Cal Visits Stanford Friday Night
Jan. 10, 2006
California Golden Bears (9-4, 3-1) at Stanford Cardinal (6-6, 2-2)
Friday, Jan. 13, 7 p.m., Maples Pavilion, Stanford, CA
Radio: KYCY (1550 AM)
TV: FSN Bay Area
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California embarks on a three-game road trip when the Golden Bears travel across the Bay to renew their rivalry at Stanford Friday at 7 p.m. The game will be televised locally on Fox Sports Net Bay Area.
After playing at Arizona State and Arizona next week, Cal will meet seven of its remaining 11 opponents inside Haas Pavilion to complete the regular season.
The Bears enter the week tied for first place in the Pac-10 with a 3-1 league mark despite last Saturday's 72-64 setback to Oregon State. Cal opened conference action with a sweep of USC and UCLA in Los Angeles Dec. 29-31, and if the Bears can knock off Stanford, they will have won their first three league road games for the first time since coach Pete Newell roamed the sidelines in 1957.
The Cal-Stanford match-up features a pair of squads who are efficient taking care of the basketball. Cal leads the Pac-10 in fewest turnovers per game (12.8), with Stanford right behind at 12.9. The Bears had a season-low nine TOs vs. both Oregon and Oregon State last weekend.
Now fully recovered from knee and foot ailments that kept him out of uniform for more than 18 months, sophomore F Leon Powe leads Cal onto the court. He is averaging 19.4 ppg and 9.9 rpg, and has produced five double-doubles this year. Powe grabbed a season-best 14 rebounds in the Pac-10 opener at USC and matched his career scoring high with 27 points against Oregon. He is trying to become the first Cal player to average a double-double since Brian Hendrick in 1992 (16.1 ppg, 10.7 rpg).
Powe's frontcourt partner, sophomore C DeVon Hardin, leads Pac-10 in both field goal percentage (60.3%) and offensive rebounds (3.08 rpg). He has paced the Bears on the glass five times, including last Saturday when he grabbed nine boards vs. Oregon State.
On the perimeter, junior G Ayinde Ubaka has been particularly clutch in the late-going, averaging 8.3 ppg and shooting 17-for-18 from the free throw line in the final five minutes of Cal's four Pac-10 games. Against UCLA, for example, he scored 10 points and was 6-for-6 on free throws in the last five minutes of the Bears' 68-61 victory.
In addition, senior G Richard Midgley has moved up to 28th on Cal's career scoring chart with 1,053 points, and he will jump to 25th with 16 more vs. Stanford. Midgley also ranks second all-time at the school with 162 three-pointers, including 28 so far this season.
Cal Head 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 175-114, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 508-349. 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.
Stanford Scouting Report
A Look at Stanford
After a 2-4 start to the season, Stanford has won four of its past six games, including a sweep of Oregon State (80-66) and Oregon (64-62) last weekend. The Cardinal is 5-1 at home this year, losing only its opener to UC Irvine. Matt Haryasz averages a team-high 16.3 ppg and leads the Pac-10 in rebounding with 9.0 rpg. Seniors Dan Grunfeld and Chris Hernandez both earned all-conference honors last year.
Cal-Stanford Series History
Cal holds a 137-108 series lead over Stanford, but the Cardinal has won 15 of the past 17 games, including the past five. Last year, Stanford took a 74-58 decision in Berkeley and prevailed by a 71-56 margin at home. The series is the oldest in Cal history, dating back to the 1911-12 season.
Stanford Head Coach Trent Johnson
Trent Johnson has a 24-19 record in his second season at Stanford and a 103-93 career mark that includes five years at Nevada. Johnson guided Nevada to the Sweet 16 of the 2004 NCAA Tournament and Stanford to the NCAA first round last year.
For more information: www.gostanford.com
Golden Bear Notes
Oregon State Snaps Cal's Eight-Game Home Streak, 72-64
Oregon State rushed out to an 8-0 lead in the game's opening minutes and went on to defeat Cal, 72-64, snapping the Bears' eight-game home winning streak. OSU shot 54.0 percent from the floor and sank 7-of-11 three-pointers, including a 3-for-3 effort by DeWitz. Cal did close the gap to 34-32 at the half on a trio of late three-pointers by Richard Midgley. But the Beavers used another 8-0 run to build a 51-40 advantage and were not seriously challenged the rest of the way. The Bears matched a season low by making only 35.7 percent of their shots from the floor. Midgley and Ayinde Ubaka both finished with 12 points, while Leon Powe paced Cal with 19 points, making 11-of-13 from the free throw line.
Bears Start Final Stretch of 7 of 9 Away from Home
Cal is in the midst of playing seven of nine games away from home, a stretch that concludes with next week's trip to Arizona State and Arizona. After hosting San Diego State Dec. 6, the Bears played Kansas in Kansas City, Mo., Dec. 10, DePaul at the Oakland Arena Dec. 21 and opened Pac-10 play at USC and UCLA Dec. 29-31. Cal finally returned to Haas Pavilion vs. Oregon and Oregon State last weekend before embarking on a three-game road swing that begins with Friday's visit to Stanford. With Washington the next opponent on the schedule slated to play in Berkeley, it means the Bears will go from Dec. 6 to Jan. 26 - a span of 51 days - with just two home dates. However, once the UW game finally arrives, it means seven of Cal's final 11 games will be on Pete Newell Court, including five of the last seven.
Cal Seeks Third Straight Pac-10 Road Win at Stanford
With a sweep of USC (62-58) and UCLA (68-61) in Los Angeles to open conference action, Cal will be aiming for its third consecutive Pac-10 road win when the Bears visit Stanford Friday. The last time Cal claimed three league road contests in a row came in 2001 when the Bears took four straight (at Washington State/Washington, at Oregon State/Oregon). Cal has not won its first three conference road games since 1957, when Pete Newell guided the Bears to victories in their first five league road contests.
Bears Hope to Break Long Streak at Maples Pavilion
Cal hopes to break a 12-game losing streak at Stanford's Maples Pavilion this week - a run that ranks as the Bears' longest at any Pac-10 venue. The Bears' last victory on The Farm came on Feb. 14, 1993, when Jason Kidd (13 assists, 5 steals) and Lamond Murray (22 points) guided Cal to an 86-61 decision.
Pac-10 Opponent VenuesSchool Last Cal Win / Loss Streak School Last Cal Win / Loss StreakArizona Feb. 12, 1995 (74-72) / 10 UCLA Dec. 31, 2005 (68-61) / 0Arizona State Feb. 5, 2005 (84-82) / 0 USC Dec. 29, 2005 (62-58) / 0Oregon Feb. 8, 2003 (86-75) / 2 Washington Jan. 16, 2003 (73-66) / 2Oregon State Jan. 31, 2004 (88-74) / 1 Washington State Jan. 2, 2005 (59-47) / 0Stanford Feb. 14, 1993 (86-61) / 12
Ayinde Ubaka is Cal's Iron Man at the Point
Despite spraining his left ankle in the closing minutes of Cal's Jan. 5 win over Oregon, junior PG Ayinde Ubaka returned to play all 40 minutes vs. Oregon State two days later. The long working assignment, however, is nothing new for Ubaka. He was also on the court for 40 minutes in the Bears' victory at UCLA and has played at least 35 minutes in every game this season except vs. Northern Colorado when he played 28 minutes. Ubaka enters this week's game at Stanford ranked second in the Pac-10 in minutes per game to Arizona State's Kevin Kruger (37.77 mpg to 36.38 mpg). In conference games only, Ubaka has played 153 of a possible 160 minutes for an average of 38.25 mpg.
Powe-tent Force Back for Bears
Leon Powe, on the sidelines for more than a year and a half due to both left knee surgery and a stress fracture in his right foot, has returned to action seemingly without missing a beat. Since his debut vs. San Jose State Nov. 30, he has averaged 19.4 ppg and 9.9 rpg. Powe has twice tied his career scoring high, with 27 points vs. both SJSU and Oregon, while he has produced five double-digit rebounding efforts in nine games. Powe was voted Pac-10 Player of the Week Dec. 5 when he combined for 53 points and 20 rebounds in victories over San Jose State and Akron. He also had 22 points and eight rebounds vs. San Diego State, 16 points, 11 rebounds and four steals vs. Kansas, and 20 points and 14 boards at USC. Even when he totaled just five points at UCLA (second lowest of his career), Powe contributed a game-high 12 rebounds. He now has 18 career double-doubles and has led Cal in rebounding in 32 of the 36 games he has played, including six of eight this year.
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.
Bears Find Three-Point Shooting to Their Liking This Season
After ranking last in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting the last two years, Cal is finding its range behind the arc this season. Entering Friday's game at Stanford, the Bears are sinking 39.5 percent (83-for-210) of their long-distance attempts - now third in the conference. Cal has shot at least 33 percent from three-point range in 11 of 13 games. Sophomore G Omar Wilkes is tied for the league lead at 53.8 percent (14-26), while senior G Richard Midgley is eighth at 43.8 percent (28-64). In addition, junior G Ayinde Ubaka has made 40.6 percent of his tries (28-69). The last Cal squad to shoot better than 38 percent from three-point distance was the 1989-90 team that made a school-record 38.7 percent of its attempts.
Cal Three-Point Shooting Last Three Seasons2005-06 83-21 39.5% 6.38 three-pointers per game2004-05 110-344 32.0% 3.79 three-pointers per game2003-04 127-410 31.0% 4.54 three-pointers per game
From Jan. 7 - March 2, 13 of 14 Cal Games on TV
Starting with last Saturday's game vs. Oregon State, Cal is in the midst of having 13 of 14 games shown on live television. The lone exception is the Bears' Jan. 26 home date against Washington. During the span, two games will be shown on Comcast SportsNet, one on ABC, nine on Fox Sports Net and one on FSN Bay Area.
Bears Hold Three Straight Opponents to 40 Percent or Less
Cal entered its Pac-10 opener last week ranked last in the conference in field goal percentage defense, having allowed opponents to make 45.3 percent of their shots during the non-conference portion of its schedule. But in producing a pair of victories to start league action, the Bears held USC and UCLA to a combined 37.0 percent shooting from the floor. USC sank 37.3 percent Dec. 29 - lowest for a Cal foe this year until UCLA shot just 36.7 percent two days later. The trend continued against Oregon Jan. 5 when the Ducks made 40.0 percent from the field. Even after allowing Oregon State to shoot 54.0 percent, Bear foes are making just 41.8 percent from the floor in Pac-10 games only.
Ubaka More than Doubles Career Scoring Average
Junior G Ayinde Ubaka, who entered the season with a career scoring average of 6.3 ppg, is pouring in 14.9 ppg this year. Now Cal's second-leading scorer (and No. 9 in the Pac-10), he has reached double figures 11 times in 13 games after doing so on just eight occasions over his first two years in the program combined and only twice last season. Ubaka set a career high with 17 points in the opener at Eastern Michigan, then topped the total with 21 points in the Golden Bear Classic final vs. Northeastern to earn all-tournament team honors. He then bettered that performance with 29 points against Oregon (8-10 FG, 3-3 3P, 10-12 FT) Jan. 5. Ubaka also played key roles in Cal's sweep of USC and UCLA last week, scoring seven of his nine points in the final 4:35 vs. the Trojans and tossing in 18 points in 40 minutes of action vs. the Bruins. In addition, Ubaka is shooting 40.6 percent from three-point range (28-69), up from just 29.7 percent last year, and leads the Bears with 48 assists.
Comparing Ayinde Ubaka's Last Three Seasons2003-04 34.1 FG% 25.9 3P% 2.1 rpg 3.9 apg 6.4 ppg2004-05 34.2 FG% 29.7 3P% 2.0 rpg 2.7 apg 6.1 ppg2005-06 44.3 FG% 40.6 3P% 3.1 rpg 3.7 apg 14.9 ppg
Richard Midgley Moving Up Career Lists
Senior G Richard Midgley is moving up a pair of Cal career lists this season - points and three-pointers. He enters Friday's Stanford game with 1,053 points, which puts him in 28th place place, and he needs 16 more to jump all the way to 25th. On the three-point chart, he ranks second all-time with 162 triples. Midgley scored a season-high 17 points vs. both San Jose State and San Diego State, and he has reached double figures in nine of the 12 games he has played (missed Long Beach State due to shoulder stinger). His three-point rate of 43.8 percent this season just off his career best of 44.9 percent set during his freshman year.
Cal Career Scoring Leaders24. Ed Gray 1996-97 1,08225. Kevin Singleton 1977-81 1,06826. Larry Friend 1955-57 1,06127. Amit Tamir 2002-04 1,05528. Richard Midgley 2003- 1,053
Bears Take Advantage of Free Throw Opportunities
Not only is Cal forcing its way to the free throw line more than its opponents, but the Bears are taking advantage once they reach the charity stripe. To date, Cal has attempted 305 free throws to its opponents' 178 and is outscoring them, 219-129, or by an average of 6.9 ppg. In addition, the Bears are shooting 71.8 percent from the line, far higher than their 62.7 percent success rate last year or 62.8 percent rate in 2003-04. The last time Cal shot as high as 70 percent for an entire season was in 1995-96 (70.1%). Individually, six players are making 75 percent or more of their tries, led by Martin Smith (8-9, 88.9%), Ayinde Ubaka (42-49, 85.7%) and Richard Midgley (22-26, 84.6%). Despite played four fewer games than his teammates, Leon Powe has taken a team-best 82 free throws and is converting 67.1 percent overall and 73.2 percent (30-41) in Pac-10 games.
DeVon Provides Defense in the Middle
One of the most improved players in the Pac-10, sophomore C DeVon Hardin has taken advantage of his opportunity to start for the Bears this season. When Leon Powe began the year on the sidelines (foot stress fracture), Hardin produced three double-doubles and was voted MVP of the Golden Bear Classic after totaling 23 points and 14 rebounds in the title game vs. Northeastern. He was also named Pac-10 Player of the Week for his Golden Bear Classic performance. Now, the 6-11, 235-pounder ranks among the Pac-10 leaders in four categories - shooting percentage (1st, 60.3%), rebounding (5th, 7.3 rpg), offensive rebounds (1st, 3.08 rpg) and blocks (4th, 1.62 bpg). On the scoring front, he is pouring in 10.4 ppg, having reached double figures six times.
Injury Woes Have Kept 6 Players Out at Least Once This Year
Through the first 13 contests of the 2005-06 season, six Cal players have missed a total of 23 games due to injury. The Bears dressed just 10 players five times and 11 once in their first six outings. The Bears have suited up everyone on the roster only one time - Dec. 21 vs. DePaul. 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 E. Michigan, Long Beach St., N. Colorado, NortheasternMartin Smith stress fracture, pelvis Eastern Michigan, Long Beach State abdominal strain USC, UCLA, Oregon, Oregon StateJordan Wilkes sprained right ankle San Jose State, Akron, San Diego State, Kansas
Nikola Knezevic Joins Bears Mid-Season
Nikola Knezevic (NEE-koh-lah k-NEH-zhuh-vich), a 6-2, 190-pound freshman point guard from Belgrade, Serbia-Montenegro, has enrolled for the spring semester and became eligible for the Bears Dec. 21 - one day after fall final exams. He saw his first action at USC Dec. 29, getting on the court for three minutes, and he had four points (4-6 FT) in 17 minutes vs. Oregon Jan. 5. Rated the No. 3 point guard and No. 17 overall player at last summer's adidas Superstar Camp, Knezevic played on the Serbia-Montenegro Junior National team at the Under 18 European Championships in 2004. As a member of his Beovuk '72 club team, he helped the squad to a pair of Serbian titles and two Serbia-Montenegro championships.
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.
Golden Bear Notes ...
When Ayinde Ubaka and Leon Powe tallied 29 and 27 points, respectively, vs. Oregon Jan. 5, they became the first Cal duo to each score at least 25 points in a game since Lamond Murray (26) and Jason Kidd (25) vs. Oregon on March 3, 1994 ... Powe has been listed a preseason first-team All-Pac-10 performer by Lindy's, CBS Sportsline College Basketball and The Sporting News ... Powe is also listed as a preseason candidate for both the Wooden All-America team and the Naismith Trophy ... head coach Ben Braun picked up his 500th career victory with an 88-69 win over Long Beach State Nov. 21 ... when Cal won six consecutive games from Nov. 21 through Dec. 6, the run was the best for the team since an eight-game spurt from Dec. 30, 2002 to Jan. 25, 2003 ... Ivan Kovacevic, a 6-6 freshman guard from Laguna Beach HS (Laguna Beach, Calif.), has joined the team as a walk-on ... junior G/F Marquise Kately, who withdrew from school in October for personal reasons, has re-registered for the spring semester in January ... with this season's win, Cal has captured nine of 13 Golden Bear Classics, including 8-of-10 under head coach Ben Braun ... sophomore C DeVon Hardin was voted MVP of the Golden Bear Classic, with senior G Richard Midgley and junior G Ayinde Ubaka joining him on the all-tournament team.
RELATED NEWS & VIDEOS
TOMORROW | 1:00pm PTLive
TOMORROW | 4:00pm PTLive
TOMORROW | 7:00pm PTLive