Bears Visit No. 3 Stanford Saturday
Jan. 12, 2004
California Golden Bears (6-7, 2-2) at Stanford Cardinal (13-0, 4-0)
Saturday, Jan. 17, 8 p.m., Maples Pavilion, Stanford, CA
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
TV: Fox Sports Net
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
* California faces its second Top 5 opponent in three games when the Golden Bears travel to third-ranked Stanford Saturday night. Cal lost at then-No. 3 Arizona, 95-75, Jan. 8.
* The Bears picked up their first victory away from Haas Pavilion last Saturday with a 74-62 win at Arizona State. However, Cal has not won at Stanford since prevailing 86-61 on Feb. 14, 1993.
* This week's game features two of the better rebounding teams in the Pac-10. Cal owns a +4.7 margin (+7.2 in Pac-10 games) and has been out-rebounded just twice in 13 contests this season. Stanford, meanwhile, leads the conference at +10.0 overall.
* When the Bears play Stanford, Cal will be seeking its first victory over a Top 5 opponent since knocking off No. 4 UCLA, 100-93, in Pauley Pavilion on Jan. 28, 1995.
* The Bears, who averaged just 61.9 ppg on 40.7 percent field goal shooting during the non-conference portion of their schedule, have increased the pace since the beginning of Pac-10 play. Over its past four games, Cal is scoring 68.8 ppg and shooting 46.7 percent from the field. The Bears' 53 points in the second half at Arizona last Thursday was their highest output in one half since tallying 57 in the second half at Arizona State on Feb. 28, 2002.
* Freshman F Leon Powe continues to lead the Pac-10 in rebounding at 9.5 rpg. No Cal player has paced the league for an entire year since Mark McNamara in 1981-82.
* Fellow freshman F Marquise Kately has moved up to 10th in the conference in field goal shooting at 53.7 percent. Over his past 10 games, he has shot 58.8 percent from the floor and paced the Bears in scoring four times, including both games in Arizona last weekend - 18 points at Arizona (8-13 FG) and 17 points at Arizona State (7-12 FG).
* Defensively, Cal is limiting opponents to only 62.0 ppg - a figure that rates as the lowest by a Bear defense since 1984-85 (61.8), which was before the introduction of the shot clock. Cal is third in the Pac-10 in scoring defense this season behind only Washington State (56.6 ppg) and Stanford (60.5 ppg).
Golden Bear Notes
Cal Takes Charge in First Half in 74-62 Win at Arizona State
Freshman F Marquise Kately scored 11 of his 17 points in the first half to lead Cal to a 74-62 victory at Arizona State last Saturday for the Bears' first win outside of Berkeley this year. Cal broke open a close game with a 20-5 run late in the opening period to grab a 40-24 lead. The Bears increased their margin to 20 points (50-30) before ASU chipped it down to eight at 61-53 with 3:33 left. But freshman F Leon Powe tallied six quick points, as the Bears pulled away in the closing minutes. Powe, who missed the previous game at Arizona with swelling in his left knee, finished with 16 points and four rebounds in 29 minutes of action. Freshman G Ayinde Ubaka added 10 points and five assists (one turnover) for Cal, which shot an even 50 percent from the floor and limited ASU to just 30.9 percent shooting.
Marquise Kately Becoming a Marquee Player for Bears
Freshman Marquise Kately, a 6-5 forward out of San Francisco's Riordan High School, has quickly become a key factor for the Bears in his first season at the collegiate level. With double-figure scoring efforts in each of his last three games, including team highs of 18 points at Arizona and 17 points at Arizona State, Kately has raised his overall rate to 10.2 ppg. And he has done it in a most efficient manner, sinking at least 50 percent of his field goal attempts in seven of his last eight games. Now with a season field goal percentage of 53.7 percent, he has been even better since the start of Pac-10 play. In four conference games, Kately is averaging a team-best 13.8 ppg on 59.0 percent shooting (23-39). He has been particularly sharp outside of Haas Pavilion, making 55.1 percent from the field for 12.2 ppg. As a high school player, Kately led Riordan to the 2002 state title and was voted the 2002 California state Player of the Year.
As Bears Start to Run, Depth Playing a Key Factor
Over its past couple of games, Cal has placed a greater emphasis on its running game and the result has been a much higher scoring output than earlier in the season. The Bears soared to a 53-point output in the second half at Arizona Jan. 8, then put up 74 total points at Arizona State Saturday. During those 60 minutes, Cal combined to shoot 54.3 percent from the field (50-92). By contrast, the Bears entered the two games averaging just 62.1 ppg on 41.4 percent shooting. One of the by-products up the upbeat tempo is that more players are getting into the action. Ten of the 11 players who gained court time at Arizona played at least 10 minutes, and nine players were in for 10 minutes or more at ASU.
With Powe on Board, Cal Winning the Rebounding Battle
Perhaps the greatest area of improvement for Cal this season is on the glass, where the Bears are out-rebounding their opponents by a 35.6-30.9 margin. The difference is even greater in Pac-10 games, where Cal owns a 38.0-30.8 advantage. In fact, the Bears have been out-hustled on the boards just twice in 13 games this season - at Colorado and vs. Wyoming. Cal's largest differential has been 13, a feat the Bears have accomplished in two of their last four games - vs. Washington Jan. 2 (42-29) and at Arizona Jan. 8 (43-30). Freshman Leon Powe leads the pack at 9.5 rpg, while senior Amit Tamir is pulling down 5.4 rpg and Dominic McGuire, after an 11-rebound effort at UA, is at 4.2 rpg.
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 seven 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 five 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.
Three-Point Shot Returning as Key Weapon for Cal
California entered its Jan. 2 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 Jan. 4 by making 7-of-17 (41.2%) from behind the arc. Starting with the run at the end of the UW game, the Bears have connected on 17 of their last 40 (42.5%). Tamir has clearly found his stroke by combining to go 11-for-18 in league contests (6-9 vs. Washington; 4-6 vs. WSU, 1-2 at Arizona, 0-1 at ASU). After leading the team with 61 three-pointers last season, he was just 7-for-35 from three-point range before the start of conference action.
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- ) 104
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 but one that he has played this year (at Arizona State). 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 15.7 ppg.
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 (except at Arizona when senior Gabriel Hughes started for an injured Powe). So far, the freshman foursome has combined to score 473 of the Bears' 832 total points (56.9 percent). Powe paces Cal in scoring (15.7 ppg) and rebounding (9.5 rpg), while Ayinde Ubaka is tops in assists (3.8 apg) and Dominic McGuire leads in blocks (14). Marquise Kately also had a game-high 18 points vs. Wyoming and at Arizona and is shooting 53.7 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.
Ayinde Ubaka Beginning to Feel Comfortable at the Point
Freshman PG Ayinde Ubaka, who has started all but the season opener this year, is quietly having one of the better seasons for a rookie point guard in school history. To date, the Oakland High School product is averaging 7.0 ppg and a team-high 3.8 apg. He has 49 assists to just 25 turnovers - a nearly 2-to-1 ratio - and is coming off a five-assist, one-turnover effort at Arizona State. In fact, he has had zero or one turnover in seven of 13 games this season.
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 the Arizona State game with 140 steals - tied for fourth with Michael Chavez. The 5-10 former walk-on, who received a scholarship before the start of his junior campaign, owns a team-best 20 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. A.J. Diggs (2001- ) 140 Michael Chavez (1980-83) 140
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 (138). 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 has had his playing time increase significantly in recent weeks. At Arizona Jan. 8, for example, he played 19 minutes and finished with three points, five rebounds and a career-high six assists. Typically Cal's first guard off the bench, Smith has been efficient in his shot selection, making 7-of-12 (58.3%) from the floor, and he is the Bears' top free throw shooter at 83.3 percent (10-12).
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 honors this season: Playboy All-American, one of 50 preseason candidates for the John Wooden All-America team, one of 30 preseason candidates for the Naismith National Player of the Year prize, and one of 30 candidates for the Senior Class Award given to the nation's top senior ... 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.