Bears Start Road Trip at Arizona Thursday
Jan. 5, 2004
California Golden Bears (5-6, 1-1) at Arizona Wildcats (9-1, 1-0)
Thursday, Jan. 8, 5:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. MT, McKale Center, Tucson, AZ
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
TV: Fox Sports Net Bay Area
California at Arizona State Sun Devils (6-4, 0-1, vs. Stanford Jan. 8)
Saturday, Jan. 10, 5:30 p.m. PT/6:30 p.m. MT, Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, AZ
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
TV: Fox Sports Net
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
* Cal embarks on a three-game road trip this week, which includes games against two of the Top 5 teams in the country. The Bears visit No. 4 Arizona Thursday and Arizona State Saturday followed by a bus ride to fifth-ranked Stanford Jan. 17.
* Senior C Amit Tamir just missed his career high with six three-pointers vs. Washington. He was 7-for-11 from behind the arc at Oregon State last Feb. 6 when he broke Gary Payton's Gill Coliseum record. In two Pac-10 games this year, Tamir is 10-for-15 from long range.
* Leon Powe's 15 rebounds against the Huskies last Friday were the most by a Cal player since Jamal Sampson grabbed 17 boards vs. Washington on Jan. 17, 2002. Powe has reached double-figures in rebounds seven times this season, and he has led the team on the glass in every game.
* When Cal plays Arizona State Saturday, Ben Braun will be coaching his 800th career game. He enters the week with a 478-320 mark, which includes eight seasons at Cal, 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight years at Siena Heights College. With 230 games at Cal, he will also pass Lou Campanelli for No. 2 on the school's all-time list vs. ASU (Campanelli coached 231 games from 1986-93.).
* G Ayinde Ubaka set career highs with 13 points and eight assists vs. Washington. For the year, he has 42 assists and just 22 turnovers. Six times he has committed zero or one turnover in a game.
* Richard Midgley's 21 points vs. Columbia Dec. 27 were just shy of his career high of 23 points set against USC last year. Over his past six games, Midgley is 18-for-38 from the floor (47.4%) and 9-for-22 (40.9%) from three-point territory. In the first five games of the year, he was just 7-for-36 from the field (19.4%).
* Freshman Leon Powe was voted MVP of the Office Depot Golden Bear Classic after averaging 21.0 ppg and 7.5 rpg in two games - 17 points, 8 rebounds vs. Columbia; 25 points, 7 rebounds vs. Air Force. He shot 11-for-18 from the field and 20-for-26 from the free throw line.
Golden Bear Notes
Washington State Upends Cal, 55-50
Washington State used a 13-4 run to close out the game in posting a 55-50 victory over Cal last Sunday in Haas Pavilion for its first victory in Berkeley since 1995. Neither team established much of an advantage throughout the contest, with the largest lead being five points. The Bears, who shot 52.2 percent from the floor in the first half, managed just 26.9 percent from the field after intermission. Amit Tamir paced Cal in scoring for the second straight night with 16 points, while Leon Powe was held without a field goal for the first time all year, finishing with two points and eight rebounds.
Growing Pains: Bears Struggle in Close Contests
With four freshmen and a sophomore among Cal's top six players, the Bears are having a difficult time pulling out wins in close contests. Of Cal's six losses, five have been by five points or less, including two by two points and one by one point. Cal Poly tipped in a missed shot with under six seconds left to claim the season-opener, 63-62, while the Bears had buzzer-beating three-pointers bounce out in 59-57 setbacks to UNLV and Saint Joseph's. In addition, the slow-down style of Air Force and Washington State produced a pair of five-point losses. Cal's lone win in a close game was a 47-46 nail-biter over Mountain West Conference favorite BYU on Nov. 26. By contrast, with seniors Joe Shipp and Brian Wethers leading the charge last season, the Bears were 7-3 in games decided by five points or less or in overtime.
Has Cal Found Its Three-Point Shot? Last 2 Games Indicate Yes
California entered last Friday's game against Washington ranked next-to-last in the country in three-point shooting at 22.2 percent. And three-fourths of the way through the contest, the Bears further secured their position by making just 2-of-14 from behind the arc. But during a stretch of 3:34 that began with 5:26 on the clock, Cal showed that it could drain the long-range jumper. During that span, the Bears sank six consecutive three-pointers, including four from senior C Amit Tamir. Guards Richard Midgley and Ayinde Ubaka also contributed one each. In fact, Cal made more threes during that one stint than they had in any game all year. Cal continued the theme vs. Washington State Sunday by making 7-of-17 (41.2%) from behind the arc, giving them 15 treys in 37 tries (40.5%) in Pac-10 games. Tamir has clearly found his stroke by combining to go 10-for-15 against the Washington schools (6-9 vs. Washington; 4-6 vs. WSU). After leading the team with 61 three-pointers last season, he was just 7-for-35 from three-point range before the Northwest teams came to town.
Cal Career Three-Point Leaders5. Bill Elleby (1989-92) 1356. K.J. Roberts (1992-95) 1097. Ryan Forehan-Kelly (1999-02) 1078. Monty Buckley (1992-95) 1069. Amit Tamir (2001- ) 103
Leon Powe Living Up to His Nickname - 'The Show'
On his way to earning McDonald's All-America honors at Oakland Tech High School, F Leon Powe was deemed 'The Show' for his exploits on the court. And since arriving at Cal this fall, the freshman has lived up to that moniker. In the Cal Poly opener, Powe became the first Golden Bear freshman to record a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) in his debut effort since Jason Kidd had 11 points and 10 assists vs. Sacramento State in 1992. He eventually ran his double-double streak to five games, the longest points-rebounds run since Mark McNamara had eight consecutive double-doubles from Dec. 22, 1981 through Jan. 16, 1982. No Golden Bear has averaged a double-double for an entire season since Brian Hendrick in 1991-92 (16.1 ppg, 10.7 rpg).
Powe has paced Cal in rebounding (or at least tied for team honors) in every game this year. He grabbed a best of 15 rebounds vs. Washington Jan. 2, and added 13 boards vs. Saint Joseph's Dec. 20 at the Pete Newell Challenge. In addition, Powe owns the high scoring output for a Cal player with 27 points vs. UC Irvine Dec. 3. Throw in his 25-point effort vs. Air Force Dec. 28 - which accounted for 56.8 percent of Cal's team total of 44 points - and he is pouring in 15.6 ppg.
Top Rebounding Averages Last 30 YearsMark McNamara 1981-82 12.6 rpgBrian Hendrick 1991-92 10.7 rpgMark McNamara 1980-81 10.5 rpgLeon Powe 2003-04 10.0 rpg
Freshman Class Makes Immediate Impact on Lineup
Cal's recruiting class, which was ranked among the Top 10 in the country by several recruiting services, has made its presence felt this season. After starting just one rookie - F Leon Powe - in the Cal Poly opener, head coach Ben Braun has had three freshmen in the opening lineup in every game since. So far, the freshman foursome has combined to score 393 of the Bears' 683 total points (57.5 percent). Powe paces Cal in scoring (15.6 ppg) and rebounding (10.0 rpg), while Ayinde Ubaka is tops in assists (3.0 apg) and Dominic McGuire leads in blocks (12). Marquise Kately also had a game-high 18 points vs. Wyoming and is shooting 51.8 percent from the floor. The Nov. 26 BYU game marked the first time that Braun started at least three newcomers since 1999-2000 when he started three, and sometimes four, first-year players most of the year. That class featured Joe Shipp, Brian Wethers, Donte Smith, Shantay Legans and Nick Vander Laan and finished 18-15 while reaching the quarterfinals of the NIT.
Marquise Kately Hitting His Stride
Over his last eight games, freshman F Marquise Kately has been one of Cal's most consistent performers, shooting 58.3 percent from the floor (35-60). He reached double figures for the first time this year vs. UC Irvine (5-7 FG, 11 points) Dec. 3, then, after a six-point outing at Colorado, led the Bears with 18 points vs. Wyoming (7-11 FG) and with 16 points (7-10 FG) vs. Saint Joseph's. For the year, the 6-5 wing out of San Francisco is shooting a team-best 51.8 percent from the field and averaging 8.8 ppg.
A.J. Diggs Moves into Top 5 on Career Steals List
With two steals against Wyoming Dec. 9, senior G A.J. Diggs moved into sole possession of fifth place in Cal history. He enters this week's games with 137 steals. The 5-10 former walk-on, who received a scholarship before the start of his junior campaign, owns a team-best 16 steals this season. Diggs had a season-high four steals at UNLV and was the catalyst in starting Cal's comeback bid from a 20-point second-half deficit, helping jump-start a 16-0 run. He was also the key element in a 14-0 spurt midway through the first half vs. UC Irvine, coming away with two of his three steals during the stretch. Diggs led the Bears in steals as both a sophomore (47 in 2001-02) and junior (57 in 2002-03). In addition, he tied Jason Kidd's Cal single-game record with eight steals at Cleveland State on Nov. 30, 2002, and he set a school NCAA Tournament mark with six steals against North Carolina State in a first-round game last March.
Cal Career Steals Leaders3. Kevin Johnson (1984-87) 1554. Michael Chavez (1980-83) 1405. A.J. Diggs (2001- ) 137
Martin Smith Carries on Strong Walk-on Tradition
Ever since his arrival at Cal, head coach Ben Braun has had the knack of finding walk-on players who have become key contributors to the Bears. Five walk-ons eventually earned scholarships, including a pair of current players - A.J. Diggs and Conor Famulener. Ryan Forehan-Kelly (1999-02) finished his career ranked fifth on Cal's career three-point shooting list (40.7%), while Diggs holds down the fifth position in career steals (137). Now, sophomore Martin Smith is bidding to join the select group. The son of the late Phil Smith, a two-time NBA All-Star, Smith saw the most significant action of his young tenure with the Bears vs. Wyoming, when he had six points, four rebounds and three assists in 15 minutes. He was the key catalyst to Cal's 15-0 run in the first half that gave the Bears the lead for good. Now, he has become the Bears' first guard off the bench. Although not a big scorer, he has been efficient in his shot selection, making 6-of-8 (75.0%) from the floor.
Golden Bear Notes ...
Senior F/C Amit Tamir - the only player in the league to earn both All-Pac-10 and first team Pac-10 All-Academic honors last year - received his fair share of awards heading into the 2003-04 campaign: Playboy All-American, one of 50 preseason candidates for the John Wooden All-America team, and one of 30 preseason candidates for the Naismith National Player of the Year prize ... Jason Kidd, who earned National Freshman of the Year honors in 1993 and Pac-10 Player of the Year recognition in 1994, will have his No. 5 jersey retired before the Feb. 14 Stanford game ... sophomore F Erik Bond announced in early December that he plans to transfer and he has been given his scholarship release ... senior G A.J. Diggs attended the Public Policy International Affairs fellowship program for seven weeks at Princeton University over the summer ... Cal has sold out its student section for the 2003-04 season ... for individual games tickets, visit www.CalBears.com or call (800) GO BEARS.
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