Cal Hosts UCLA, USC

Feb. 15, 2005

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UCLA Bruins (13-8, 7-6) at California Golden Bears (12-10, 5-7)
Thursday, Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)

USC Trojans (10-14, 3-10, at Stanford 2/17) at California
Saturday, Feb. 19, 12 noon, Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)

A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California returns to Haas Pavilion this week, where the Golden Bears will play four of their final six games this season. The run begins against UCLA Thursday, followed by a Saturday afternoon match-up with USC.

The two games mark Cal's only February appearance in Berkeley, as the Bears started the month with visits to Arizona, Arizona State and Stanford and conclude it next week at Oregon and Oregon State.

Although just 7-6 on its home floor in 2004-05, Cal did win its last two contests on Pete Newell Court, defeating the Ducks (65-62) and Beavers (91-66) Jan. 27-29.

The Bears have also exhibited recent success vs. UCLA in Berkeley, having prevailed in each of their last four meetings - their longest home winning streak in the series since taking six in a row from 1957-61. And if Cal manages beat the Bruins again Thursday, it would give the Bears just their second season sweep of their SoCal neighbor in 45 years.

Cal took the first contest, 64-51, Jan. 22 by utilizing a zone defense that limited UCLA to 30.3 percent shooting from the floor. On the offensive end, junior C David Paris has his most productive outing by sinking 10-of-11 shots for a career-high 20 points.

Paris, who added 18 points (7-9 FG, 1-1 3P, 3-3 FT) and a personal-best nine rebounds last Saturday at Stanford, now leads the Pac-10 with a 61.5 field goal percentage in league action. Over his past six games, he owns a 71.7 field goal percentage (28-39), averaging 10.7 ppg.

The most consistent member of Cal's roster - junior Rod Benson - joins Paris on the front line. Now pouring in 13.6 ppg and ranking fourth in the conference in field goal shooting (56.2%), he has reached double figures in scoring in all but one Pac-10 contest and in 16 of his past 19 games overall.

On the perimeter, junior Martin Smith, a third-year walk-on, continues to pace the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.46:1). He has also picked up his offensive number of late, now averaging 10.0 ppg over Cal's last three outings.

Junior G Richard Midgley - who did not face UCLA or USC in January due to a sprained right shoulder - leads the Bears in three-pointers (career-high 46, 39.3%) and in overall scoring (14.3 ppg).

UCLA Scouting Report

A Look at UCLA
Led by Dijon Thompson's 18.5 ppg - second in the Pac-10 - the Bruins are 13-8 overall, including a 4-4 road mark. Last weekend, UCLA knocked off Arizona State, 95-76, behind Thompson's 39 points (13-18 FG, 7-9 3P, 6-8 FT), then fell to Arizona, 83-73. The Bruins start three freshmen in Josh Shipp (brother of former Cal star Joe Shipp), Arron Afflalo and Jordan Farmar.

Cal-UCLA Series History
UCLA holds a 120-93 series lead, although Cal has won five of the past seven meetings, including a 64-51 decision in Pauley Pavilion Jan. 22. The Bears also own a four-game winning streak over the Bruins in Berkeley. Last season, each school prevailed on its home floor - Cal, 76-62, and UCLA, 66-49.

UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland
Ben Howland is in his second year with the Bruins after guiding UCLA to an 11-17 record in 2003-04. Overall, Howland's record after 10 seasons as a head coach - which includes stops at Pittsburgh and Northern Arizona - is 192-124.

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USC Scouting Report

A Look at USC
USC snapped a five-game losing streak with an 82-71 victory over Arizona State last Saturday. The Trojans average more than 21 three-point attempts per game and are making 36.2 percent of their long-range shots (185-511). Leading scorer Lodrick Stewart is the primary shooter, as he has sunk 65-of-150 from behind the arc (43.3%).

Cal-USC Series History
Cal leads the all-time series 121-112, having won five of the past eight games and 11 of 16. Earlier this season in Los Angeles, the Bears grabbed a 35-33 halftime lead, but surrendered 50 second-half points to fall, 83-66, on Jan. 20.

USC Head Coach Jim Saia
Jim Saia is serving as interim coach of the Trojans this season following the dismissal of Henry Bibby earlier in the year. Saia was an assistant coach at UCLA for seven years before coming to USC. In 1997, he helped the Bruins to the NCAA Elite Eight.

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Golden Bear Notes

Stanford Uses Late Run to Beat Cal, 71-56
Stanford used a 21-9 run to close out the game as the Cardinal defeated Cal for the 12th straight time in Maples Pavilion, 71-56, last Saturday. The Bears appeared to be on their way to breaking the streak early on when they jumped out to an 11-2 lead. But Stanford moved ahead, 14-13, on a Dan Grunfeld three-pointer. Cal fell behind by nine points midway through the second half before a 6-0 run made the score 50-47 with 8:25 to go. Stanford then responded with its game-ending spurt. David Paris paced the Bears with 18 points and a career-high nine rebounds, while Rod Benson added 15 points. Cal's three guards combined to score just 12 points, making 4-of-27 from the floor.

Braun Nearing 500 Career Wins
With a 498-339 record entering Thursday's game vs. UCLA, 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 165-104 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.

Bears Seek Second UCLA Sweep since 1960
By virtue of its 64-51 win at UCLA Jan. 22, Cal has put itself in position for just its second season sweep of the Bruins since the 1959-60 season. The only other time in the past 45 years the Bears accomplished the feat came in 1994, when Cal - with Jason Kidd and Lamond Murray leading the attack - knocked off then-No. 1 UCLA, 85-70, at the Arena in Oakland and edged the Bruins, 92-88, in LA. Over the ensuing years, Cal won the first game in the series times (2000, '01, '03, '04), but lost the second game on each occasion.

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 Feb. 5, 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, preserving an 84-82 Bear victory.

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 1-8 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. 22 - 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 times (UNLV and Arizona (twice)) have opponents made more than half their field goal attempts. As a result, Cal ranks second in the Pac-10 in both points allowed (67.8 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (41.7%).

Don't Forget Paris: Junior Excelling as a Starter
A reserve throughout all of the early part of his career, C David Paris earned his first start vs. Arizona State Jan. 8 and has been a fixture in the opening lineup ever since. In his eight games as a starter (he sat out the Feb. 3 Arizona contest for failing to meet a team responsibility), Paris has averaged 10.5 ppg and shot 64.8 percent from the floor. On Jan. 22, he 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 Jan. 20-22 LA weekend, Paris shot a combined 15-for-17 from the floor (88.2%) vs. USC and UCLA combined. Then last Saturday at Stanford, he tallied a team-high 18 points (7-9 FG, 1-1 3P, 3-3 FT) and snared a career-best nine rebounds.

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    8   35-54  64.8    34   4.3    84  10.5

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 13.6 ppg and shooting 56.2 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 - and he has reached double digits in scoring 16 times in his last 19 games. In Pac-10 action, Benson has raised his average to a team-high 15.0 ppg, while his league rebounding rate of 7.3 rpg also paces the squad. Prior to this year, Benson had averaged 1.8 ppg in 37 career games.

                 G   Min    Avg      FG-A    Pct   Reb   Avg   Pts    Avg1st 2 seasons   37   233    6.3     28-62   45.2    49   1.3    68    1.82004-05         22   587*  26.7   118-210   56.2*  129*  5.9*  299*  13.6*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. The Pac-10 leader in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.26:1), Smith is averaging 4.13 apg while turning the ball over just 1.7 times per outing. He has dished out at least six assists eight times this year, with a best of eight vs. both Hampton Dec. 22 and Arizona Feb. 3. The only Bear to start each of Cal's first 12 Pac-10 games, Smith's assist average is the best for any Bear since Shantay Legans in 2001 (4.8 apg).

Injuries Affect 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). 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. Midgley initially injured his shoulder at Washington State Jan. 2 and reappeared vs. Oregon State.

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
With another three-pointer at Stanford last Saturday, junior G Richard Midgley drained the 130th of his career, putting him just five behind Bill Elleby for sixth place on Cal's all-time list. This season, Midgley has made a career-best 46 treys (39.3%) and he is close range of becoming the 11th Bear to sink at least 50 in one year. 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).

Cal Career Three-Pointers4. Shantay Legans (2000-02)   1395. Amit Tamir (2002-04)       1366. Bill Elleby (1989-92)      1357. Richard Midgley (2003- )   1308. 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- ) 39.5%

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 9.6 ppg in five 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 52.5 percent from the floor, including 57.6 percent 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, 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 has held a second-half lead in all but four games this year - vs. Saint Mary's, vs. Stanford (twice) and at Arizona.

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