Bears Host Oregon, Oregon State

Jan. 24, 2005

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Oregon Ducks (11-5, 3-4) at California Golden Bears (9-8, 2-5)
Thursday, Jan. 27, 7:30 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)

Oregon State Beavers (11-7, 3-4, at Stanford 1/27) at California
Saturday, Jan. 29, 7:30 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
TV: Comcast Sports

A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California returns to Haas Pavilion this week, hoping to break a three-game home losing streak when the Golden Bears host Oregon Thursday and Oregon State Saturday.

And history may be on Cal's side, as the Bears have swept the Oregon pair in Berkeley each of the past four years, including an 85-81 overtime decision over the Ducks and a 75-58 victory over the Beavers in 2004.

Cal is also coming off, perhaps, its most impressive outing of the season - a 64-51 dismantling of UCLA in Pauley Pavilion last Saturday. The Bears held the Bruins to just 30.8 percent field goal shooting and their lowest offensive output vs. Cal since 1975.

Defense has certainly been a telling statistic for the Bears throughout the 2004-05 campaign, with Cal owning a 9-2 mark when holding opponents to less than 70 points and a 0-6 record when surrendering 70 or more.

Led by Rod Benson's career-high 14 rebounds, the Bears outrebounded UCLA, 43-32, for its second-largest margin of the season (+14 vs. Southern Nov. 23). Benson has paced Cal on the glass in each of the last four contests to lift his season rate to 5.5 rpg (7.6 rpg in Pac-10 action). In addition, he is scoring at a 12.65 ppg clip after chipping in just 2.62 ppg last year - a +10.03 ppg improvement that ranks as the 12th best in the NCAA this season.

Fellow frontcourt teammate David Paris has also demonstrated a remarkable turnaround in '04-05. After scoring 1.5 ppg as a sophomore, the 6-8 junior is contributing 7.4 ppg this year. In Saturday's win at UCLA, he sank 10-of-11 field goal attempts to finish with a career-high 20 points, and in his four games as a starter, he is averaging 12.8 ppg and shooting 68.8 percent (22-32) from the floor.

In the backcourt, Cal has benefited from the return of sophomore G Ayinde Ubaka, who missed 11 games with a broken foot. He is averaging 7.3 ppg in his three games back, adding 10 assists with just two turnovers during that span. The Bears are also hopeful that junior G Richard Midgley will be able to suit up this week after missing Cal's last two games due to a sprained right shoulder.

Oregon Scouting Report

A Look at Oregon
After jumping out to a 9-1 start, Oregon has lost four of its past six games, including a pair of home contests last week to Arizona (74-66) and Arizona State (64-51). Like Cal, the Ducks do not have a senior on the team, with their top three scorers being a sophomore (Aaron Brooks, 15.6 ppg) and two freshmen (Bryce Taylor, 12.6 ppg; Malik Hairston, 12.3 ppg).

Cal-Oregon Series History
Cal holds a 66-50 series lead over Oregon and has won six of the past nine contests between the schools. Last year, each team prevailed on its home court - Cal, 85-81 OT, in Berkeley; Oregon, 68-56, in Eugene - before the Ducks took an 87-82 decision in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament.

Oregon Head Coach Ernie Kent
Ernie Kent is 146-86 in his eighth season at Oregon and 236-166 for his career, which includes six years at Saint Mary's. He has guided the Ducks to five postseason appearances, including an NCAA Elite Eight in 2002 and a pair of NIT Final Fours.

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Oregon State Scouting Report

A Look at Oregon State
At 11-7 on the year, Oregon State needs just one more victory to match last season's win total when the Beavers finished 12-16. OSU's 10-3 start was its best since 1989-90 - the last time the Beavers played in the NCAA Tournament. David Lucas, who missed 10 games following offseason toe surgery, leads the squad with 16.3 ppg. Now shooting 58.0 percent from the floor, he scored 27 points in last week's 88-66 win over Arizona State.

Cal-OSU Series History
Cal has won 13 consecutive games over Oregon State to increase its series lead to 67-64 over the Beavers. OSU's last win came in 1998, 46-43, at the Arena in Oakland. In 2004, the Bears posted an 88-74 victory in Corvallis and a 75-58 triumph in Berkeley.

OSU Head Coach Jay John
Jay John is 36-38 in his third season at Oregon State. An assistant coach for 15 years, he previously worked at a pair of Pac-10 schools - Oregon and Arizona.

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Golden Bear Notes

Bears Zone Their Way to 64-51 Win at UCLA
Junior C David Paris sank 10-of-11 shots from the floor on his way to a career-high 20 points and junior F Rod Benson added 14 points and a personal-best 14 rebounds to lead Cal to a 64-51 win at UCLA last Saturday at Pauley Pavilion. Using a 2-3 zone virtually the entire game, the Bears held the Bruins to just 23.3 percent shooting from the floor (7-23) in the first half in limiting UCLA to its lowest point total vs. Cal since 1975 (a 51-47 UCLA win). The margin of victory was also the Bears' second largest ever in Pauley Pavilion, topped only by a 104-82 decision in 1993. Paris scored 10 points during a decisive 14-2 run midway through the first half that gave the Bears a 24-12 advantage, and the lead reached 21 points in the second half (58-37).

Don't Forget Paris: Junior Excelling as a Starter
Junior C David Paris earned the first start of his career vs. Arizona State Jan. 8, and in the four games since, he has averaged 12.8 ppg - well above his 7.4 ppg rate for the full season. He poured in 12 points and grabbed seven boards vs. Stanford Jan. 15 and added 11 points at USC last Thursday. Paris then soared to a career-high 20 points at UCLA, sinking 10-of-11 shots from the floor, including each of his last nine attempts. Paris' field goal percentage (90.9%) set a school record vs. UCLA (previous: 8-9, 88.9% by Alfred Grigsby in 1992 and Tremaine Fowlkes in 1995) and just missed the Cal mark for all games (10-for-10 by Brian Hendrick vs. USF in 1989). For the LA weekend, Paris shot a combined 15-for-17 from the floor (88.2%) vs. USC and UCLA. One of the most improved players in the Pac-10, Paris entered the year with a career average of just 1.6 ppg in 48 previous games. However, he served notice of his changed stature in Cal's 2004-05 season opener when he tallied 16 points and set career highs in rebounding (8) and assists (4) vs. UC Riverside. In addition, Paris is connecting on 71.7 percent (33-47) from the foul line after beginning the season as a career 38.1 percent (16-42) free throw shooter.

David Paris in 2004-05                   G     FG-A     Pct   Reb    Avg   Pts     AvgAs a Reserve      13    24-54    44.4    52    4.0    74     5.7As a Starter       4    22-32    68.8    16    4.0    51    12.8

Defense Key's Cal's Success in 2004-05
Throughout the 2004-05 season, Cal's defensive performance has been the most reliable indicator of the Bears' success on the court. To date, the Bears are 9-2 when holding opponents to less than 70 points and 0-6 when surrendering 70 or more. Two schools did not crack 50 vs. Cal - Hampton (69-46) and Washington State (59-47) - while UCLA managed just 51 points last Saturday - the Bruins lowest output against the Bears since winning 51-47 in 1975. In addition, seven teams have shot 35.0 percent from the floor or lower and only two opponents (UNLV and Arizona) have made more than half their field goal attempts. As a result, Cal ranks second in the Pac-10 in both points allowed (65.5 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (40.4%).

Cal's Top Defensive Teams since 1986-871. 2004-05   65.5 ppg   2nd in Pac-10    Coach: Ben Braun2. 2001-02   66.6 ppg   2nd in Pac-10    Coach: Ben Braun3. 2003-04   67.2 ppg   3rd in Pac-10    Coach: Ben Braun4. 1996-97   67.8 ppg   1st in Pac-10    Coach: Ben Braun

Cal Trying to Hold onto Second-Half Leads
Cal enters Thursday's game vs. Oregon with a 9-8 record, but the Bears' mark could be much better if they were able to hold onto second-half leads. Cal has been up after intermission in six of its eight setbacks, including last Thursday at USC. The Bears also held second-half advantages over Washington, Arizona and Arizona State in Pac-10 play. Below is a look at Cal's latest second-half leads in games the Bears have lost this year:

Date     Opponent        Score   Time RemainingDec. 1   UNLV            72-71   0:01Dec. 7   Colorado        52-51   5:09Dec. 31  at Washington   61-60   8:38Jan. 6   Arizona         40-38   18:35Jan. 8   Arizona State   50-49   12:38Jan. 20  at USC          45-44   16:38

Injuries Take Toll on Bears throughout Season
Cal entered the 2004-05 knowing that three members of the roster would miss most, if not all, of the campaign - sophomore F Leon Powe (knee), freshman C Sam Rayburn (knee) and junior forward Jordi Geli (foot). But since the start of the season, two additional injuries have had significant impacts on the Bears' lineup. First, sophomore G Ayinde Ubaka broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot in the first half of the Nov. 23 Southern game. He underwent surgery the next day, a procedure that kept him off the court for eight weeks. After missing 11 games, he returned vs. Stanford Jan. 15.

In addition, junior G Richard Midgley sprained his right shoulder at Washington State Jan. 2. Although he continued to play against the Cougars and in Cal's next game vs. Arizona, he was limited to just six minutes against Arizona State. As a result, Midgley's production has fallen from 16.7 ppg and 42.9 percent shooting from three-point range (30-70) in the first 12 games of the year to 9.0 ppg and 31.6 percent on three-pointers (5-16) over his past three contests. He sat out both of Cal's game in Los Angeles last weekend and will be re-evaluated later this week to determine his status for Thursday's Oregon game.

Powe, the 2004 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, is on the sidelines for all of '04-05 following Sept. 8 reconstructive knee surgery. The first freshman in the history of the Pac-10 to lead the league in rebounding when he averaged 9.5 rpg last year, he also was Cal's leading scorer in 2003-04 with 15.1 ppg. Rayburn is rehabilitating from offseason knee surgery, while Geli's preseason foot surgery will keep him off the court for the foreseeable future.

In Rod We Trust: Benson Blossoms on the Block
Entering this season, junior F/C Rod Benson was a little-used reserve who played more than 10 minutes just six times and reached double figures in scoring only once - 11 points at Arizona in January 2004 - in his first two years with the program. But this season, Benson has taken full advantage of his opportunity to start and has been dubbed 'the most improved player in the Pac-10' by FSN analyst Dan Belluomini. Now averaging 12.6 ppg and shooting 55.6 percent from the floor, Benson recently had a 24-point, 11-rebound effort vs. Stanford and a 14-point, 14-rebound outing at UCLA. He has scored at least 10 points 11 times in his past 14 games, with a best of 25 points vs. Colorado Dec. 7 and another 22 vs. UNLV Dec. 1. In Pac-10 action, Benson has raised his average to a team-high 13.7 ppg, while his league rebounding rate of 7.6 rpg also paces the squad. Prior to this year, Benson had averaged 1.8 ppg in 37 career games.

Benson By YearSeason     G   Min    Avg    FG-A    Pct   Reb   Avg   Pts   Avg2002-03   16    55    3.4    6-12    50.0   13   0.8    13   0.82003-04   21   178    8.5    22-50   44.0   36   1.7    55   2.62004-05   17   435   25.6   84-151   55.6   94   5.5   215  12.6

Downtown is Midgley's Favorite Neighborhood
Throughout his tenure at Cal, junior G Richard Midgley has clearly been Cal's most consistent three-point threat. After setting a school freshman record by making 44.9 percent (44-98) of his long-range attempts in '02-03, he was 40-for-114 (35.1%) last year. This season, the native of Burgess Hill, England, again has his average over 40 percent, and he enters the Oregon contest connecting on 40.7 percent of his long-distance attempts (35-86). He sank six straight three-pointers in a 6-for-8 effort vs. Southern Nov. 23 and had a 6-for-9 outing vs. Fairleigh Dickinson Dec. 4. For his career, Midgley has made 119-of-298 treys, putting him in seventh place on Cal's all-time list and fifth in three-point percentage (39.9 %).

Bear Notes ...
Junior G Martin Smith, a third-year walk-on, is the only Bear to start every Pac-10 game this season. He leads the squad in assists (3.8 apg) and ranks fourth in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.41:1) ... with 21 blocks so far, sophomore F Dominic McGuire needs just one more to tie his team-leading total of 22 for all of last year ... 10 different players are averaging at leads 11 minutes per game, with only Richard Midgley (30.8) playing 30 minutes or more ... Jordan Wilkes, a 6-10, 210-pound center out of Loyola HS in Los Angeles, signed a National Letter of Intent with the Bears Nov. 10. Rated the No. 5 center in the country by, he averaged 16.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game as a junior. He is the younger brother of Cal sophomore G Omar Wilkes (sitting out this year after transferring from Kansas) and son of former NBA star Jamaal Wilkes ... Darrall Imhoff, a center on Cal's 1959 NCAA championship game and a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic team, will be inducted into the Pac-10 Hall of Honor in March.

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