No. 18 Cal Visits UCLA, USC
Feb. 17, 2003
California Golden Bears (18-4, 11-2) at UCLA Bruins (5-16, 2-10)
Thursday, Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m., Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
TV: Fox Sports Net
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
California at USC Trojans (10-11, 5-7, vs. Stanford 2/20)
Saturday, Feb. 22, 8 p.m., L.A. Sports Arena, Los Angeles, CA
TV: KRON (Channel 4)
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
No. 18 California flies to Los Angeles this week to visit UCLA and USC, trying to extend its current four-game winning streak and maintain pace with top-ranked Arizona, which holds a one-game lead over the Bears for first place in the Pac-10 race.
So far this year, Cal is 6-2 on opponent home courts, including 4-2 in league action, and has guaranteed itself its first winning road mark since 1995 (7-5).
The Bears have claimed their last three contests against the Bruins - twice in Berkeley and once in the '02 Pac-10 Tournament - and have the opportunity to post their first four-game string over UCLA since taking eight straight from 1957-60.
At 18-4 overall, Cal boasts its best 22-game record in 43 years, and the Bears need just two more wins for their third consecutive 20-win campaign - a feat not seen in Berkeley since Nibs Price led Cal to marks of 30-6, 20-11 and 25-9 in 1946, '47 and '48.
Senior F Joe Shipp continues his push to become the fifth Golden Bear to lead the Pac-10 in scoring in the past 10 years. Now at 20.9 ppg, he is making a career-high 52.6 percent of his shots from the floor, including 39.3 percent from three-point range. A two-time Pac-10 Player of the Week, Shipp had 23 points and 10 rebounds in the first meeting with UCLA on Jan. 25.
At the other forward spot, 6-11 sophomore Amit Tamir has moved into ninth place on Cal's single season list with 49 three-pointers (46.2%), including a best of seven at Oregon State Feb. 6.
In the backcourt, senior Brian Wethers, the Pac-10 Player of the Week Feb. 10, failed to reach double figures in scoring for the first time all year vs. Washington last Saturday. However, he dished out a career-high seven assists in the win, including a pass to Tamir that set up the go-ahead bucket with only 51 seconds left.
Freshman PG Richard Midgley, who totaled a personal-best 23 points in the first USC match-up, has moved to the top of the league in three-point shooting (46.7%, 28-60). He also had one of his better all-around games vs. Washington State last Thursday, finishing with seven points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals.
Midgley Keys 58-53 Win over Washington
Freshman Richard Midgley scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half, including two key three-pointers in the closing minutes, to lead Cal to a 58-53 win over Washington Saturday in Haas Pavilion. The game featured nine lead changes and nine ties, with neither team ever being able to take control. However, with the score tied at 53-all, Cal's Amit Tamir gave the Bears a two-point edge on a 12-foot jumper with 51 seconds left. A free throw by Joe Shipp and two more by Midgley sealed the game for Cal. Brian Wethers, who did not score in double figures for the first time all year, had a career-high seven assists.
Cal Guaranteed First Winning Road Mark since '95
Sporting a 6-2 road record entering this week's play, Cal has already guaranteed itself its first winning road mark since the Bears were 7-5 during the 1994-95 season. With three road contests remaining - at UCLA, at USC and at Stanford - Cal can fare no worse than 6-5 this season. During last year's 23-9 overall finish, the Bears were 4-6 on opponent home floors, while they were 5-7 in 2000-01 and just 4-7 in 1999-00 when seniors Joe Shipp, Brian Wethers and Donte Smith were freshmen. In addition, at 4-2 outside of Berkeley during Pac-10 play, Cal has the opportunity this weekend to match the 1992-93 squad for most league road wins in the past 11 seasons. That squad, with future All-Americans Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray, posted a 6-3 conference road mark.
Bears Seek Most Pac-10 Victories in 10 Years
At 11-2 in the Pac-10 this year, Cal needs just two more victories to record its highest league win total since the 1993-94 club finished in second place with a 13-5 conference record - a feat the Bears can accomplish this week. Under head coach Ben Braun, Cal has twice accumulated 12 conference wins - in 1997 and 2002 - tying for second both times.
Cal in Position for Three Straight 20-Win Seasons
Only once before in school history have the Bears achieved three consecutive 20-win seasons, but this year's Bears are in prime position to accomplish a feat last performed in 1946-48. Cal finished 20-11 in 2001 and 23-9 last season, and the Bears need only a pair of victories this year to reach the magic 20 level this year. Fifty-seven seasons ago when Nibs Price directed the program, Cal was 30-6, followed by a 20-11 record in 1947 and 25-9 in '48. Only three other times have the Bears even posted back-to-back 20 win campaigns - 1959 (25-4) and '60 (28-2) under Pete Newell, 1989 (20-13) and '90 (22-10) under Lou Campanelli and the past two years under Ben Braun.
Haas Pavilion Winning Streak at 17 Games
Now 12-0 at Haas Pavilion this season, Cal has run off a 17-game winning streak on its home floor dating back to last year. The streak is the third-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 29-1 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 a Pac-10 best 43-4. 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. 17 Feb. 2, 2002 to current*includes on-campus games only; Cal played the 1997-98 and '98-99 seasons at the Oakland Arena
Shipp Jumps to 7th on Scoring Chart
Senior F Joe Shipp, who leads the Pac-10 with 20.9 ppg, has jumped 22 spots on Cal's career scoring list this season. After entering the year in the 29th spot, he now holds the seventh position with 1,494 points, passing such notable alumni as Mark McNamara, Larry Friend, Ed Gray, Andy Wolfe and Russ Critchfield. Shipp has reached double figures in every game, and he has topped 25 points five times. With 63 more points, he will claim sixth place at Cal, topping Brian Hendrick's 1,556 points scored from 1990-93.
Cal Career Scoring Leaders5. Leonard Taylor (1985-89) 1,6086. Brian Hendrick (1990-93) 1,5567. Joe Shipp (2000- ) 1,494
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 1,086 points entering Thursday's match-up at UCLA, Wethers is tied for 22nd on the all-time Cal list with Ryan Drew (1,086, 1988-91). With senior F Joe Shipp holding down the seventh spot with 1,494 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.
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 22.2 ppg on 56.2 percent shooting from the floor and 36.4 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 20.9 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.
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 6.4 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 16.8 ppg, he tops Cal in three-pointers made (49, 46.2%). 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 tied for second in assists (3.0 apg) and is first on the squad in free throw shooting (84.9%). Before missing against Stanford Jan. 4, Tamir had made 23 straight from the free throw line, and he has sunk 65 of his last 73 attempts (89.0%).
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.
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 to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. Wethers, who tallied at least 10 points in Cal's first 21 games 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 (14.4 ppg), first in assists (3.2 apg) and third in rebounding (4.7 rpg). He leads all current players on the roster with 221 career assists and had a personal high of seven assists vs. Washington Feb. 15.
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 22 games, the Bears are a perfect 14-0 when they out-rebound their opponent. Perhaps more significant, Cal's rebound margin is +4.4 in the Bears' 18 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 2.4 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.
Midgley Cool Competitor as a Freshman
'Midgley's not 19, he's 24. They need to check his birth certificate.' Those words from Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar came after Midgley, Cal's freshman point guard, calmly sank a pair of three-pointers and two free throws over the final 4:27 to lead the Bears to a 58-53 win over the Huskies last Saturday. Now averaging 9.6 ppg and 3.0 apg, he is shooting 50.8 percent from the floor and 46.7 percent (28-for-60) from three-point range. Midgley, who has started every Pac-10 game, 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. In the Feb. 13 win over Washington State, Midgley had one of his best all-around performances with seven points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals.
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 ...
Cal's eight-game winning streak from Dec. 30 through Jan. 25 was the team's longest since also winning eight in a row in 1993 ... when Joe Shipp (23 points, 10 rebounds) and Amit Tamir (20 points, 10 rebounds) both had a double-double vs. UCLA Jan. 25, they became the first Cal pair to do so since Sean Lampley (25 points, 10 assists) and Nick Vander Laan (14 points, 12 rebounds) vs. Georgia on Dec. 21, 2000; add in Conor Famulener's 10 boards vs. the Bruins and Cal had three players reach double digits 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 ... 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 136 wins, passing both Pete Newell (119-44, 1955-60) and Lou Campanelli (123-108, 1986-93) this season ... with a 69-52 Pac-10 record, Braun is also second to Nibs Price (176-123 from 1925-54) in conference victories and he is the first Cal coach with a winning league mark since Pete Newell was 62-26 from 1955-60 ... 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.