Bears Host San Diego State Tuesday
Dec. 5, 2005
San Diego State Aztecs (4-2) at California Golden Bears (5-1)
Tuesday, Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYCY (1550 AM)
California vs. Kansas Jayhawks (3-3, vs. Saint Joseph's 12/6)
Saturday, Dec. 10, 11 a.m. CT/9 a.m. PT, Kemper Arena, Kansas City, MO
Radio: KYCY (1550 AM)
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California plays its last two games before an 11-day break from competition for final exams when the Golden Bears host San Diego State Tuesday then travel to Kansas City, Mo., for a match-up with Kansas in Kemper Arena.
Cal enters the week riding a five-game winnings streak - the team's longest since an eight-game run midway through the 2002-03 season. Dating back to last year, the Bears have also captured six in a row inside Haas Pavilion for their best home string since they won 17 straight from Feb. 2, 2002 through Feb. 15, 2003.
Sophomore F Leon Powe made a triumphant return to the court for Cal last week, helping the Bears to victories over San Jose State (70-52) and Akron (89-75). In his first action since March 11, 2004, he averaged 26.5 points and 10.0 rebounds, tying his career high with 27 points vs. SJSU and adding 26 more against Akron.
Alongside Powe on the front line is sophomore C DeVon Hardin, who is contributing 14.5 ppg, 8.2 rpg and 61.2 percent field-goal shooting. Named MVP of the Golden Bear Classic and the Nov. 30 Pac-10 Player of the Week, Hardin scored 18 points vs. Akron and had a personal-high 23 points vs. Northeastern.
On the perimeter, senior G Richard Midgley has drained 9-of-18 three-point attempts over his last three games. With 147 career three-pointers, he ranks fourth on Cal's all-time list. Midgley also needs just 14 more points to become the 34th player in school history to reach 1,000.
With a three-guard starting lineup that includes junior Ayinde Ubaka and sophomore Omar Wilkes, the Bears have committed just 75 turnovers in six games (or 12.5 per contest) and own a +5.83 turnover margin. In fact, Cal has had fewer turnovers than its opponent in every game this year.
In addition, the Bears hold a significant advantage at the free throw line, where they have outscored opponents, 110-44. After a 28-for-33 effort vs. Akron, Cal is making 71.4 percent of its free throw attempts - a far higher rate than in either of the past two seasons (62.8% in 2003-04; 62.7% in 2004-05).
Cal Coach Ben Braun
Ben Braun (Wisconsin '75), the second-winningest coach in Cal history, is in his 10th year in Berkeley and 29th season as a collegiate head coach. His record at Cal stands at 171-111, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 504-346. The 1997 Pac-10 Coach of the Year and one of 25 finalists for the 2003 Naismith National Coach of the Year award, Braun has led the Bears to the postseason six times in his first nine years. After taking Cal to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1997, he guided the Bears to the NIT championship in 1999 and to the NIT quarterfinals in 2000. He also directed Cal to consecutive NCAA Tournaments in 2001, '02 and '03. At EMU from 1985-96, the three-time MAC Coach of the Year guided the Eagles to three NCAA Tournaments and one NIT appearance with an overall record of 185-132. He was also 148-103 from 1977-85 at Siena Heights. A native of Chicago, Braun earned a teaching degree in English with a minor in African-American studies at Wisconsin in 1975. He received his master's degree in guidance and counseling from Siena Heights.
San Diego State Scouting Report
A Look at San Diego State
Off to a 4-2 start, San Diego State is the favorite to win the Mountain West Conference this season, according to a vote of media who cover the MWC. Marcus Slaughter was chosen the top returning player in the league, while Brandon Heath was also selected to the preseason all-conference squad. The Aztecs enter the Cal game after defeating Point Loma Nazarene, 88-77, Saturday behind Slaughter's 25 points and 14 rebounds.
Cal-San Diego State Series History
The Cal-San Diego State series is tied at 2-2, but the teams have met only once since 1941-42 when the Bears took a 60-57 decision in the San Diego SLAM last Dec. 11. DeVon Hardin, who scored 11 points and added five rebounds, was named game MVP. The Aztecs' only previous visit to Berkeley resulted in a 29-28 SDSU victory on Jan. 4, 1941.
San Diego State Head Coach Steve Fisher
Steve Fisher is 85-99 in his seventh season at San Diego State, and he owns a 269-181 career mark, which includes just over eight years at Michigan. Fisher guided San Diego State to the NCAA Tournament in 2002 and the National Invitation Tournament in 2003, while he took Michigan to three Final Fours, winning the title in 1989.
For more information: www.goaztecs.com
Kansas Scouting Report
A Look at Kansas
Kansas, which plays Saint Joseph's in the Jimmy V Classic Tuesday in New York, is off to a 3-3 start after defeating Western Illinois, 86-57, Saturday in Lawrence, Kan. The Jayhawks have only one starter back from last year's squad that finished 23-7 overall and tied for first in the Big 12 Conference. As a result, KU starts three sophomores and one freshman.
Cal-Kansas Series History
Kansas owns a 13-3 series lead over Cal and has won all seven games since the Bears prevailed, 65-62, Dec. 29, 1954 at the Big Seven Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. The most recent match-up occurred Dec. 28, 2002 at the Pete Newell Challenge in Oakland, Calif., when KU won, 80-67.
Kansas Head Coach Bill Self
Bill Self is in his third season at Kansas and owns a 50-19 record with the Jayhawks. In his 13th year as a head coach, he has a career mark of 257-124, which includes stints at Illinois, Tulsa and Oral Roberts. A four-time finalist for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award, he has led three different teams to the NCAA Elite Eight over the past six seasons.
For more information: www.kuathletics.com
Golden Bear Notes
Cal Runs Winning Streak to Five Games with 89-75 Win over Akron
Sophomore F Leon Powe and sophomore C DeVon Hardin combined for 44 points and 17 rebounds to lead Cal to an 89-75 victory over Akron last Saturday in Haas Pavilion. Powe, in just his second game this year, scored 26 points (7-11 FG, 12-16 FT) - one shy of his career high - and snared 10 rebounds, while Hardin added 18 points (5-6 FG, 8-9 FT) and seven boards. The 89 points represents a season best and is the most for the Bears since they beat Oregon State, 91-66, last Jan. 29 in Berkeley. Cal shot 55.1 percent from the floor and drained 28-of-33 at the line (84.8%). Senior G Richard Midgley and junior G Ayinde Ubaka added 15 points apiece for the Bears, who had at least four players score in double figures for the fifth time in six games.
Powe-tent Force Back for Bears
Leon Powe, on the sidelines for 629 days due to both knee surgery and a stress fracture in his right foot, has returned to action seemingly without missing a beat. In his debut vs. San Jose State Nov. 30, he tied a career high with 27 points (11-18 FG, 5-9 FT) and snared a game-best 10 rebounds. Powe also scored 27 points vs. UC Irvine on Dec. 3, 2003. Then against Akron Saturday, he chipped in 26 points and 10 more rebounds. Powe now has 16 career doubles and has led Cal in rebounding in 27 of the 29 games he has played. Powe first underwent a pair of surgeries on his left knee in 2004 that kept him out all of the '04-05 campaign. Cleared to play last May, he earned MVP honors at the San Francisco Pro-Am and averaged 23.6 ppg and 10.4 rpg during Cal's trip to Italy over the summer. But just before the Bears' exhibition game vs. Humboldt State Nov. 14, Powe was diagnosed with a minor stress fracture in his right mid-foot, putting a hold on his return until the San Jose State contest.
DeVon Hardin Sets Career High in Three Straight Games
Sophomore C DeVon Hardin didn't realize what he was starting when he totaled 14 points in Cal's 88-69 win over Long Beach State Nov. 21. With that career-high effort, he began a run of three consecutive games setting personal bests in the points column. Hardin followed his Long Beach State outing with 21 points vs. Northern Colorado Nov. 25, then added 23 points against Northeastern Nov. 26. Named MVP of the Golden Bear Classic for his 44-point performance in the tournament, he also had a string of three straight double-doubles, including a career-high 14 boards vs. Northeastern. Last year, Hardin scored at least 10 points only two times and had just one double-double. This season, he is averaging 14.5 ppg and 8.2 rpg and shooting 61.2 percent from the floor (30-49). Of his 49 rebounds, more than half - 25 - have come on the offensive end.
Bears Boast Longest Win Streak since 2003
Now in the midst of a modest five-game winning streak, Cal's run is the best for the team since an eight-game spurt from Dec. 30, 2002 to Jan. 25, 2003. That season - the last year the Bears reached the NCAA Tournament - Cal defeated San Francisco, then won its first seven Pac-10 games. The Bears went on to finish 22-9 overall and 13-5 in the Pac-10 (third place), reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Ayinde Ubaka a Confident Leader at the Point
Junior G Ayinde Ubaka entered this season with a career scoring high of 13 points. But through the year's first six games, he has already topped that total four times, including a personal-best performance vs. Northeastern Nov. 26 when he finished with 21 points to earn Golden Bear Classic all-tournament honors. Ubaka opened the campaign with 17 points at Eastern Michigan, scoring 15 points in the second half and nearly leading the Bears back from a 10-point second-half deficit. He also had 15 points vs. Akron last weekend. In addition, Ubaka paces Cal with 27 assists and is shooting 38.2 percent (13-34) from three-point range - up from 29.7 percent last year.
Bears Find Free Throw Line Twice as Nice
Through the season's first six games, Cal has earned more than twice as many trips to the free throw line as its opponents, 154-66. As a result, the Bears have outscored their foes, 110-44, at the charity stripe, or by 11.0 ppg. Over Cal's last three games, the difference has been even more pronounced - Cal 60-of-80; opponents 9-of-18. DeVon Hardin leads the Bears with 41 attempts, and although he is shooting just 65.9 percent, that rate is significantly higher than last season's 38.6 percent pace. He was 8-for-9 vs. Akron last Saturday. Leon Powe, meanwhile, has taken 25 free throws shots in just two games. In addition, five players are sinking better than 77 percent of their free throw tries.
Richard Midgley Moving Up Career Lists
Senior G Richard Midgley entered his final season at Cal poised to move up on several of Cal all-time lists. With 986 points, he needs just 14 more points to become the 34th player in school history to reach 1,000. In addition, Midgley is fourth in school history with 147 three-pointers, up from seventh at the start of the year. Finally, he stands eighth all-time with a 38.1 three-point shooting percentage (147-386) after setting a Cal freshman record in 2002-03 when he drained 44.9 percent of his long-range attempts.
Cal Career Three-Pointers Made1. Ryan Drew 1988-91 2142. Joe Shipp 2000-03 1573. Randy Duck 1994-97 1534. Richard Midgley 2003- 147
Cal Scoring Up Significantly from Last Season
With consecutive outputs of 88 points vs. Long Beach State and 83 points against Northern Colorado and Northeastern, Cal topped the 80-point mark in three consecutive games for the first time since a three-game run against Oregon State, Arizona and Arizona State Jan. 31-Feb. 7, 2004. The Bears then tallied a season-high 89 points vs. Akron last Saturday. Cal's overall scoring average of 79.7 ppg is more than 12 points higher than last year's 67.4 ppg rate. No Bear team has averaged more than 75 ppg since 1996-97 (75.1 ppg) and only one team in school history has averaged more than 80 ppg (83.9 ppg, 1970-71).
Braun Reaches 500th Career Win vs. Long Beach State
Head coach Ben Braun entered this season with 499 wins, and he picked up this 500th career victory with an 88-69 decision over Long Beach State Nov. 21 in Haas Pavilion. Prior to moving to Berkeley in September 1996, Braun served as head coach at EMU for 11 seasons and compiled a 185-132 record that included three Mid-American Conference championships, three MAC Coach of the Year awards and three NCAA Tournament berths. Braun began his career at Siena Heights University, an NAIA school in Adrian, Mich., and was 148-103 in eight years from 1978-85. At Cal, he is the second-winningest coach in school history with a 171-111 record (Nibs Price was 449-294 from 1925-54) and has led the Bears to four NCAA Tournaments, a pair of National Invitation Tournaments (including the NIT title in 1999) and five 20-win seasons. Braun ranks 15th among active coaches with his 504 wins.
Ben Braun Coaching SummaryCalifornia 171-111 1997-currentEastern Michigan 185-132 1986-96Siena Heights 148-103 1978-85Totals 504-366
Pribble Comes to the Rescue
With guards Richard Midgley and Martin Smith sidelined by injury and Ayinde Ubaka in early foul trouble vs. Long Beach State Nov. 21, Alex Pribble entered the lineup at point guard with 5:56 remaining in the first half and Cal clinging to a 30-29 lead. But over the next four-and-a-half minutes, the Bears went on a 16-2 run to take control. Pribble, in his most extensive action at Cal, set career highs in minutes (23), rebounds (7) and assists (5), tying for team honors in the latter category. A third-year walk-on, Pribble was awarded a scholarship during the offseason.
Braun Goes 3-1 vs. Ex-Assistants This Season
When Cal finished off Akron, 89-75, last Saturday, head coach Ben Braun won for the third time in four tries against teams coached by his former assistants this year. The first battle occurred in the season opener Nov. 18 in Ypsilanti, Mich., when Cal played Eastern Michigan against first-year head coach Charles Ramsey, who served as assistant to Braun at Cal from 1996-97 through 2000-01. Ramsey was also on Braun's staff from 1990-93 when Braun oversaw the EMU program. In the first round of the Golden Bear Classic, Cal met Northern Colorado, which is led by Craig Rasmuson, an assistant for Braun at Eastern Michigan during the 1990-91 season. And last week, the Bears hosted San Jose State, featuring first-year head man George Nessman, before facing Akron, which boasts Keith Dambrot as head coach. A 1981 Cal graduate, Nessman spent last year as an assistant on Braun's staff before accepting the position with the Spartans in the spring. Dambrot, in his second season with the Zips, was an assistant coach on Braun's Eastern Michigan teams from 1986-89. After suffering a 67-65 setback at Eastern Michigan, Cal beat Northern Colorado (83-59), San Jose State (70-52) and Akron (89-75).
Stressful Start to the Season for Bears
California entered the 2005-06 season with three key contributors on the sidelines - all due to stress fractures. Senior C Rod Benson, who paced the Bears in both scoring (13.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg) last year, missed the Eastern Michigan opener with a stress fracture in his heel, then re-aggravated it vs. Northern Colorado and has not played since. Senior G Martin Smith was kept out of Cal's first two games with a stress fracture in his pelvis. Finally, sophomore F Leon Powe missed the Bears first four games due to a minor stress fracture in his right foot discovered the week of the opener.
Injury Woes Have Kept 6 Players Out at Least Once This Year
The 2005-06 is less than a month old, and already six players have missed a total of 18 games for the Bears. Although Cal lists 13 players on the roster, the Bears have dressed just 10 five times and 11 once in five games. Below is a list of the players, their injuries and their games missed:
Name Injury Games MissedRod Benson stress fracture, heel Eastern Michigan, Northeastern, San Jose State, AkronRichard Midgley stinger, right shoulder Long Beach StateSteve Panawek bulging disk, back Northern Colorado, Northeastern, San Jose State, AkronLeon Powe stress fracture, right foot Eastern Michigan, Long Beach State, Northern Colorado, NortheasternMartin Smith stress fracture, pelvis Eastern Michigan, Long Beach StateJordan Wilkes sprained right ankle San Jose State, Akron
Last Chance for Bears at Home in 2005 vs. San Diego State
Once the final horn sounds on Tuesday's Cal-San Diego State game, the Bears won't return to Haas Pavilion until they host Oregon on Jan. 5, 2006 - a 30-day break between home games. Cal is 33-5 at home under head coach Ben Braun in the month of December.
Oh Brother! Another Pair of Siblings Plays for Bears
For the third time in Ben Braun's tenure as head coach, a pair of brothers will suit up in Cal uniforms together. This season, the tandem is sophomore guard Omar Wilkes and freshman center Jordan Wilkes. The first set of siblings to play on the same team was the Hughes brothers - centers Solomon and Gabriel. Solomon played for the Bears from 1999-02, while Gabriel was a part of teams from 2001-04. Lastly, Ryan and Tashaan Forehan-Kelly teamed up during the 2002 season. Ryan, a 6-5 wing, lettered for four years from 1999-02, and Tashaan walked on for the 2002 and '03 campaigns.
Like Father, Like Son with Smith, Wilkes Brothers
In 1975, the Golden State Warriors captured the NBA title with a couple of rookies playing key roles during their championship run - guard Phil Smith (7.7 ppg) and forward Jamaal Wilkes (14.2 ppg). Thirty years later, the sons of Smith and Wilkes are members of the California basketball team. Senior guard Martin Smith is a fourth-year walk-on who was rewarded with a scholarship for the 2005-06 campaign. Last year, he started 16 Pac-10 games and ranked fifth in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.95:1). Omar and Jordan Wilkes join the squad as active members of the Bears this year. Omar, a 6-4 guard, sat out last season after transferring from Kansas and in his first action in a Cal uniform, poured in 17.8 ppg during Cal's trip to Italy over the summer. Jordan is a 6-11 center who averaged 20 ppg and 10 rpg en route to league MVP honors last year at Loyola HS in Los Angeles.
Rod Benson Finds Success on Two Courts
Last season, F/C Rod Benson may have been the most improved player in the Pac-10. After averaging 2.6 ppg and 1.7 rpg as a sophomore in 2003-04, Benson raised his rates to a team-best 13.3 ppg and 6.3 rpg last year. He ranked ninth in the Pac-10 in rebounding and seventh in the league in field goal shooting (54.3%). But the 6-10 post hasn't limited his exploits to the basketball court as a college student. For the last two springs, Benson has competed as a member of Cal's men's club volleyball team, even helping the Bears to a national No. 1 club ranking in 2005. As a prep at Torrey Pines HS outside San Diego, Benson earned first-team all-league honors and receive recruiting interest in both sports.
Cal on TV 19 Times in 22 Games
Cal fans will get plenty of opportunities to watch the Bears the rest of the season as Cal will appear on television 19 times during a 22-game stretch that began vs. San Jose State Nov. 30. Every road contest will be shown during the span. Five games will air on Comcast SportsNet, with other contests televised by Fox Sports Net, ABC, ESPN and CSTV. Comcast SportsNet broadcasts in Northern California are on Channel 400 for Bay Area digital cable subscribers, on DirecTV channel 656 and on Dish Network channel 409.