelton Diggs, who was a wide receiver at USC from 1973-76 and played for the NFL's New York Jets in 1976. Redshirt-freshman forward Erik Bond hails from a family of basketball players - his father, Jay, starred at Washington, while both of this brothers (Jason at Gonzaga and Jesse at Saint Mary's) played at the collegiate level. In addition, freshman forward David Paris is the son of former San Francisco 49er lineman Bubba Paris, and freshman guard Martin Smith is the son of the late Phil Smith, who played college basketball at San Francisco and was a two-time NBA All-Star.
Bear Notes ...
Junior G A.J. Diggs tied Jason Kidd's school record with eight steals at Cleveland State; Kidd had eight steals vs. Washington on Jan. 28, 1993 ... head coach Ben Braun has moved into second place on Cal's all-time coaching list with 134 wins, passing both Pete Newell (119-44, 1955-60) and Lou Campanelli (123-108, 1986-93) this season ... seven former Bears were on NBA opening night rosters this year: Jason Kidd (Nets), Lamond Murray (Raptors), Shareef Abdur-Rahim (Hawks), Michael Stewart (Cavaliers), Sean Marks (Heat), Sean Lampley (Heat) and Jamal Sampson (Bucks) ... Cal's three-point shooting rate of 39.3 percent is slightly ahead of school-record pace (38.7% in 1989-90).