Cal Takes 3-Game Streak to Arizona

Jan. 31, 2005

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California Golden Bears (11-8, 4-5) at Arizona Wildcats (17-4, 7-2)
Thursday, Feb. 3, 8:30 p.m. MT/7:30 p.m. PT, McKale Center, Tucson, AZ
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)

California at Arizona State Sun Devils (15-6, 4-5, vs. Stanford 2/3)
Saturday, Feb. 5, 5 p.m. MT/4 p.m. PT, Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, AZ
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
TV: None

A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
Currently riding a three-game winning streak, California embarks on a trip to the desert this week, where the Golden Bears will visit 14th-ranked Arizona Thursday and Arizona State Saturday.

After being mired in last place in the Pac-10 following its fourth straight loss - an 83-66 setback at USC Jan. 20 - Cal has run off consecutive victories over UCLA, Oregon and Oregon State to move into a tie for fifth in the league standings.

During their current string, the Bears have averaged 73.3 ppg, shot 51.2 percent from the floor, while limiting opponents to just 59.7 ppg and 37.0 percent shooting. In each game, Cal built at least a 10-point halftime advantage - 33-18 at UCLA, 37-27 vs. Oregon, 44-27 vs. OSU.

One of the primary keys to the spurt is the return to health of guards Ayinde Ubaka and Richard Midgley, the tandem that comprised Cal's starting backcourt at the beginning of the year. Ubaka missed 11 games with a broken foot and suited up for the first time since late November vs. Stanford Jan. 15. Midgley, Cal's leading scorer this year, sat out three contests with a sprained shoulder before coming off the bench vs. Oregon State last Saturday. In all, they have played together just five times in '04-05.

The Bears have also benefited from strong front-line play recently, especially from Rod Benson and Dominic McGuire. Benson posted his fourth double-double of the year vs. OSU when he finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Now averaging 13.3 ppg for the season, he is scoring 10.7 ppg more than he did in 2003-04 (2.6 ppg).

McGuire, meanwhile, tied his career best with 12 points against Oregon and added 11 points, seven boards and a personal-high four blocks vs. OSU. With 26 blocks on the year, he has already surpassed his team-leading total of 22 from last season.

Defensively, Cal ranks second in the Pac-10 in both scoring defense (65.4 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (40.4%). The Bears are 11-2 when holding teams under 70 points and have allowed just two opponents to connect on more than half their field goal attempts.

Arizona Scouting Report

A Look at Arizona
Two days after knocking off Washington, 91-82, Arizona (#14 AP) suffered its first home loss of the season, 70-63 to Washington State, to give the Wildcats an 11-1 mark in the McKale Center. Salim Stoudamire leads the UA offense with 17.0 ppg, and he paces the Pac-10 in three-point shooting (60-111, 54.1%). Channing Frye rates second to Stoudamire in scoring (14.7 ppg), while pulling down 7.5 pg and blocking 37 shots.

Cal-Arizona Series History
Arizona holds a 44-24 series lead after defeating the Bears, 87-67, on Jan. 6 in Berkeley. The Wildcats are 23-9 vs. Cal in Tucson, with the Bears' most recent win being a 74-72 decision in 1995.

Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson
Lute Olson is 536-161 in his 22nd season at Arizona and 728-253 in his 32nd year overall. A six-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year, he guided the Wildcats to the 1997 NCAA title. Prior to moving to Arizona, he served as head coach at both Long Beach State and Iowa.

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Arizona State Scouting Report

A Look at Arizona State
Led by Ike Diogu's 21.2 ppg and 10.2 rpg, Arizona State is 10-3 at home this season, but the Sun Devils are just 1-3 inside Wells Fargo Arena in Pac-10 action. Diogu, who has reached double figures in scoring in all of his 80 career games, had a pair of double-doubles last weekend - 15-13 vs. Washington State and 14-13 vs. Washington. In addition, he is 161-for-197 from the free throw stripe, averaging more than nine trips to the line per game.

Cal-Arizona State Series History
Arizona State owns a 31-27 edge, although Cal has won seven of the past nine meetings. The Bears swept the series in 2001, '02 and '04. However, ASU prevailed 79-70 over Cal in the first match-up this year in Berkeley Jan. 8.

ASU Head Coach Rob Evans
Rob Evans is 105-95 in his seventh season at Arizona State. He led ASU to the 2003 NCAA Tournament, as well as to a pair of NIT berths. Evans was also 86-81 at Mississippi from 1993-98, winning two SEC West titles.

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Golden Bear Notes

Bears Run Away from Oregon State, 91-66
California used a 29-2 run to turn an 18-13 deficit into a 42-20 lead and cruised to a 91-66 victory vs. Oregon State last Saturday in Berkeley. The win was the Bears' 14th straight over the Beavers, while Cal's point total was its highest since beating Arizona State, 91-80, on Feb. 28, 2002 in Tempe. Against OSU, Cal shot 57.4 percent from the floor and led by as many as 31 points in the second half. Rod Benson paced the Bears with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Dominic McGuire added 11 points and a career-best four blocks. Cal also welcomed back Richard Midgley, who had missed the previous three games with a sprained right shoulder. Midgley finished with nine points, three assists and three steals in 19 minutes of action.

Defense Keys 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 11-2 when holding opponents to less than 70 points and 0-6 when surrendering 70 or more. Two schools were not able to crack 50 vs. Cal - Hampton (69-46) and Washington State (59-47) - while UCLA managed just 51 points Jan. 17 - 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 (65.4 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (40.4%).

Cal's Top Defensive Teams since 1986-871. 2004-05   65.4 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

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 13.3 ppg and shooting 56.0 percent from the floor, Benson has three double-doubles in his past five outings - 24-11 vs. Stanford, 14-14 at UCLA and 22-10 vs. Oregon State. He has reached double digits in scoring 13 times in his last 16 games, with a best of 25 points vs. Colorado Dec. 7. In Pac-10 action, Benson has raised his average to a team-high 14.8 ppg, while his league rebounding rate of 7.7 rpg also paces the squad. In fact, Benson has led the Bears on the glass in each of Cal's past six matches. 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   19   488*  25.7   98-175   56.0*  110*   5.8*  252*   13.3*leads team

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 five games since, he has averaged 9.5 ppg - well above his 7.1 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 Jan. 20. 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 (33-46) 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    6   25-40   62.5   23   3.8   57   9.5

Bears Getting Healthy as Pac-10 Second Half Begins
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). Then sophomore G Ayinde Ubaka broke the fifth metatarsal in his left foot Nov. 23 vs. Southern - forcing him to miss 11 games - and junior G Richard Midgley sprained his right shoulder in early January, which kept him on the sidelines for three contests (at USC, at UCLA, vs. Oregon). So when Cal hosted Oregon State last Saturday, the Bears suited up nine scholarship players - their maximum amount available this season.

Ubaka, who underwent surgery on his foot Nov. 24, returned to the lineup vs. Stanford Jan. 15 and has since averaged 8.0 ppg, dishing out 18 assists with just four turnovers in the last five games. He has totaled nine points and four assists in each of Cal's last three contests. Midgley initially injured his shoulder at Washington State Jan. 2 and finally reappeared last Saturday vs. Oregon State. In 19 minutes vs. the Beavers, he had nine points, three assists and three steals.

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.

Cal Finding Success on the Road This Year
Cal will put its road mettle to the test this week during the Bears' annual visit to Arizona and Arizona State. Cal is currently 4-2 away from home this year, including a 2-2 mark in Pac-10 play that has seen the Bears defeat both Washington State (59-47) and UCLA (64-51). For the season, Cal is allowing just 63.8 ppg, 37.0 percent field goal shooting and 27.2 percent three-point accuracy in road games. In addition, the Bears have a higher rebounding margin (+3.7) outside Berkeley than they do inside Haas Pavilion (+0.6). However, Cal has lost nine straight in Tucson, with the last win being a 74-72 decision in 1995. The Bears, though, have found more success at ASU where they have won three of their past four contests.

Walk-on Martin Smith Guides from the Point
Junior Martin Smith may be a third-year walk-on, but the 5-11 point guard can hold up against the best the Pac-10 has to offer. Midway through the league season, Smith leads the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.69:1). Now averaging 4.11 apg (7th in the Pac-10), he has dished out at least six assists seven times this year, including last Saturday vs. Oregon State when he finished with seven assists and no turnovers. The only Bear to start every Pac-10 game, Smith set a career high with eight assists vs. Hampton to earn all-tournament honors for the Office Depot Golden Bear Classic.

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 Arizona contest connecting on 40.7 percent of his long-distance attempts (37-91). 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 121-of-303 treys, putting him in seventh place on Cal's all-time list and fifth in three-point percentage (39.9 %).

Cal Career Three-Pointers4. Shantay Legans (2000-02)   1395. Amit Tamir (2002-04)       1366. Bill Elleby (1989-92)      1357. Richard Midgley (2003- )   1218. K.J. Roberts (1992-95)     109

Cal Career Three-Point Percentage1. Billy Dreher (1991-92) 43.1%2. Keith Smith (1987-90) 41.3%3. Bill Elleby (1989-92) 41.0%4. Ryan Forehan-Kelly (1999-02) 40.7%5. Richard Midgley (2003- ) 39.9%

Dominic McGuire Reasserts Himself as a Starter
For a while, sophomore F Dominic McGuire seemed to prefer his role as a reserve. After starting each of Cal's first 11 games, he had 10 boards off the bench at Washington, then set a career high with 12 points vs. Arizona and added 10 more points vs. Arizona State. But after a solid outing at UCLA (8 points, 3 assists), McGuire returned to the starting five last week, and he has reached double figures in both games back in the lineup. He matched his personal best with 12 points vs. Oregon, then poured in 11 points, grabbed seven rebounds and swatted away a career-high four blocks vs. Oregon State. For the season, McGuire leads the Bears in blocks with 26, a figure than stands four higher than his team-leading 22 for all of last year. In addition, he is shooting 52.0 percent from the floor, including 58.7 percent (27-46) in Pac-10 action. Over his past three games (UCLA, Oregon, OSU), McGuire has made 15-of-25 (60.0%) attempts from the field.

Bear Notes ...
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... Cal's bench is averaging 19.9 ppg, up from 14.2 ppg last year and the team's best since 2001-02 (24.9 ppg) ... Cal has held a second-half lead in all but two games this year - vs. Saint Mary's and Stanford.

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