Cal Visits Stanford Saturday
Feb. 7, 2005
California Golden Bears (12-9, 5-6)
at Stanford Cardinal (12-9, 6-5)
Saturday, Feb. 12, 12:30 p.m., Maples Pavilion, Stanford, CA
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
TV: ABC Regional
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California completes a three-game road swing with a visit to Stanford Saturday. The Golden Bears, who have won four of their past five games, will be seeking their first victory at Maples Pavilion since 1993.
Despite the long drought, Cal has been particularly tough on the road this year, having posted a 5-3 mark outside of Berkeley - matching Washington State (5-6) for most road conquests in the Pac-10 in '04-05.
The five away wins ties for the second highest total under Ben Braun, surpassed only by the 7-4 road mark in 2002-03. The Bears were 2-0 on opponent courts during the non-conference portion of their schedule, and they are 3-3 in Pac-10 road games, with all three victories coming on the second day of their two-game road trips.
Cal has achieved its success with a defensive unit that ranks second in the league in both scoring defense (67.7 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (41.8%). Eight opponents have been held to less than 40 percent shooting from the floor, and the Bears own an 11-2 record when limiting foes to less than 70 points.
The exception to the 70-point rule came in last Saturday's 84-82 win at Arizona State - Cal's only victory when surrendering more than 70 points. The Bears shots 68 percent from the floor after intermission and finished the game making 59.6 percent of their field goal attempts. During one 12:15 stretch, they sank 17-of-21 shots (81.0%) that turned a 12-points deficit into a five-point lead.
Cal's young troops - the Bears do not feature a senior on the roster - have demonstrated remarkable improvement as the season as progressed. In fact, Cal's starting five in the ASU win - Rod Benson, Dominic McGuire, David Paris, Ayinde Ubaka and Martin Smith - combined to average just 15.0 ppg last year. This season, they are pouring in 35.7 ppg.
Benson has shown the greatest leap, as he is contributing 13.5 ppg in 2004-05 after chipping in just 2.6 ppg last year. Smith, a third-year walk-on, ranks sixth in the Pac-10 in assists (4.24 apg) and leads the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.78:1).
Junior G Richard Midgley - Cal's most experienced player and leading scorer - has come off the bench the past three games since returning from a three-game stint on the sidelines due to a sprained shoulder. Even with his missed playing time, he has drained a career-high 45 three-pointers this year (41.3%).
Stanford Scouting Report
A Look at Stanford
After winning six consecutive games to move into sole possession of third place in the Pac-10 standings, Stanford lost both of its contests in Arizona last week - 74-67 at ASU and 90-72 at Arizona. The Cardinal, though, is 6-1 inside Maples Pavilion. Dan Grunfeld leads the Stanford offense with 18.0 ppg, connecting on 41.9 percent of his three-point attempts. He poured in 23 points in last Saturday's setback at UA.
Cal-Stanford Series History
Cal holds a 137-107 series lead, although Stanford has won four straight and 14 of the past 16. Earlier this year, the Cardinal jumped out to a 36-21 halftime lead en route to a 74-58 decision Jan. 15 in Berkeley. Cal has not defeated Stanford on its home floor since taking an 86-61 decision on Feb. 14, 1993.
Stanford Head Coach Trent Johnson
Trent Johnson is in his first season as head coach at Stanford. A former Cardinal assistant, he was 79-74 in five seasons at Nevada before returning to the Farm. Last year, Johnson guided the Wolf Pack to a 25-9 record and a berth in the NCAA Sweet 16.
For more information: www.gostanford.com
Golden Bear Notes
Midgley's Shot Lifts Cal over Arizona State, 84-82
Richard Midgley grabbed an offensive rebound off a Martin Smith miss and banked in a leaning five-footer with 2.7 seconds left to lift Cal to an 84-82 win over Arizona State last Saturday in Tempe. The Bears fell behind, 31-18, before rallying to tie the score at 40-all early in the second half. Cal pushed its lead to as many as five points, before ASU's Ike Diogu tied the game at 82 apiece with 29 seconds remaining. The Bears shot 68.0 percent from the floor (17-25) in the second half and finished the night with a 59.6 field-goal percentage - their highest rate in a league game since making 60.3 percent in a 92-63 win over UCLA on Feb. 1, 2001. Rod Benson paced five Bears in double figures with 20 points and eight rebounds. Midgley finished with 15 points.
Braun Nearing 500 Career Wins
With a 498-338 record entering Saturday's game at Stanford, head coach Ben Braun needs just two more victories to reach 500 for his career. Braun was 148-103 at Siena Heights from 1977-85 and 185-132 at Eastern Michigan from 1985-96. Now in his ninth season at Cal, he owns a 165-103 mark with the Bears. The 165 victories is the second most in school history, trailing only Nibs Price, who was 449-294 in 30 years from 1925-54. Braun's tenure with the school is also second to Price in the Cal annals.
Road Kinder than Home to Cal in 2004-05
During this 2004-05 season, Cal has surprisingly found more success on the road than inside Haas Pavilion, posting a 5-3 away record and a 7-6 home mark. The Bears won their two non-conference road games - 67-64 at BYU and 60-57 at San Diego State - and in Pac-10 action, Cal has prevailed over Washington State (59-47), UCLA (64-51) and Arizona State (84-82). The five road wins matches the second highest total under head coach Ben Braun, topped only by a 7-4 record in 2002-03, and the Bears are on track for just their second winning road mark since 1994-95. Statistically, Cal is holding opponents to 41.4 percent from the field on the road and 42.1 percent in Berkeley. In addition, the Bears are shooting better away from home - 46.0 percent on the road compared 46.8 percent at home. Cal's road record this year is also a marked improvement from last season when the Bears were only 2-9 away from home.
Best Road Records under Ben Braun (does not include neutral sites)2003 - 7-4 1997 - 4-52005 - 5-3 2002 - 4-62001 - 5-7 2000 - 4-7
Midgley No Stranger to Game-winners
For junior G Richard Midgley, who banked in the game-winning bucket with 2.7 seconds remaining at Arizona State Saturday, last-second shots just seem to come with the territory. Perhaps the biggest basket of Midgley's career came during his freshman season when he nailed a three-pointer from the top of the key with 3.9 seconds left in overtime to lift Cal to a 76-74 win over North Carolina State in the first round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament. Earlier this season, he drained another three-pointer as time expired to give the Bears a 61-58 victory over Pepperdine in the championship game of the Office Depot Golden Bear Classic Dec. 23. In the ASU contest, Martin Smith attempted a 17-footer in the closing seconds, but Midgley grabbed the offensive rebounds and sank a leaning five-footer. After a Sun Devil timeout, he then tipped away the inbounds pass, which greatly reduced the amount of time ASU had to set up a final play. A double-teamed Ike Diogu missed a 12-footer at the buzzer.
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 11-2 when holding opponents to less than 70 points and 1-7 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 three opponents (UNLV and Arizona (twice)) have made more than half their field goal attempts. As a result, Cal ranks second in the Pac-10 in both points allowed (67.7 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (41.8%).
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. Now averaging 13.5 ppg and shooting 56.0 percent from the floor, Benson has four double-doubles on the year - 25-10 vs. Colorado, 24-11 vs. Stanford, 14-14 at UCLA and 22-10 vs. Oregon State. He has reached double digits in scoring 15 times in his last 18 games, including last Saturday's 20-point effort at Arizona State. In Pac-10 action, Benson has raised his average to a team-high 15.0 ppg, while his league rebounding rate of 7.5 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 21 555* 26.4 112-200 56.0 123* 5.9* 284* 13.5*leads team
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. More than midway through the league season, Smith leads the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.78:1). Now averaging 4.2 apg, he has dished out at least six assists eight times this year. Over this past four games (Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona, Arizona State), Smith has 24 assists and just five turnovers. He set his career high with eight vs. Hampton Dec. 22 and matched the total at Arizona Feb. 3. The only Bear to start every Pac-10 game, Smith's per-game average is the best for any Cal player since Shantay Legans in 2001 (4.8 apg).
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 his seven game in the opening lineup, he has averaged 9.4 ppg - well above his 5.7 ppg rate as a reserve. 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. the Bruins (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 73.5 percent (36-49) 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 7 28-45 62.2 25 3.6 66 9.4
Bears Getting Healthy with Pac-10 Second Half Underway
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 Jan. 29, 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 6.5 ppg, dishing out 27 assists with just eight turnovers in the last seven games. Midgley initially injured his shoulder at Washington State Jan. 2 and reappeared vs. OSU.
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.
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 Stanford contest connecting on 41.3 percent of his long-distance attempts (45-109). 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. Midgley also set a Cal mark with 13 three-point attempts at Arizona Feb. 3 (6 made). For his career, he has drained 129-of-321 treys, putting him in seventh place on Cal's all-time list and fifth in three-point percentage (40.2%).
Cal Career Three-Pointers4. Shantay Legans (2000-02) 1395. Amit Tamir (2002-04) 1366. Bill Elleby (1989-92) 1357. Richard Midgley (2003- ) 1298. K.J. Roberts (1992-95) 109
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 State Jan. 2, 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) Jan. 22, McGuire returned to the starting five vs. Oregon Jan. 27, and he has averaged 10.5 ppg in four games back in the lineup. He matched his personal best with 12 points vs. Oregon, poured in 11 points, grabbed seven rebounds and swatted away a career-high four blocks vs. Oregon State, added nine points at Arizona and had 10 points at ASU (4-4 FG, 2-2FT). For the season, McGuire leads the Bears in blocks with 27, a figure than stands five higher than his team-leading 22 for all of last year. In addition, he is shooting 53.0 percent from the floor - eighth in the league - including 59.3 percent (35-59) in Pac-10 action.
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 Rivals.com, he averaged 16.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg and 4.0 bpg as a junior ... Darrall Imhoff, a center on Cal's 1959 NCAA championship team 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 21.2 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 three games this year - vs. Saint Mary's, vs. Stanford and at Arizona.