Cal Goes on Road to Face Arizona State, Arizona

Jan. 17, 2006

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California Golden Bears (9-4, 3-1) at Arizona State Sun Devils (7-8, 1-5)
Thursday, Jan. 19, 5:30 p.m. PT / 6:30 p.m. MT, Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, AZ
Radio: KYCY (1550 AM)
TV: Comcast SportsNet

California at Arizona Wildcats (10-6, 3-2, vs. Stanford Jan. 19)
Saturday, Jan. 21, 3 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. MT, McKale Center, Tucson, AZ
Radio: KYCY (1550 AM)
TV: ABC Regional

A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California completes a three-game road trip when the Golden Bears travel to Arizona State Thursday and Arizona Saturday.

Once Cal returns home next week, the Bears will play seven of their final 11 games in Haas Pavilion after playing only two of nine contests in Berkeley from Dec. 10 through Jan. 21.

Although just 2-4 on opponent and neutral courts this season, Cal did begin Pac-10 action with its first sweep of USC and UCLA in Los Angeles in six years and opened conference play with a pair of road victories for the first time since 1957.

Now 9-5 overall and 3-2 in the Pac-10, the Bears are just one-half game out of first place in the bunched league standings.

Individually, sophomore F Leon Powe paces Cal in both scoring (19.4 ppg) and rebounding (9.9 rpg). He has five double-doubles in 10 games this year - including a 19-point, 10-rebound night at Stanford last Friday - and is aiming 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 the Pac-10 in field goal shooting (61.3%), and he is sinking 70.6 percent of his attempts from the field (12-17) since the start of conference play. In addition, Hardin has moved up to second in the league in blocks with an average of 1.71 per outing after swatting away three shots at Stanford.

On the perimeter, junior G Ayinde Ubaka has been particularly clutch in the late-going, averaging 7.2 ppg and shooting 18-for-20 from the free throw line in the final five minutes of Cal's five Pac-10 games to date. 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. Ubaka also had nine points, going 6-for-6 from the stripe, to close out a 77-66 win over Oregon Jan. 5.

Senior G Richard Midgley has moved up to 27th on Cal's career scoring chart with 1,060 points, and he will jump to 25th with nine more at Arizona State. Midgley also ranks second all-time at the school with 163 three-pointers, including 29 so far this season. He is draining 43.3 percent of his three-pointers this year, including 11-of-23 (47.8%) in conference action.

Probable Starters & Key Reserves

POS  NO   NAME              HT    WT    YR   PPG    RPG  F    44   Leon Powe         6-8   240   So   19.4   9.9C    35   DeVon Hardin      6-11  235   So   9.9    7.1G     1   Ayinde Ubaka      6-4   200   Jr   14.8   3.7 apgG     2   Omar Wilkes       6-2   198   So   9.4    1.7G    15   Richard Midgley   6-3   195   Sr   10.8   3.2C     0   Rod Benson        6-10  220   Sr   6.3    3.6G    13   Nikola Knezevic   6-2   190   Fr   1.2    0.4F    14   Eric Vierneisel   6-7   205   So   1.5    0.7G    20   Martin Smith      6-0   175   Sr   2.3    2.5 apgF    24   Theo Robertson    6-5   240   Fr   4.8    2.8C    33   Jordan Wilkes     6-11  225   Fr   2.9    1.1

Where to Watch Cal Games on Comcast SportsNet
Six Cal basketball games this season, including three Pac-10 contests - at USC, at Arizona State and at Oregon - will be shown throughout Northern California on Comcast SportsNet. The channel is broadcast in the San Francisco Bay Area on Channel 400 (Comcast digital subscribers), Channel 656 (DirecTV) and Channel 409 (Dish Network). It is on standard cable in most other Northern California areas. For a complete Comcast SportsNet directory, call your local cable provider or visit west.comcastsportsnet.com.

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 175-115, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 508-350. 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.

Arizona State Scouting Report

A Look at Arizona State
Arizona State won its first Pac-10 game of the season with last Saturday's 65-63 overtime victory at Oregon State. The Sun Devils are 0-2 at home in league action, but both decisions were determined by just one point each - a 66-65 loss to USC and a 61-60 setback to UCLA. Kevin Kruger leads the squad with 14.3 ppg and has made 41-of-105 three-pointers.

Cal-Arizona State Series History
Arizona State own a 31-28 series lead over Cal, but the Bears have claimed four of the past five contests. Last season, neither school defended its homecourt, with ASU winning, 79-70, in Berkeley and Cal eking out an 84-82 decision in Tempe. The Bears are 8-2 in their last 10 games vs. the Sun Devils and have won four of the last five in Tempe after a 10-game road losing streak that lasted from 1991-2000.

Arizona State Head Coach Rob Evans
Rob Evans is 93-89 in his eighth season at Arizona State, and he holds a career mark of 201-192 that includes six years at Mississippi. Evans has directed ASU to four postseason berths - the 2003 NCAA Tournament and the NIT in 2000, '02 and '05. His Ole Miss teams won SEC West titles in both 1997 and '98.

For more information: www.thesundevils.com

Arizona Scouting Report

A Look at Arizona
Arizona, which hosts Stanford Thursday before facing Cal, is 6-1 at home this season. Hassan Adams leads four players averaging in double figures with 20.3 ppg - tops in the Pac-10. As a team, the Wildcats have forced 351 turnovers (21.9 per game) and have picked off 173 steals (10.8 per game) to their opponents' 107.

Cal-Arizona Series History
Arizona leads the all-time series with Cal, 46-24, including three victories over the Bears last season. The Wildcats won, 86-67, in Berkeley and, 97-76, in Tucson during the regular season, then defeated Cal, 88-63, in the first round of the 2005 Pac-10 Tournament. The Bears' most recent win was an 87-83 decision in 2004 at Haas Pavilion, while Cal's last triumph at the McKale Center came in 1995 (74-72).

Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson
Lute Olson, a 2002 inductee in to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, owns a 559-170 record in his 23rd year at Arizona, and his career mark, which includes stints at Iowa and Long Beach State, is 751-262. Olson has led Arizona to 21 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, and the Wildcats captured the national title in 1997.

For more information: www.arizonaathletics.com

Golden Bear Notes

Stanford Downs Cal, 75-61, Despite Powe's Fifth Double-Double
Chris Hernandez made all six of his field goal attempts, including 5-of-5 from three-point range, to lead Stanford over Cal, 75-61, last Friday at Maples Pavilion. The Cardinal opened a nine-point lead early in the second half, before the Bears battled back and closed the gap to 53-52 with 8:49 to go. But Stanford responded with a 10-1 run to take command. Cal shot just 11-for-24 from the free throw line, including 1-of-7 in the first half. Leon Powe had his fifth double-double of the year with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Rod Benson came off the bench for 10 points.

Bears Complete Stretch of 7 of 9 Away from Home
When the final buzzer sounds at the Cal-Arizona game Saturday, the Bears will have concluded a stretch of playing seven of nine contests away from home. After hosting San Diego State Dec. 6, Cal 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. The Bears hosted Oregon and Oregon State in Haas Pavilion two weeks ago before embarking on a three-game road swing that began with last 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.

Bears Hope to Break Long Streak at McKale Center
Cal entered the season with long losing streaks at a pair of Pac-10 venues, and although the Bears failed in their attempt to end a string at Stanford, they have another opportunity this week at Arizona. Cal has lost 10 straight games in Tucson, with the last win being a 74-72 decision on Feb. 12, 1995. That victory was the second of two consecutive triumphs at the McKale Center, as the Bears also prevailed, 98-93, in overtime in 1994. In the ensuing years, Cal has come close several times - 68-71 in 1996, 80-81 in 1997, 73-76 in 1998 and 75-78 in 2001 - but the past four contests have been determined by an average of 25.5 ppg.

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) / 0ASU        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) / 2OSU        Jan. 31, 2004 (88-74) / 1     WSU          Jan. 2, 2005 (59-47) / 0Stanford   Feb. 14, 1993 (86-61) / 13

Ayinde Ubaka is Cal's Iron Man at the Point
In averaging 36.57 minutes per game, junior PG Ayinde Ubaka ranks second in the Pac-10 to Arizona State's Kevin Kruger (38.13 mpg). Ubaka has played all 40 minutes twice - at UCLA and vs. Oregon - and has been on the court for 192 of a possible 200 minutes in conference action. He has played at least 35 minutes in every game this season, except vs. Northern Colorado when he played 28 minutes.

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 six double-digit rebounding efforts in 10 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. Including last week's 19-point, 10-rebound effort at Stanford, he now has 19 career double-doubles and has led Cal in rebounding in 33 of the 37 games he has played, including eight of 10 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 has found its range behind the arc this season. Entering Thursday's game at Arizona State, the Bears are sinking 39.5 percent (87-for-220) of their long-distance attempts - second in the conference to Washington State (41.1%). Cal has shot at least 33 percent from three-point range in 12 of 14 games. Sophomore G Omar Wilkes leads the league at 55.6 percent (15-27), while senior G Richard Midgley is ninth at 43.3 percent (29-67). In addition, junior G Ayinde Ubaka has made 40.5 percent of his tries (30-74). With an individual minimum of one three-pointer made per team game, only one other Bear squad has had two 40-percent shooters - Keith Smith (46.2%, 42-91) and Ryan Drew (42.0%, 68-162) in 1989-90. That squad was the last Cal unit to shoot better than 38 percent from three-point distance for an entire year, making a school-record 38.7 percent of its attempts.

Cal Three-Point Shooting Last Three Seasons2005-06    87-220   39.5%   6.21 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

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 14.8 ppg this year. Now Cal's second-leading scorer (and No. 9 in the Pac-10), he has reached double figures 12 times in 14 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 to begin Pac-10 play, 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 40.5 percent from three-point range (30-74), up from just 29.7 percent last year, and leads the Bears with 52 assists.

Comparing Ayinde Ubaka's Last Three Seasons2003-04   34.1 FG%   25.9 3P%   69.8 FT%   2.1 rpg   3.9 apg   6.4 ppg2004-05   34.2 FG%   29.7 3P%   65.0 FT%   2.0 rpg   2.7 apg   6.1 ppg2005-06   43.1 FG%   40.5 3P%   84.9 FT%   3.1 rpg   3.7 apg   14.8 ppg

Richard Midgley Moving Up Career Lists
Now firmly secured as Cal's No. 2 all-time three-point shooter, senior G Richard Midgley is creeping up the Bears' career scoring chart. He enters Thursday's Arizona State game with 1,060 points, which puts him in 27th place, and he needs nine more to jump to 25th. On the three-point list, he ranks second all-time with 163 triples, and he will likely end his career there, as leader Ryan Drew had 214 three-pointers from 1988-91. 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 13 games he has played (missed Long Beach State due to shoulder stinger). His three-point rate of 43.3 percent this season just off his career best of 44.9 percent set during his freshman year.

Cal Career Scoring Leaders22. Andy Wolfe        1946-48   1,11223. Ryan Drew         1988-91   1,08624. Ed Gray           1996-97   1,08225. Kevin Singleton   1977-81   1,06826. Larry Friend      1955-57   1,06128. Richard Midgley   2003-     1,060

Cal Career Three-Pointers Made1. Ryan Drew 1988-91 2142. Richard Midgley 2003- 1633. Joe Shipp 2000-03 157

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 329 free throws to its opponents' 197 and is outscoring them, 230-146, or by an average of 6.0 ppg. In addition, the Bears are shooting 69.9 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, two starters are at 80 percent or higher - Ayinde Ubaka is tied for third in the Pac-10 at 84.9 percent (45-53), while Richard Midgley is shooting an even 80.0 percent (24-30). Despite played four fewer games than his teammates, Leon Powe has taken a team-best 93 free throws.

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, 61.3%), rebounding (6th, 7.1 rpg), offensive rebounds (2nd, 2.86 rpg) and blocks (2nd, 1.71 bpg). Hardin has eight blocks over his past two games, including three each vs. Oregon State and Stanford. On the scoring front, he is pouring in 9.9 ppg, having reached double figures six times.

Injury Woes Have Kept 6 Players Out at Least Once This Year
Through the first 14 contests of the 2005-06 season, six Cal players have missed a total of 24 games due to injury. The Bears dressed just 10 players five times and 11 once in their first six outings, and have suited up everyone on the roster only one time - Dec. 21 vs. DePaul. Senior G Martin Smith, who earned 17 starts last season, is the most recent casualty. After missing the Eastern Michigan and Long Beach State contests with a stress fracture in his pelvis, he has sat out the past five games with a strained abdomen and is listed as doubtful this week. Below is a list of players' injuries and games missed:

Name              Injury                        Games MissedRod Benson        stress fracture, heel         EMU, Northeastern, SJSU, AkronRichard Midgley   stinger, right shoulder       Long Beach StateSteve Panawek     bulging disk, back            N. Colorado, Northeastern, SJSU, AkronLeon Powe         stress fracture, right foot   EMU, Long Beach St., N. Colorado, NortheasternMartin Smith      stress fracture, pelvis       EMU, Long Beach State                  abdominal strain              USC, UCLA, Oregon, Oregon State, StanfordJordan Wilkes     sprained right ankle          SJSU, 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
Now a senior on the Cal basketball team, senior F/C Rod Benson hasn't limited his exploits to the hardwood 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 received 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 was 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 ... 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.

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