Bears Improve to 4-0 in Italy

Aug. 20, 2005

CHIESA VAL MALLENCO, Italy - Leon Powe scored 37 points and grabbed eight rebounds as California improved to 4-0 on its 12-day trip to Italy with a 102-95 victory over the Belgian squad Liege Saturday night.

Junior guard Ayinde Ubaka added 28 points and eights assists for the Bears, while sophomore guard Omar Wilkes had another fine effort, tossing in18 points.

With senior guard Richard Midgley sitting out the contest with a bruised hand, head coach Ben Braun started a big lineup, with 6-10 DeVon Hardin, 6-10 Rod Benson and 6-8 Powe all on the court at the opening tip.

Wilkes scored Cal's first five points, as the Bears took a slim 30-28 lead at the end of the first period. By halftime, Cal owned a 53-42 advantage.

The third period saw the Bears increase their lead to 28 points at one point. Liege then put on a strong charge behind a predominantly Belgian crowd, but Cal held on for the seven-point victory.

At the conclusion of the game, the Liege fans surrounded the Cal bench and players. For the next 40 minutes, the Bears signed autographs, took pictures and shared some of their Cal gear.

Liege, a veteran group of players based in Belgium, included several former U.S. collegians, including Oakland native and ex-San Jose State player Marquin Chandler, a member of the second team All-WAC squad last season.

As much as the Bears enjoyed the win, the trip to the gym in the Italian Alps will be something the team will long remember. From their hotel in Como, the Bears took a two-hour, 15-minutes drive along the Lombardy highway that offered picturesque views from their bus. Their destination - Chiesa Val Mallenco - was located at altitude just above 6,000 feet.

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