Cal Hosts No. 10 Washington, WSU

March 1, 2005

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Washington Huskies (23-4, 13-3) at California Golden Bears (12-13, 5-10)
Thursday, March 3, 7:30 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)

Washington State Cougars (11-14, 6-10, at Stanford 3/3) at California
Saturday, March 5, 1 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
TV: None

A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California hosts Washington (#10 Associated Press/#10 ESPN/USA Today) and Washington State in the final weekend of the regular season as the Golden Bears try to break out of a five-game losing streak and secure a bid to the Pac-10 Tournament.

Since defeating Arizona State, 84-82, in Tempe Feb. 5 to complete a run of four victories in five outings that improved its overall record to 12-9, Cal has yet to find the win column. Now, the Bears find themselves tied with Oregon for eighth place in the Pac-10, and only the top eight schools qualifying for the league tourney in Los Angeles March 10-12.

During its current slide, Cal - which ranks third in the conference in scoring (69.3 ppg) and field goal percentage (43.0%) defense - has allowed four straight team to hit the 50 percent plateau from the floor. In the 21 games prior to the run, only three opponents had sunk at least half their field goal attempts.

In addition, the Bears have struggled from the outside, having not made more than a third of their three-point tries since going 5-for-10 from behind the arc in the Pac-10 opener at Washington Dec. 31.

Yet despite the long-range shooting woes, Cal does sport three frontcourt players who rate among the conference's best in field goal shooting. For league games only, junior F David Paris ranks first at 62.2 percent, followed by sophomore F Dominic McGuire (8th, 53.2%) and junior C Rod Benson (10th, 52.5%).

Benson, one of the most improved players in the country, now leads the Bears in both scoring (13.5 ppg) and rebounding (6.2 rpg). He has reached double figures in scoring in 14 of 16 Pac-10 games and is third in the Pac-10 in double-doubles with six.

Paris, meanwhile, has drained 26 of his last 39 field goal attempts (66.7%) over his past six games, which included an 18-point and career-high 9-rebound effort at Stanford Feb. 12.

In the backcourt, junior G Richard Midgley needs just one more three-pointer to become the 11th player at Cal to sink at least 50 in a season. So far, he is 49-for-136 from long distance (36.0%) in 2004-05.

Washington Scouting Report

A Look at Washington
Washington is a half-game behind Arizona in the Pac-10 standings and can gain at least a tie for its first league title since 1985 with a sweep of Cal and Stanford this week. The Huskies, who defeated UA, 93-85, last Saturday, completed their home schedule with a perfect 15-0 record. UW ranks second nationally in points per game (86.9), with six players averaging at least 9.6 ppg.

Cal-Washington Series History
Cal owns a narrow 70-69 series lead and has won seven of the past 10 meetings. However, Washington has taken the last two, including an 81-67 decision in the 2004-05 Pac-10 opener Dec. 31 in Seattle. Last year in Berkeley, the Bears hit six straight three-pointers to break a 53-all tie to win, 76-62.

UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar
Lorenzo Romar is 52-33 in his third season at Washington. In 2003-04, he guided UW to a 19-12 record and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Prior to moving to Seattle, he served as head coach at both Pepperdine and Saint Louis.

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Washington State Scouting Report

A Look at Washington State
Washington State defeated Arizona State, 57-55, in its final home game last Saturday to break a four-game losing streak and move to 6-10 in the Pac-10 - one game ahead of both Cal and Oregon. The Cougars pace the league in points allowed (56.9 ppg) for the second straight year - the lowest figure in the conference since Oregon State surrendered 55.8 ppg in 1983-84.

Cal-WSU Series History
Cal sports a 64-42 series lead and has won five of the past six games in Berkeley. Earlier this year, the Bears held the Cougars without a field goal for the first 10:38 of the second half en route to a 59-47 victory Jan. 2 in Spokane.

WSU Head Coach Dick Bennett
Dick Bennett is 24-30 in his second season at Washington State, and he owns a career mark of 478-287 that includes stops at Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Wisconsin. In 2000, he guided the Badgers to the Final Four.

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Golden Bear Notes

Oregon State Posts 82-63 Win over Cal
Nick DeWitz sank 7-of-9 three-pointers and scored 28 points to lead Oregon State to a victory over Cal last Saturday in Corvallis, breaking a 14-game losing streak to the Bears. Cal held a 17-16 lead midway through the first half, but OSU went on a 15-2 run to take control, and the Beavers' advantage reached 30 points at 79-49 with just over four minutes left. Rod Benson paced the Bears with 18 points, while Richard Midgley scored all 11 of his points in the first half.

No Senior Day for Bears
This might be the last weekend of the season for the Bears, but without a senior on the roster, Cal will not be honoring any players before its finale vs. Washington State Saturday. The last time the Bears did not have a true senior on the squad was during the 1995-96 campaign. Although fifth-year F Alfred Grigsby was recognized prior to the Bears' final home contest vs. Stanford, the NCAA later granted him a sixth-year of eligibility and he returned to start for Cal the following season.

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 11-3 when holding opponents to less than 70 points and 1-11 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 - including WSU, which sank 29.8 percent (14-47) of its tries against the Bears Jan. 2. Cal enters this week third in the Pac-10 in both points allowed (69.3 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (43.0%).

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, junior C David Paris has certainly enjoyed his role as a starter - a position he has held since Jan. 8 vs. Arizona State. In the 12 games he has opened on the court (he sat out the Feb. 3 Arizona contest for failing to meet a team responsibility), Paris has averaged 9.8 ppg and shot 64.6 percent from the floor, well above the 5.7 ppg average he had as a reserve. Overall, Paris is shooting 56.4 percent from the field - fourth in the Pac-10 - and his 62.2 percent accuracy in league games leads the conference by a wide margin. Paris' best effort came at UCLA Jan. 22 when 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. His 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).

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   12  51-79   64.6   46   3.8   118   9.8

Pac-10 Field Goal Percentage Leaders (league games only)1. David Paris (Cal) 56-90 62.2%2. Channing Frye (Arizona) 114-198 57.6%3. Jamaal Williams (Washington) 59-104 56.7%4. Jeff Varem (Washington State) 78-140 55.7%

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 54.5 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 19 times in his last 23 games. In Pac-10 action, Benson has raised his average to 14.5 ppg, while his league rebounding rate is 7.6 rpg. 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         26   709*  27.3  140-257  54.5  162*  6.2*  351*  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: 2.30:1), Smith is averaging 4.15 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 team leader for starts in Pac-10 games (14), 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 Oregon Thursday, junior G Richard Midgley drained the 133rd of his career, putting him just two behind Bill Elleby for sixth place on Cal's all-time list. This season, Midgley has made a career-best 49 treys (36.0%), and he needs just one more to become 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- )   1338. K.J. Roberts (1992-95)     109

Golden Bear Notes ...
Sophomore F/G Marquise Kately dished out a career-high five assists at Oregon ... 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 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.