Cal Meets Oregon in Pac-10 Tournament
March 8, 2004
California Golden Bears (13-14, 9-9) vs. Oregon Ducks (14-11, 9-9)
Thursday, March 11, 2:50 p.m., Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
TV: Fox Sports Net
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
Fourth-seeded California faces No. 5 seed Oregon in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament Thursday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The game tips off at approximately 2:50 p.m., following the opening contest between No. 1 Stanford and No. 8 Washington State.
If the Bears win, they will play the Stanford-Washington State victor Friday at 6:15 p.m. The championship game is Saturday at 3:15.
Since the Pac-10 Tournament resumed in 2002, Cal has won its quarterfinal both times, defeating UCLA, 67-61, in '02 and Oregon State, 69-46, last year.
* Now pulling down a league-high 9.5 rpg, F Leon Powe has positioned himself to become the first freshman in the history of the Pac-10 to lead the conference in rebounding. Powe's rate is the best ever for a Cal rookie (previous: 8.6 rpg by Bob McKeen in 1951-52), and no Cal player has paced the conference for an entire year since senior Mark McNamara in 1981-82.
* Powe also needs just three rebounds to pass McKeen for Cal's freshman rebound record. Powe has 247 boards, and McKeen grabbed 249 during a 30-game '51-52 season.
* Cal's freshman and sophomore classes are combining to score 76.4 percent of the Bears' points and grab 72.9 percent of the team's rebounds this season. An underclassman leads the team in every statistical category except three-pointers made and three-point attempts (both paced by senior Amit Tamir).
* In allowing 66.5 ppg, Cal is surrendering its fewest points per game since 1985-86. Eight teams have been held to fewer than 60 points, and only Arizona and Arizona State have topped 80 points in regulation.
* With one steal at Washington State last Saturday, senior A.J. Diggs passed Kevin Johnson and took over sole possession of third place on Cal's career list with 156 steals.
* Cal is 10-1 when scoring at least 70 points in a game and just 1-11 when scoring 60 or fewer.
Oregon Scouting Report
Oregon captured the 2003 Pac-10 Tournament with a 74-66 win over USC. The Ducks entered the field as the fifth seed - same as this year - and proceeded to bump off No. 4 Arizona State, 83-82, and No. 8 UCLA, 75-74, to reach the final. The 2003-04 squad is led by Luke Jackson's 21.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg and 4.5 apg. The Ducks top the conference in three-point shooting (40.1 percent), paced by Jackson's 45.7 percent from long distance (63-138).
Cal-Oregon Series History
Cal owns a 66-49 series lead and has won six of the past eight meetings. The Bears and Ducks split their two games this season, with Oregon winning, 68-56, in Eugene Jan. 29, and Cal claiming an 85-81 decision in overtime in Berkeley Feb. 26. Cal is also 6-0 vs. Oregon on neutral courts, most recently defeating the Ducks, 85-69, in the NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden in 1999. Cal eventually won the NIT championship with a 61-60 victory over Clemson.
Golden Bear Notes
Washington State Tops Cal in Regular-Season Finale, 70-58
After Cal cut its deficit to 53-52 with just over five minutes left, Washington State used a late 13-4 run to pull away from the Bears, 70-58, last Saturday. The loss ended the Bears' three-game winning streak in Pullman. WSU made only 18 field goals in the game, but sank 27-of-33 from the line, including an 8-for-8 effort by Marcus Moore. Richard Midgley scored 12 of his 19 points in the second half for Cal.
A.J. Diggs Passes Kevin Johnson on Cal Career Steals List
With his 36th steal of the season at Washington State Saturday, senior G A.J. Diggs passed Kevin Johnson for third place on Cal's career list with 156 steals. Diggs, a former walk-on who received a scholarship before the start of his junior campaign, will lead the Bears in steals for the third consecutive year. He had 47 steals as a sophomore and 57 steals last season. 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 Leaders1. Jason Kidd (1993-94) 2042. Butch Hays (1981-84) 1663. A.J. Diggs (2001- ) 1564. Kevin Johnson (1984-87) 155
Cal's Pac-10 Tournament History
Cal enters this week's play with a 4-6 all-time record in Pac-10 Tournament action. The Bears have reached the semifinals three times, including each of the last two years. Here is a look at how Cal has fared in the league tournament:
1987 at Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CAQF: Cal 64, Oregon State 57SF: UCLA 75, Cal 68
1988 at McKale Center, Tucson, AZFirst Round: Cal 75, USC 59QF: Arizona 88, Cal 64
1989 at Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, CAQF: Oregon State 79, Cal 66
1990 at University Activity Center, Tempe, AZQF: Stanford 77, Cal 61
2002 at Staples Center, Los Angeles, CAQF: Cal 67, UCLA 61SF: Arizona 90, Cal 78
2003 at Staples Center, Los Angeles, CAQF: Cal 69, Oregon State 46SF: USC 79, Cal 62
A Look Back at the 2003 Pac-10 Tourney
Last March, Cal entered the Pac-10 Tournament as the No. 3 seed and drew sixth-seeded Oregon State in the quarterfinals. The Bears limited the Beavers to a Pac-10 Tournament record-low point total and used a 20-3 run midway through the second half to pull away, 69-46. No starter played more than 30 minutes, and Richard Midgley paced the offense with 12 points. In the semifinals, Cal was forced to play much of the game without the services of two key players - A.J. Diggs sat out the contest with a sprained ankle and starter Brian Wethers missed all put 12 minutes due to Achilles tendinitis. As a result, the Bears - who beat USC twice during the regular season - fell to the Trojans, 79-62. Joe Shipp had 19 points for Cal, which committed 21 turnovers, compared to USC's eight.
Pac-10 Tournament Schedule
The Pac-10 Tournament runs Thursday, March 11 through Saturday, March 13 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. All seven games will be televised, the quarterfinals and semifinals on Fox Sports Net and the championship game on CBS. Here is the full schedule:
Thursday, March 11Game 1: No. 1 seed Stanford vs. No. 8 seed Washington State, 12:20 p.m. (FSN)Game 2: No. 4 seed California vs. No. 5 seed Oregon, 2:50 p.m. (FSN)Game 3: No. 2 seed Washington vs. No. 7 seed UCLA, 6:15 p.m. (FSN)Game 4: No. 3 seed Arizona vs. No. 6 seed USC, 8:45 p.m. (FSN)
Friday, March 13Game 5: Stanford/WSU winner vs. Cal/Oregon winner, 6:15 p.m. (FSN)Game 6: Washington/UCLA winner vs. Arizona/USC winner, 8:45 p.m. (FSN)
Saturday, March 14Game 7: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner, 3:00 p.m. (CBS)
Tamir Named to Academic All-District Team
Cal senior Amit Tamir, who sports a 3.34 GPA in American studies, has been selected as the only Pac-10 player on the five-member CoSIDA Academic All-District VIII team. Joining the Bears' 6-10 center on the squad are Lance Allred (Weber State), Kelly Golob (Northern Arizona), Michael Kuebler (Hawaii) and Blake Stepp (Gonzaga). District VIII is comprised of schools in the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington, and the province of British Columbia, and the team is voted on by the district's Sports Information Directors. The only player in the Pac-10 to earn both first team Pac-10 All-Academic and All-Pac-10 recognition last year, Tamir is averaging 12.2 ppg and 5.3 rpg this season.
Powe's Double-Doubles in Rare Company
Not since Brian Hendrick donned the Blue & Gold a dozen years ago has Cal had a player as proficient in securing double-doubles as freshman F Leon Powe. The Pac-10 leader in double-doubles, Powe has 14 to his credit this season, all of the points-rebounds variety. He opened the year with five consecutive doubles and has recorded seven more in his past 11 games. Powe recorded a season high of 15 boards at home vs. Washington Jan. 2 (19 points), and he added 15 points and 13 rebounds vs. Saint Joseph's Dec. 20. With at least one game left this year, Powe has the opportunity to post the most double-doubles for a Cal player since Mark McNamara had 20 in 1981-82, when the 6-11 center led the league in both scoring (22.0 ppg) and rebounding (12.6 rpg).
Most Double-Doubles at Cal since 1981-82Mark McNamara 1981-82 20Leon Powe 2003-04 14Brian Hendrick 1991-92 14Brian Hendrick 1990-91 14Jason Kidd 1993-94 13
Cal Has Four Players Averaging 10.0 ppg for First Time since '99
For the first time since the 1998-99 season, Cal has four players averaging at least 10.0 ppg. Leon Powe (15.0 ppg) and Amit Tamir (12.2 ppg) have been in double digits all year, with Richard Midgley (10.7 ppg) and Marquise Kately (10.5 ppg) joining the ranks in mid-February. Kately, who ranks among the Pac-10 leaders in field goal shooting at 53.7 percent, scored a career-high 24 points vs. Arizona State Feb. 7. Midgley, meanwhile, was named Pac-10 Player of the Week Feb. 9 after scoring 18 points against Arizona and 20 more vs. ASU. Back in '98-99, Geno Carlisle (15.9 ppg), Thomas Kilgore (14.2 ppg), Sean Lampley (12.4 ppg) and Michael Gill (10.3 ppg) led the Bears to a 22-11 record and the National Invitation Tournament title.
Tamir Tops 1,000 Points for His Career vs. Oregon State
With 17 points in the Feb. 28 win over Oregon State, senior C Amit Tamir became the 33rd player in school history to reach the 1,000-point level. Tamir, who hit the total in just three seasons, averaged 9.9 ppg in 2001-02 and 14.9 ppg last year. He is scoring at a 12.2 ppg clip in '03-04.
Cal Career Scoring Leaders29. Mark McNamara (1981-82) 1,04130. Monty Buckley (1992-95) 1,03531. Amit Tamir (2002- ) 1,031
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. He opened his career with five straight double-doubles - the longest points-rebounds run since Mark McNamara had eight consecutive double-doubles from Dec. 22, 1981 through Jan. 16, 1982 - and he enters Thursday's game vs. Oregon with a Pac-10-high 14 double-doubles. Powe has paced Cal in rebounding (or at least tied for team honors) in every game but two that he has played this year (at Arizona State, vs. Stanford). He grabbed a best of 15 rebounds vs. Washington Jan. 2, and snagged 14 caroms against both UCLA Jan. 24 and Oregon State Jan. 31. In addition, Powe owns the high scoring output for a Cal player with 27 points vs. UC Irvine Dec. 3. He was voted Pac-10 Player of the Week Jan. 26 after scoring 14 points with eight rebounds vs. USC and adding 19 points and 14 boards vs. UCLA.
Cal Freshman Rebounding Average1. Leon Powe (2004) 9.5 rpg2. Bob McKeen (1952) 8.6 rpg3. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1996) 8.4 rpg4. Brian Hendrick (1990) 7.6 rpg
Cal Freshman Total Rebounds1. Bob McKeen (1982) 2492. Leon Powe (2004) 2473. Brian Hendrick (1990) 2424. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1996) 236
Marquise Kately a Marquee Player for Bears
In his first season at Cal, freshman Marquise Kately quickly became a key factor for the Bears, earning 21 starts on the year. Now averaging 10.5 ppg, the 6-5 forward leads the team and ranks eighth in the Pac-10 in field goal shooting at 53.7 percent. In Pac-10 games, he has been even better - connecting on 55.0 percent of his attempts. Kately soared to a career-high 24 points vs. Arizona State Feb. 7, and he added 18 points at Arizona and 17 at Oregon. Overall, Kately has finished as Cal's leading scorer seven times.
Cal Freshman Field Goal ShootingName (Year) FG-A Pct1. Tony Gonzalez (1995) 71-111 64.02. Brian Hendrick (1990) 175-295 59.33. Alfred Grigsby (1992) 110-191 57.64. Marquise Kately (2004) 113-212 53.75. Leonard Taylor (1985) 125-235 53.2
Cal's Defense Allowing Fewest Points in 18 Years
In allowing just 66.5 ppg, Cal is surrendering its fewest points since giving up 63.4 ppg in 1985-86. That season was the first year of the 45-second shot clock, which was reduced to 35 seconds in 1993-94.
Cal's Top Defensive Teams since 1985-861. 1985-86 63.4 ppg 3rd in Pac-102. 2003-04 66.5 ppg 3rd in Pac-103. 2001-02 66.6 ppg 2nd in Pac-104. 1996-97 67.8 ppg 1st in Pac-10
Young Lineup Features Three Freshmen Starters
With three freshmen plus one sophomore among Cal's starters, the Golden Bears feature one of the youngest lineups in the nation. In fact, head coach Ben Braun has opened with a trio of rookie starters in all but three games this season. As a result, the freshmen have combined to score 963 of the Bears' 1,791 total points (53.8 percent). Leon Powe paces Cal in scoring (15.0 ppg) and rebounding (9.5 rpg), while Ayinde Ubaka is tops in assists (3.9 apg), Dominic McGuire leads in blocks (22) and Marquise Kately is first in shooting percentage (53.7%). Braun last went with three, and sometimes four, freshmen starters in 1999-2000 when the first-year class featured Joe Shipp, Brian Wethers, Donte Smith, Shantay Legans and Nick Vander Laan.
In Rod We Trust: Benson Provides Lift Off the Bench
Perhaps the Cal students, who held up signs reading 'In Rod We Trust,' knew that Rod Benson would be up for a big night against Oregon Feb. 28. The 6-10 sophomore certainly filled the bill. In a career-best 22 minutes, Benson scored eight points (the second-highest total of his career) and added personal highs with six rebounds and four blocks. His final block swatted away a short jumper by the Ducks' Aaron Brooks with two seconds left in regulation to preserve a tie and send the game into OT. And in the extra period, Benson's 12-footer from the baseline gave the Bears the lead for good at 80-79 with 2:44 left. Over the past several weeks, head coach Ben Braun has begun to insert Benson into the lineup more often due to the energy he brings to the court. He had 11 points (5-5 FG) and snared five boards at Arizona in January, and he finished with seven points, three rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal at Washington last week.
Record Watch: Bears Make Marks on Top 10 Lists
With the 2003-04 season winding down, several Bears are making their marks on Cal's Top 10 lists. Senior Amit Tamir is on three career charts - three-pointers (132, 6th), three-point attempts (367, 5th) and free throw percentage (80.9%, 4th). In addition, sophomore Richard Midgley is fifth in career three-point shooting (40.2%, 84-209) and senior A.J. Diggs is third in career steals (156). Cal's rookie class is also having a significant impact on the freshman record book:
Cal Freshman Record BookLeon Powe Points 389 3rd Scoring Average 15.0 ppg 2nd Rebounds 247 2nd Rebounding Average 9.5 rpg 1st Field Goal Pct. 49.3% 9th Free Throws 117 3rdMarquise Kately Field Goal Pct. 53.7% 4thAyinde Ubaka Assists 105 5th
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 third position in career steals (156). 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 become a key contributor off the bench, averaging 8.0 minutes per game and appearing in 21 of the Bears' 26 contest. At Arizona Jan. 8, for example, he played 19 minutes and finished with three points, five rebounds and a career-high six assists. Smith also set a career high with seven points at Washington March 4.
Golden Bear Notes ...
Cal players are wearing black patch with 'A.L. #31' stitched in pink on their uniforms in memory of Alisa Lewis, a Cal women's basketball players who died Jan. 19 from meningitis ... At 9-9 in Pac-10 play, the Bears finished league action with at least a .500 record for the fourth consecutive season - Cal's longest stretch since Pete Newell guided five straight teams to plus-.500 conference marks from 1956-60 ... Cal is 5-5 in games decided by five points or less, including a 59-57 setback to second-ranked Saint Joseph's, but the Bears have won their last four such games (vs. USC, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon) ... Jason Kidd, who earned National Freshman of the Year honors in 1993 and first team AP All-America and Pac-10 Player of the Year recognition in 1994, had 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.