Cal Faces Arizona in Pac-10 Tournament Opener

March 7, 2005

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California Golden Bears (13-15, 6-12) vs. Arizona Wildcats (25-5, 15-3)
Thursday, March 10, 12:20 p.m., Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)

A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California opens up the 2005 Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament when the eighth-seeded Golden Bears meet the league's regular-season champion, Arizona, at 12:20 p.m. Thursday afternoon at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Cal earned its spot in the field last Saturday when the Bears knocked off Washington State, 63-57, in overtime and UCLA defeated Oregon, 73-61, which gave Cal the tiebreaker advantage over the Ducks.

On Thursday, the Bears will face Arizona for the third time in Pac-10 Tournament action. On both previous occasions, the Wildcats prevailed - 88-64 in 1988 and 90-78 in 2002. UA also won the two earlier contests this year - 87-67 in Berkeley and 97-76 in Tucson.

In defeating Washington State last week, Cal snapped a six-game losing streak that lasted exactly one month, dating back to an 84-82 victory at Arizona State Feb. 5.

Against WSU, the Bears were buoyed by a 17-point night from sophomore F/G Marquise Kately. Not only did Kately sink 8-of-10 shots from the floor, but he also made the go-ahead bucket on a reverse layup with 1:26 left in overtime.

Overall, junior C Rod Benson continues to lead Cal in both scoring (13.7 ppg) and rebounding (6.4 rpg). He will likely become the fifth Bear since 1992 to hold that distinction for a full year, joining Leon Powe (2004), Sean Lampley (2000-01), Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1996) and Lamond Murray (1994) during that 13-year stretch.

On the perimeter, junior G Richard Midgley has drained a career-best 50 three-pointers this season, which ties Amit Tamir (2004) for 10th on Cal's single-season list. With 134 career treys, Midgley will match Bill Elleby for sixth place all-time at the school with his next three-pointer.

In addition, Ben Braun enters the Pac-10 Tournament with a 499-344 record in his 28th year as a head coach, needing one more win for the 500th of his career. Braun, in his ninth season at Cal, already ranks No. 2 on the school's victory list with a 166-109 mark.

Arizona Scouting Report

A Look at Arizona
Arizona captured its 11th Pac-10 title with a 70-68 victory at Arizona State last Saturday when Salim Stoudamire connected on a 14-foot jumper with 0.6 seconds left. One of 23 finalists for the John Wooden Award, Stoudamire is shooting 53.0 percent from three-point range (96-181), ranks second in the conference in scoring (18.2 ppg) and leads the league in free throw accuracy (89.5%, 94-105). The Wildcats have won four previous Pac-10 Tournaments - 1988, 1989, 1990 and 2002.

Cal-Arizona Series History
Arizona owns a 45-24 series lead and has won 12 of the last 13 meetings between the schools. UA is also 2-0 vs. Cal in the Pac-10 Tournament, beating the Bears, 88-64, in the 1988 quarterfinals and, 90-78, in the 2002 semifinals. Earlier this year, the Wildcats prevailed, 87-67, in Berkeley and, 97-76, in Tucson. Cal's last victory was an 87-83 decision Feb. 5, 2004 in Haas Pavilion.

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Golden Bear Notes

Kately Leads Cal to 63-57 Overtime Win over Washington State
Marquise Kately came off the bench to score 17 points - his highest total in a Pac-10 game this year - as Cal snapped a six-game losing streak with an overtime win over Washington State last Saturday in Haas Pavilion. The Bears trailed by as many as nine points in the second half (30-21, 16:50), but forged a 50-47 lead late in the contest. WSU's Thomas Kelati, though, sent the game into OT with a three-pointer with seven seconds left, tying the score at 50-50. In the extra period, Cal scored the final nine points to clinch the victory, with Kately adding the go-ahead bucket on a reverse layup with 1:26 left. After shooting just 36.0 percent from the floor and scoring only 19 points in the first half (season low), the Bears made 13-of-22 field goal attempts (59.1%) after intermission.

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 12-3 when holding opponents to less than 70 points and 1-12 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, eight 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. Overall, Cal ranks third in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage defense (43.0%) and fourth in scoring defense (70.2 ppg).

Cal's Pac-10 Tournament History
In seven previous Pac-10 Tournaments, Cal has advanced to the semifinals three times - 1987, 2002 and 2003 - and lost in the quarterfinals on four occasions - 1988, 1989, 1990 and 2004. Last year, as the No. 4 seed, the Bears dropped an 87-82 decision to fifth-seeded Oregon. Cal held a 76-75 lead with three minutes left, but the Ducks scored seven straight points to take control. Senior Amit Tamir finished with a season-best 26 points.

Cal and Arizona have met twice previously in the Pac-10 playoffs. In the 1988 tournament at the McKale Center in Tucson, UA won its quarterfinal match, 88-64, despite 26 points from Cal G Keith Smith. Then in the 2002 semis, the Bears shot 50.8 percent from the floor, outrebounded UA, 38-23, and got 25 points from Joe Shipp and another 22 from Brian Wethers, but the Wildcats triumphed, 90-78.

2005 Pacific Life Pac-10 Tournament Schedule
The 2005 Pac-10 Tournament will be held Thursday through Saturday, March 10-12, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Below is the complete schedule of games:

                                                                            Time     TVThursday, March 10Game 1: #1 Arizona (25-5, 15-3) vs. #8 California (13-15, 6-12)        12:20 p.m.   FSNGame 2 #4 UCLA (18-9, 11-7) vs. #5 Oregon State (16-13, 8-10)           2:50 p.m.   FSNGame 3: #2 Washington (24-5, 14-4) vs. #7 Arizona State (18-12, 7-11)   6:15 p.m.   FSNGame 4: #3 Stanford (17-11, 11-7) vs. #6 Washington State (12-15, 7-11) 8:45 p.m.   FSN

Friday, March 11Game 5: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 6:15 p.m. FSNGame 6: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 8:45 p.m. FSN

Saturday, March 12Game 7: Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6 3:10 p.m. CBS

In Rod We Trust: Benson Blossoms on the Block
With Leon Powe out for the season with a knee injury and Amit Tamir having finished his eligibility and signed with a professional team in Greece, Cal entered the season without a proven frontcourt player on the roster. In fact, of the Bears' available post players, none had ever started a collegiate game prior to this year. Into that void stepped 6-10 junior Rod Benson. A little-used reserve who averaged a mere 1.8 ppg in 37 previous games, Benson has emerged as one of the most improved players in the Pac-10 - if not the country. Entering the Pac-10 Tournament, he paces the squad in scoring (13.7 ppg), rebounding (6.4 rpg) and minutes (766). Owner of a team-best six double-doubles, Benson is also shooting 54.3 percent from the floor, which ranks fifth in the Pac-10. In league games, his statistics are even higher: 14.7 ppg and 7.7 rpg. Benson scored a career-high 25 points vs. Colorado Dec. 7 and he corralled a personal-best 14 rebounds at UCLA Jan. 22.

                 G  GS   Min    Avg     FG-A    Pct   Reb   Avg   Pts    Avg1st 2 seasons   37   0   233    6.3    28-62   45.2    49   1.3    68    1.82004-05         28  25*  766*  27.4  150-276   54.3   179*  6.4*  383*  13.7**leads team

Don't Forget Paris: Junior Excelling as a Starter
Like Rod Benson, junior David Paris had not started a game prior to this year and entered the season with a career scoring rate of under 2.0 ppg (1.6 ppg). But the 6-8 forward served notice of his ability in the 2004-05 season-opener when he scorched UC Riverside for 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists - all career highs up to that point. Paris remained a reserve for the first half of the year and didn't earn his initial start until Jan. 8 vs. Arizona State. A fixture in the opening lineup ever since, Paris' best effort came at UCLA Jan. 22 when he soared to a career-high 20 points vs. the Bruins, 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). In league games only, Paris led the Pac-10 in field goal shooting (62.1%), while his overall 28-game rate of 56.5 percent paces the Bears (he doesn't have enough makes per game to qualify for the Pac-10 standings).

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   14   54-85   64.3    47   3.4   126   9.0

Pac-10 Field Goal Percentage Leaders (league games only)1. David Paris (Cal) 59-95 62.1%2. Jeff McMillan (USC) 73-130 56.2%3. Jamaal Williams (Washington) 65-116 56.0%4. Channing Frye (Arizona) 117-209 56.0%

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.

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. With 16 starts, he has started more league games than any Cal player this year, sitting out the opening tap vs. UCLA and USC only, while his 29.1 minutes per game leads the squad for conference contests. Currently fifth in the Pac-10 with a 2.00:1 assist-to-turnover ratio, Smith set his career best with eight assists vs. Hampton Dec. 22 and matched the total with another eight handoffs at Arizona Feb. 3. Overall, his 4.00 apg average is the highest for any Bear since Shantay Legans in 2001 (4.8 apg).

Kately Has Breakout Game vs. Washington State
Sophomore G/F Marquise Kately put together his best Pac-10 game of the year in the regular-season finale vs. Washington State last Saturday when he finished with 17 points (8-10 FG, 1-4 FT) - his highest total since tying his career best with 24 points vs. Saint Mary's Nov. 12. Kately's dunk with 55 seconds left in regulation gave the Bears a 50-47 edge. Although WSU sent the game into overtime tied at 50-all, his reverse layup with 1:26 to go gave Cal the lead for good at 58-57. Despite an up-and-down year that has seen him go without a field goal in four different games, Kately has 14 double-digit scoring efforts (3rd on the squad) and ranks third in scoring with 9.3 ppg.

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 has kept him off the court all year.

Downtown is Midgley's Favorite Neighborhood
With another three-pointer vs. Washington last Thursday, junior G Richard Midgley drained his 50th of the season (a career high) to tie Amit Tamir (2004) for 10th on Cal's single-season list. In addition, Midgley is the owner of 134 career treys, putting him one behind Bill Elleby for sixth on the Bears' all-time chart. Midgley 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- )   1348. K.J. Roberts (1992-95)     109

Cal Single-Season Three-Pointers7. Monty Buckley (1995) 538. Jason Kidd (1994) 51 Geno Carlisle (1998) 5110. Richard Midgley (2005) 50 Amit Tamir (2004) 50

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