Cal Visits Oregon, Oregon State
Feb. 22, 2005
California Golden Bears (12-12, 5-9) at Oregon Ducks (12-11, 4-10)
Thursday, Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m., McArthur Court, Eugene, OR
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
California at Oregon State Beavers (14-11, 6-8, vs. Stanford Feb. 24)
Saturday, Feb. 26, 6:00 p.m., Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, OR
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California embarks on its final road trip of the season when the Golden Bears visit Oregon Thursday and Oregon State Saturday in a pair of key Pac-10 games.
Cal enters the week tied for seventh place in the league standings - one game ahead of Oregon and a game behind Oregon State. With only the top eight teams in the conference qualifying for the Pac-10 Tournament, the Bears can secure their spot in the field with a successful swing through the Beaver State.
Based on Cal's results this year, the odds may be in the Bears' favor. Cal boasts a 5-4 road mark in 2004-05 - compared to a 7-8 record inside Haas Pavilion. The five road wins match the second highest total under head coach Ben Braun, topped only by a 7-4 record in 2002-03, and the Bears need one more victory to clinch their second winning road mark since 1994-95.
So far this season, not only is Cal shooting better on the road (45.3% to 44.8%), but the Bears are also holding opponents to a lower field goal percentage (41.1% to 43.3%) outside of Berkeley.
Overall, junior G Richard Midgley continues to lead the team in scoring with 13.6 ppg. He has connected on a career-high 48 three-pointers (37.8%) and needs just two more to become the 11th player in school history to sink at least 50 in a season.
Junior F Rod Benson, though, is making a strong push to overtake Midgley atop the scoring column. Now averaging 13.5 ppg, Benson has reached double figures in 13 of 14 Pac-10 games. He is also coming off a pair of double-doubles - 12 points-11 rebounds vs. UCLA, 13-10 vs. USC - to give him a team-high six on the season.
Adding to Cal's strength up front is junior C David Paris, who leads the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (60.3%) in league contests. Over his past four games, Paris has drained 17-of-27 (63.0%) from the floor, which included an 18-point and career-high 9-rebound effort at Stanford Feb. 12.
Oregon Scouting Report
A Look at Oregon
Oregon, which jumped out to a 9-1 start to the season, has lost eight of its past nine games. At 4-10 in Pac-10 play, the Ducks are one game behind Cal in the league standings. Sophomore Aaron Brooks paces Oregon in both scoring (14.9 ppg) and assists (4.7 apg), and he has made a team-high 47 three-pointers (39.2%). The Ducks are playing the remainder of the year without forward Ian Crosswhite (8.4 ppg, 5.7 rpg), who was dismissed from the squad Feb. 15 for a violation of Athletic Department policy.
Cal-Oregon Series History
Cal holds a 67-50 series lead over Oregon and has won five of the past seven meetings. Earlier this season in Berkeley, the Bears edged the Ducks, 65-62, behind 15 points each from Marquise Kately and Rod Benson on Jan. 27. Cal dropped last year's contest in Eugene, 68-56, but prevailed at McArthur Court in 2003, 86-75.
Oregon Head Coach Ernie Kent
Ernie Kent is 147-92 in his eighth season at Oregon and 237-1172 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.
For more information: www.goducks.com
Oregon State Scouting Report
A Look at Oregon State
Oregon State, which hosts Stanford Thursday, enters this week's action with a 10-1 home mark, which includes a 90-73 win over Washington Feb. 13. David Lucas paces the Beavers with 18.0 ppg, while Nick DeWitz has blocked 41 shots and is shooting 51.3 percent from three-point range (20-39), ranking No. 2 in the Pac-10 in both categories.
Cal-Oregon State Series History
Cal has won 14 straight over the Beavers to lengthen its series lead to 68-54. Most recently, the Bears claimed a 91-66 decision in Berkeley Jan. 29. OSU's last win in the series came in 1998 - a 46-43 victory in Oakland - while the Beavers' most recent triumph in Corvallis was in 1995 (83-67).
OSU Head Coach Jay John
Jay John is 39-42 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.
For more information: www.osubeavers.com
Golden Bear Notes
USC Defeats Cal, 89-70
Gabriel Pruitt scored all 19 of his points in the first half, sinking 5-of-7 from three-point range, as USC completed a season sweep of Cal with an 89-70 victory last Saturday in Haas Pavilion. Although the Bears never led in the contest, they were still within one point at 27-26 with 6:51 left in the first half. But the Trojans ended the period on a 20-8 run and the lead reached as many as 26 points after the break. Rod Benson paced Cal with his second straight double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds), while Martin Smith added 11 points and five assists, and David Paris chipped in 10 points.
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 1-10 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 or lower from the floor. As a result, Cal ranks third in the Pac-10 in both points allowed (69.1 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (42.5%).
Free Throw Percentage Moving Up
Although Cal's season free throw percentage (63.4%) is nothing to brag about, the Bears have shown a tremendous improvement from the charity stripe in recent weeks. Over its past seven contests, Cal is making 73.2 percent of its tries (93-127) after draining just 60.0 percent (222-370) the first 17 games of the year. During the recent surge, Richard Midgley is 16-for-17 (94.1%), while Marquise Kately - a career 45.6 percent shooter prior to the last seven games (52-114) - is 13-for-15 (86.7%).
Braun Nearing 500 Career Wins
With a 498-341 record entering Thursday's game at Oregon, 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 165-106 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.
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.
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 10 games as a starter (he sat out the Feb. 3 Arizona contest for failing to meet a team responsibility), Paris has averaged 10.0 ppg and shot 62.7 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 (5-6) and UCLA combined. And on Feb. 12 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. In addition, Paris' 60.3 percent field goal shooting in Pac-10 games leads the conference in league games only.
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 10 42-67 62.7 37 3.7 100 10.0
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 55.2 percent from the floor, Benson has six double-doubles on the year - 25-10 vs. Colorado, 24-11 vs. Stanford, 14-14 at UCLA, 22-10 vs. Oregon State, 12-11 vs. UCLA and 13-10 vs. USC - and he has reached double digits in scoring 18 times in his last 21 games. In Pac-10 action, Benson has raised his average to a team-high 14.6 ppg, while his league rebounding rate of 7.8 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 24 647* 27.0 128-232 55.2* 150* 6.3* 324* 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. The Pac-10 leader in assist-to-turnover ratio for much of the year (currently third: 2.40:1), Smith is averaging 4.21 assists 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 vs. USC last Saturday, junior G Richard Midgley drained the 132nd of his career, putting him just three behind Bill Elleby for sixth place on Cal's all-time list. This season, Midgley has made a career-best 48 treys (37.8%) 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- ) 1328. K.J. Roberts (1992-95) 109
Golden Bear Notes ...
When Richard Midgley and Ayinde Ubaka were in the opening lineup vs. UCLA Feb. 17, it marked their first start as a guard tandem since Nov. 23 vs. Southern when Ubaka broke his left foot; the pair have started five games together this year after making 24 starts together last season ... 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 has not made more than a third of its three-point tries in any game since the Pac-10 opener at Washington Dec. 31; the streak coincides with a sprained right shoulder to Richard Midgley, which he suffered at Washington State Jan. 2.