Bears Host Arizona Thursday

Feb. 14, 2006

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Arizona Wildcats (15-9, 8-5) at California Golden Bears (15-6, 9-3)
Thursday, Feb. 16, 7:30 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYCY (1550 AM)
TV: Fox Sports Net

Arizona State Sun Devils (9-13, 3-10, at Stanford Feb. 16) at California
Saturday, Feb. 18, 5 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYCY (1550 AM)
TV: Fox Sports Net

A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California will try to extend its five-game winning streak when the Golden Bears host Arizona Thursday and Arizona State Saturday in Haas Pavilion. At 15-6 overall and 9-3 in the Pac-10, Cal enters the week just one-half game out of first place in the conference standings.

During its current run, Cal has won four of the five contests by three-points or less, with only a 69-52 victory at Oregon State breaking the pattern. The Bears have limited opponents to just 59.2 ppg over the stretch while committing a total of 41 turnovers, including a low of four in last Thursday's 65-62 win over Stanford.

Against the Cardinal, F Leon Powe scored a career-high 32 points - most by a Cal player in more than three years - and grabbed nine rebounds. The 6-8 junior now leads the Pac-10 in both scoring (19.4 ppg) and rebounding (10.6 rpg). If he can maintain his pace, he will become the first Bear since Mark McNamara in 1981-82 (22.0 ppg, 12.6 rpg) to top the conference in both categories.

In addition, Powe is on track to be the first Cal player to average at least 10 points and 10 rebounds since Brian Hendrick in 1991-92 (16.1 ppg, 10.7 rpg). His 16 boards at Oregon State Feb. 2 were a personal best and a high for any Pac-10 player this year.

In the backcourt, junior G Ayinde Ubaka tossed in 18 points vs. Stanford to lift his season scoring rate to 15.3 ppg. He helped clinch the contest by shooting 4-for-4 from the foul line in the final 24 seconds. Ubaka is now 28-for-31 (90.3%) at the charity stripe in the final two minutes of games this season.

With 45 three-pointers, Ubaka also leads a perimeter attack that is connecting on 38.5 percent of its long-range attempts - second in the Pac-10 and highest for any Cal team in 16 seasons. Ubaka, senior Richard Midgley and sophomore Omar Wilkes have combined to make 102-of-252 three-pointers (42.1%).

Midgley, the only healthy senior on the roster, ranks 22nd in school history in total points with 1,115, and he is second in three-pointers made with 173, with 39 treys this year.

Probable StartersPOS  NO  NAME             HT    WT   YR  PPG   RPGF    44  Leon Powe        6-8   240  So  19.4  10.6C    35  DeVon Hardin     6-11  235  So  8.3   7.0G    1   Ayinde Ubaka     6-4   200  Jr  15.3  3.9 apgG    2   Omar Wilkes      6-4   185  So  9.0   1.5G    15  Richard Midgley  6-3   195  Sr  9.8   2.7

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 181-116, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 514-351. 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 Scouting Report

A Look at Arizona
Arizona snapped a three-game losing streak with a pair of home victories last weekend: 70-68 vs. Oregon and 80-58 vs. Oregon State. The Wildcats lead the Pac-10 in steals, averaging 10.13 per game, and turnover margin at +6.08. Senior guard Hassan Adams tops the league in individual steals (2.67 spg), while he ranks third in scoring with 18.3 ppg.

Cal-Arizona Series History
Arizona leads the all-time series with Cal, 47-24, including a 60-55 victory over the Bears in Tucson on Jan. 21. Leon Powe had 23 points and 13 rebounds and the Bears limited the Wildcats to just 33.3 percent shooting from the field, but Cal couldn't produce the win. Arizona has claimed the past four games overall, with the Bears' most recent victory being an 87-83 decision in 2004 at Haas Pavilion.

Arizona Head Coach Lute Olson
Lute Olson, a 2002 inductee in to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, owns a 564-173 record in his 23rd year at Arizona, and his career mark, which includes stints at Iowa and Long Beach State, is 756-265. Olson has led Arizona to 21 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, and the Wildcats captured the national title in 1997.

For more information: www.arizonaathletics.com

Arizona State Scouting Report

A Look at Arizona State
Arizona State has won two of its past three games, defeating USC (68-65) and Oregon State (76-59), but falling last Saturday to Oregon (98-87). The Sun Devils, who combined for 18-of-37 from three-point range vs. OSU and Oregon, are shooting 39.2 percent from behind the arc - best in the Pac-10. Kevin Kruger has made a league-best 62 three-pointers (41.9%).

Cal-Arizona State Series History
Arizona State own a 31-29 series lead over Cal, although the Bears have claimed five of the past six contests. Back on Jan. 19, Cal defeated ASU, 88-58, an outcome that matched the Bears' largest margin of victory ever in a conference road game. Ayinde Ubaka led the charge with 24 points. Cal is 9-2 in its last 11 games vs. the Sun Devils.

ASU Head Coach Rob Evans
Rob Evans is 117-116 in his eighth season at Arizona State, and he holds a career mark of 203-197 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

Golden Bear Notes

Last Time Out: Powe's Career Night Leads Cal over Stanford, 65-62
Sophomore F Leon Powe scored a career-high 32 points - most by a Cal player since Joe Shipp had 33 at Washington State in 2003 - to lead the Bears to a 65-62 win over Stanford last Thursday in a sold-out Haas Pavilion (11,877). Powe and junior G Ayinde Ubaka, who finished with 18 points, combined for Cal's final 20 points of the contest. The Bears led throughout the second half by as many as 11 points, but needed six free throws in the final 32 seasons - two from Powe and four from Ubaka - to hold off the Cardinal. After Ubaka gave Cal a 65-62 lead with 13 seconds left, the Bears' swarming defense harassed Stanford into a turnover, and sophomore F Eric Vierneisel dribbled out the clock for Cal. The Bears committed just four turnovers in the game (one in the second half).

Bears Perfect on Thursdays in Pac-10 Action
Cal enters this week's game against Arizona hoping to maintain its perfect Pac-10 record on Thursday nights. To date, the Bears are 6-0 on Thursdays, with three of those wins coming on the road: 62-58 at USC, 88-58 at Arizona State and 69-52 at Oregon State. Inside Haas Pavilion, Cal has defeated Oregon, 77-66, Washington, 71-69, and Stanford, 65-62. On other days of the week, the Bears are 0-1 on Fridays and 3-2 on Saturdays.

Victory vs. Arizona Would Give Cal Win over Each Pac-10 Team
With a 9-3 record in the Pac-10 this year, Cal has already defeated eight of the nine conference schools. And if the Bears can beat Arizona Thursday night, they will have at least one win over each league team for the first time since the 1996-97 campaign - Ben Braun's first season at the helm. This year, Cal has swept two games with Oregon, has split with Oregon State and Stanford, and owns a 1-0 mark vs. UCLA, USC, Arizona State, Washington and Washington State. The Bears are 0-1 against Arizona, falling, 60-55, on Jan. 21 in Tucson. During the '96-97 season, Cal finished Pac-10 play with a 12-6 mark and tied for second in the conference standings.

Cal on Rare Five-Game Conference Run
Cal enters this week's action on a five-game Pac-10 winning streak, a feat the Bears have accomplished just six other times since 1960, when Cal finished conference play with an 11-1 mark. Three of the seven runs have come under head coach Ben Braun - 2006 (5 games), 2003 (7 games) and 1997 (6 games). The other streaks of five games or more occurred in 1994 (5), 1993 (6), 1990 (5) and 1977 (5).

Bears Winning Close Games in Pac-10 Play
In forging a 9-3 record in Pac-10 play, Cal has displayed an ability to win close games, going 5-0 in contests decided by four points or less. Four of the victories have transpired during the Bears' current five-game win streak - 71-69 vs. Washington, 55-53 vs. Washington State, 62-60 at Oregon and 65-62 vs. Stanford. The other narrow triumph happened in the Pac-10 opener at USC (62-58). The results represent quite a turnaround from early in the campaign when Cal dropped two close calls at Eastern Michigan (67-65) and vs. DePaul (68-65).

Powe in Top 15 on both Scoring, Rebounding Lists
In averaging 19.4 ppg and 10.6 rpg, sophomore F Leon Powe ranks among the Top 15 on Cal's season lists for both scoring and rebounding average. If he maintains his pace for the rest of the year, he will become the first Bear to earn spots on both charts in the same season since Mark McNamara in 1982. That year, McNamara averaged 22.0 ppg (3rd) and 12.6 rpg (3rd). Powe's averages put him 12th in scoring and tied for 10th in rebounding.

Cal Keeps Turnovers to a Minimum
When Cal committed just four turnovers in its 65-62 win over Stanford last week, it marked the fifth time in Pac-10 play the Bears have been in single digits in the turnover department. Cal had nine miscues in home wins over Oregon and Oregon State in early January and nine TOs at Arizona State Jan. 19. The Bears then committed only five turnovers in a 69-52 victory at Oregon State earlier this month, their season-low until the Stanford game. Against the Cardinal, Cal had one turnover in the second half and none in the final 11:43. For the year, the Bears are committing just 11.7 turnovers per game, a rate they have dropped to 8.2 topg during their current five-game winning streak.

Cal, Arizona Boast Best Home Marks in Pac-10 This Season
With a 10-1 record in Berkeley this season, Cal is tied with Arizona for the highest homecourt winning percentage (90.9%) in the Pac-10. The Bears won their first seven games at Haas Pavilion before dropping a 72-64 decision to Oregon State Jan. 7. But Cal responded with a sweep of Washington and Washington State in its next homestand Jan. 26-28, then defeated Stanford Feb. 9. Starting with the Stanford game, five of the Bears' final seven games are on Pete Newell Court.

Bears Improve FG Percentage Defense in Pac-10
When Cal completed the non-conference portion of its season, the Bears ranked last in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to convert 45.3 percent of their shots. But since the start of league action, Cal has lowered the rate to 41.8 percent - a figure that now stands third in the Pac-10 (conference games only). The Bears have limited six conference foes to 40 percent or less from the field, with a best of 31.9 percent at Oregon State. In addition, Cal ranks third in Pac-10 games only in scoring defense, giving up 62.2 ppg.

Cal Clinches First Winning Pac-10 Road Mark since 2001
With its 62-60 victory at Oregon Jan. 4, Cal improved to 5-2 in Pac-10 road games, giving the Bears their first winning road mark in conference play since the 2001 season. One more victory away from home will give them six Pac-10 road wins for the first time since they were 6-3 during the 1993 campaign.

Bears Clutch from Free Throw Line
With the game on the line, the Bears have proven to be clutch performers from the free throw stripe this season. In the final two minutes of games, Cal is a collective 65-for-83 (78.3 percent), and no one has been better than junior G Ayinde Ubaka. To date, Ubaka is 28-for-31 (90.3%) in the final two minutes, and as the chart shows below, his performances have been key factors in seven of the Bears' nine Pac-10 wins. Overall, Ubaka is draining 82.8 percent from the charity stripe (77-93), a rate he has improved to 83.6 percent in conference action (61-73). Prior to this season, he was a career 68.5 percent foul shooter.

Opponent            Key Ubaka Free Throws                                  Resultat USC              Hit 2 FT with 3 seconds left with Cal ahead, 60-58     W, 62-58at UCLA             Hit 2 FT with 21 seconds left with Cal up, 62-59       W, 68-61vs. Oregon          Shot 6-6 from FT line in final 37 seconds              W, 77-66vs. Washington      Shot 3-4 from FT line in final 36 seconds              W, 71-69vs. Washington St.  Hit 2 FT with 21 seconds left to give Cal 55-51 lead   W, 55-53at Oregon           Hit 2 FT with 16 seconds left to give Cal 61-55 lead   W, 62-60vs. Stanford        Shot 4-4 from FT line in final 24 seconds              W, 65-62

Powe-tent Force on the Block for Bears
Now averaging 19.4 ppg and 10.6 rpg - ranking first in the Pac-10 in both categories - sophomore F Leon Powe is on pace to become the first Golden Bear to average a double-double since Brian Hendrick in 1991-92 (16.1 ppg, 10.7 rpg). Already named a third-team midseason All-American by SportsIllustrated.com, Powe leads the Pac-10 in rebounding by 1.7 per game over Stanford's Matt Haryasz, while he own a +2.6 rpg lead over Haryasz in league games only (11.1 to 8.5).

Powe, who was 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 scored at least 20 points eight times, with a best of 32 points vs. Stanford last week (10-21 FG, 12-15 FT). He also had 27 points against both San Jose State in his season debut Nov. 30 and vs. Oregon Jan. 5. Even when he totaled just five points at UCLA Dec. 31 (second lowest of his career), Powe contributed a game-high 12 rebounds vs. the Bruins. Overall, he owns 24 career double-doubles and has led Cal in rebounding in 40 of the 44 games he has played, including 15 of 17 this year. Powe's 16 rebounds at Oregon State Feb. 2 are the high for a Pac-10 player this season.

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.

Cal Allowing Fewest Points in 20 Years
Cal enters Thursday's game vs. Arizona surrendering an average of only 64.0 ppg - the lowest rate allowed by the Bears since the 1985-86 squad gave up 63.4 ppg (when a 45-second shot clock was in use and before the introduction of the three-point line). Cal has given up more than 70 points just four times, while holding opponents to 60 or fewer points on eight occasions. Over their past four games, the Bears have surrendered only 56.8 ppg.

Ayinde Ubaka is Cal's Iron Man at the Point
In averaging 36.71 minutes per game, junior G Ayinde Ubaka ranks second in the Pac-10 to Arizona State's Kevin Kruger (38.44 mpg). Ubaka has played all 40 minutes three times - at UCLA, vs. Oregon and vs. Stanford - and has been on the court for 451 of a possible 480 minutes in conference action (94.0%). He has played at least 35 minutes in every game this season, except vs. Northern Colorado, when he played 28 minutes, and at Oregon, when a sprained ankle limited him to 32 minutes.

Cal Using Consistent Starting Lineup This Season
Cal enters Thursday's Arizona game having used only four different starting lineups all year, with each of the changes necessitated by injury. With Leon Powe sidelined by a minor stress fracture in his foot early on, the Bears began the year with a fivesome of DeVon Hardin, Richard Midgley, Theo Robertson, Ayinde Ubaka and Omar Wilkes starting three of Cal's first four games; Eric Vierneisel spelled Midgley in Game 2 vs. Long Beach State (Midgley sat out the contest with a shoulder stinger). Beginning with the year's fifth game, Cal had a consistent starting five of Hardin, Midgley, Powe, Ubaka and Wilkes for 16 straight games. A sprained ankle kept Wilkes out of last week's Stanford tilt (with Robertson subbing in), but he is expected to return vs. the Wildcats.

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. Not only are the Bears second to Arizona State in three-point accuracy (39.2% to 38.5%), but three players - Omar Wilkes, Richard Midgley and Ayinde Ubaka - have combined to drain 42.1 percent of their tries (102-242). Only one Cal squad has shot as high as 38 percent for an entire season - the 1989-90 team that sank a school-record 38.7 percent from three-point range.

Cal Three-Point Shooting Last Three Seasons2005-06   122-317   38.5%   5.81 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

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 485 free throws to its opponents' 319 and is outscoring them, 350-231, or by an average of 5.7 ppg. The Bears have had at least twice as many FT attempts as their opponents nine times. In addition, Cal is shooting 72.2 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 at 82.8 percent (77-93) and Richard Midgley at 81.6 percent (31-38). Despite playing four fewer games than his teammates, Leon Powe has attempted a team-best 164 free throws and has taken 10 or more in a game nine times. He is shooting 69.5 percent from the line overall (up from 61.0% as a freshman) and 72.4 percent in Pac-10 games.

Ubaka More than Doubles Career Scoring Average
Ayinde Ubaka, who entered the season with a career scoring average of 6.3 ppg, is pouring in 15.3 ppg this year. Now Cal's second-leading scorer (and No. 8 in the Pac-10), he has reached double figures 19 times in 21 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 later bettered that performance with 29 points against Oregon (8-10 FG, 3-3 3P, 10-12 FT) Jan. 5. In addition, Ubaka is shooting 39.8 percent from three-point range (45-113), up from just 29.7 percent last year, and leads the Bears with 82 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   42.6 FG%   39.8 3P%   82.8 FT%   3.0 rpg   3.9 apg   15.3 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 game with 1,115 points, which puts him in 22nd place, just ahead of Andy Wolfe (1,112, 1946-48). On the three-point list, he ranks second all-time with 173 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 11 times. His three-point rate of 42.9 percent this season is just shy of his career best of 44.9 percent set as a freshman.

Cal Career Scoring Leaders20. Michael Chavez   1980-83   1,16221. Butch Hays       1981-84   1,14522. Richard Midgley  2003-     1,115

Cal Career Three-Pointers Made1. Ryan Drew 1988-91 2142. Richard Midgley 2003- 1733. Joe Shipp 2000-03 157

Injury Woes Have Kept 8 Players Out at Least Once This Year
Through the first 21 contests of the 2005-06 season, eight Cal players have missed a total of 41 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. Two of Cal's three seniors - G Martin Smith and F Rod Benson - have been sidelined for extended periods during the year. Smith, who paced the Bears with 113 assists last year, is out with an abdominal strain, while Benson, Cal's scoring (13.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg) leader in '04-05, had knee surgery for a torn meniscus Jan. 20. Below is a list of players' injuries and games missed:

Name        Injury                       Games MissedBenson      stress fracture, left heel   at E. Michigan, Northeastern,                                          San Jose St., Akron            torn meniscus, right knee    at ASU, at Arizona, Washington, WSU, at OSU,                                          at Oregon, StanfordMidgley     stinger, right shoulder      Long Beach St.Panawek     bulging disk, back           N. Colorado, Northeastern, San Jose St., AkronPowe        stress fracture, right foot  at EMU, Long Beach St., N. Colorado, N'easternSmith       stress fracture, pelvis      E. Michigan, Long Beach St.            abdominal strain             at USC, at UCLA, Oregon, OSU, at Stanford,                                          at ASU, at Arizona., Washington, WSU, at OSU,                                          at Oregon, StanfordVierneisel  concussion                   Washington, Washington St.J. Wilkes   sprained right ankle         San Jose St., Akron, San Diego St., KansasO. Wilkes   sprained right ankle         Stanford

Hardin Climbing Career Block Ladder at Cal
Sophomore C DeVon Hardin, who owns a team-best 32 blocks this year, has already moved into Cal's career Top 10 list, now ranking ninth with 58. He has had at least three blocks on four occasions, with a high of four vs. Northern Colorado Nov. 25. During one nine-game stretch from Dec. 21 through Jan. 26, Hardin averaged 2.0 bpg and registered a block or more in each contest. On the Bears' season chart, three additional blocks with give him 35 and tie him with Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Tom Schneiderjohn for ninth place.

Cal Career Blocks Leaders7. Sean Lampley      1998-01   698. Francisco Elson   1998-99   679. DeVon Hardin      2005-     58

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. Perhaps his strongest outing came vs. Stanford Feb. 9 when he had three assists and no turnovers in 12 minutes. 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 ...
Leon Powe's run of six consecutive double-doubles from Jan. 13 through Feb. 2 was the longest streak at Cal since Mark McNamara ran off eight straight double-doubles during the 1981-82 season ... Cal's 88-58 win over Arizona State Jan. 19 featured the Bears' biggest comeback of the year; Cal trailed, 16-5, midway through the first half before outscoring ASU, 83-42, over the final 33 minutes of the game ... the ASU result matched the Bears' largest victory margin in a conference road game ever; Cal also defeated USC by 30 points in 1998 (73-43) ... the Bears sank 31 free throws at ASU (38 attempts), their highest total since also making 31 at Washington State on Feb. 22, 1997 ... 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 ... 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 ... 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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