Cal-Arizona State Game Notes

Dec. 29, 2006

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California Golden Bears (8-5, 0-1) at Arizona State Sun Devils (6-6, 0-1)
Saturday, Dec. 30, 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT, Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, AZ
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: FSN Bay Area Plus

A Quick Look at the Golden Bears

  • California continues with its three-game road trip to open Pac-10 action when the Golden Bears visit Arizona State Saturday. The game will be telecast in the Bay Area on FSN Bay Area Plus, starting at 7 p.m. Pacific Time.Since losing 10 straight in Tempe from 1991-2000, the Bears have won five of their past six games on ASU's home floor, including the past three in a row. Last year, Cal fell behind, 11-1, before rallying for a 36-30 lead at the break. Then up, 64-56, with 6:23 left, the Bears went on a 24-2 run to post an 88-58 victory.
  • Cal owns a 1-1 record vs. first-year Arizona State head coach Herb Sendek, with both of the previous meetings coming in NCAA Tournament first-round game. While Sendek was at North Carolina State, the Bears edged the Wolfpack, 76-74, in overtime in 2003 on Richard Midgley's three-pointer with 3.9 seconds left. Then last March in Dallas, NC State outscored Cal, 6-0, in the final 1:07 for a 62-56 win.
  • Once Cal finishes out its road swing at Stanford next week, the Bears will have played just six games in Berkeley against nine games away from home.
  • Freshman F Ryan Anderson continues to pace Cal in scoring (17.5 ppg), rebounding (8.9 rpg) and three-pointers (28, 45.2%. He had a team-high 16 points for the Bears Thursday night at Arizona.
  • In Cal's 94-85 loss to No. 9 Arizona, the Bears set season highs for points (84), three-pointers made (13) and steals (8).
  • With long-term injuries to C DeVon Hardin (foot), C Jordan Wilkes (knee) and G Nikola Knezevic, the Bears dress only nine healthy scholarship players, four of which are freshman. Hardin underwent surgery for a stress fracture in his left foot Dec. 22 and is expected to miss 8-12 weeks; Wilkes had preseason surgery for a partially torn tendon in his left knee and is out for the year; Knezevic continues to recover from preseason knee surgery due to an injury suffered over the summer.
  • Senior G Ayinde Ubaka remains Cal's leader at the point, now averaging 13.2 ppg and 5.5 apg. He paces the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.96) and has 47 assists against just 11 turnovers his last seven contests.

Probable StartersPOS  NO  NAME                 HT    WT   YR   PPG   RPGF    23  Patrick Christopher  6-5   210  Fr   3.8   1.59 points vs. Hawaii & Chicago State; 8 points vs. Furman & Arizona F    24  Theo Robertson       6-6   225  So   8.1   3.9Averaging 11.8 ppg last six games (25-39 FG, 64.1%)F    34  Ryan Anderson        6-10  235  Fr   17.5  8.924 points, 16 rebounds at DePaul; 45.2 3P% (28-62) G     1  Ayinde Ubaka         6-4   200  Sr   13.2  5.5 apgLast 7 games: 47 assists, 11 turnovers; 11 assists, 0 TO vs. FurmanG     2  Omar Wilkes          6-4   185  Jr   10.6  2.1At least 9 points in 11 of 13 games; 18 points vs. Loyola Marymount

Golden Bear Notes

Last Time Out: No. 9 Arizona Beats Cal, 94-85, in Pac-10 Opener
California built an early 18-13 lead and was up, 24-20, before Arizona (#9 AP/#9 ESPN/USA Today) went on a 12-0 run to take control in a 94-85 Wildcat victory Thursday in Tucson in the Pac-10 opener for both schools. UA made 72.0 percent of its shots from the field in the first half en route to a 51-33 advantage at the break. After being down, 76-47, Cal rallied to close the deficit. Five Bears scored in double figures, led by 16 points from Ryan Anderson.

Back on the Road for Pac-10 Opener
For the third consecutive year, California opens its Pac-10 slate on the road, visiting Arizona in Tucson and Arizona State in Tempe this week. Last season, the Bears began conference action in Los Angeles, where they swept USC (62-58) and UCLA (68-61). In 2004-05, Cal traveled to Washington and split a pair of games, falling 81-67 at UW, but beating Washington State, 59-47. Combined with their Jan. 3 visit to Stanford, the Bears start league competition with three straight away from home for the first time since 1997-98 when they played at Oregon (loss), Oregon State (win) and Stanford (loss).

Vierneisel Comes Up Big Last Two Games
Through the first 11 games of the season, junior F Eric Vierneisel scored a total of 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting from the floor, including 1-of-3 from three-point range. But the 6-7 player has come through with 21 combined points in last two outings. In 26 minutes off the bench at DePaul - near his hometown of Algonquin, Ill. - he tossed in 11 points (4-7 FG, 3-4 3P), his highest point total since scoring 12 in his first career game vs. UC Riverside in November 2004. Then Thursday at Arizona, Vierneisel added 10 points (3-7 FG, 2-5 3P, 2-2 FT), three rebounds, two assists and a career-high four steals in 25 minutes.

Cal Keeps Turnovers to a Minimum
Cal, which led the Pac-10 in fewest turnovers last season (12.4 per game), is committing just 12.0 topg this year. The Bears have had fewer turnovers than their opponents in nine of 13 games, and have committed more than 15 just once (17 vs. San Diego). In the Bears' win over Kansas State Nov. 29, Cal had just two turnovers at halftime and finished the game with only eight - the Bears' lowest figure since a four-turnover performance vs. Stanford last Feb. 9. Cal also committed 10 total turnovers vs. Utah Valley State, Chicago State and Furman.

Bears No. 1 in NCAA in Free Throw Shooting
California leads the nation in free throw shooting in games played through Dec. 28, having connected on 79.6 percent of its tries from the charity stripe. Seven players are shooting higher than 77 percent and six are at 80 percent or better. The Bears were 42-for-44 (95.5%) in three games at the Great Alaska Shootout in November, including a perfect 11-for-11 performance in the title game vs. Loyola Marymount - tying the school record for most attempts without a miss (also at DePaul in 1999). Freshman G Jerome Randle sank his first 12 shots of the year before missing (now 24-for-28, 85.7%), while senior G Ayinde Ubaka is 33-for-40 (82.5%). Even junior C DeVon Hardin, a career 53.1 percent shooter entering the season, was 32-for-40 this year (80.0%) before sustaining a foot injury. The school record for free throw percentage is 73.5 percent set during the 1986-87 campaign.

NCAA Free Throw Leaders (through games of Dec. 28)1. California               168-211   79.6%2. Butler                   223-281   79.4%3. Villanova                198-253   78.3%4. Southeastern Louisiana   127-163   77.9%

Robertson Hot Last Seven Games
Sophomore F Theo Robertson has greatly increased his offensive efficiency his last six games, averaging 11.8 ppg on 64.1 percent shooting from the floor (25-for-39) to raise his overall rate to 8.1 ppg. He has reached double figures five times during the run, with a high of 16 points vs. Furman. In Thursday's game at Arizona, Robertson made five of his six field goal attempts and finished with 11 points. In the first seven games of the year before his hot streak, Robertson averaged 4.9 ppg on 29.3 percent shooting.

Golden Bear Notes ...
Ryan Anderson's 8.9 rpg average is second on Cal's all-time freshman list to Leon Powe's 9.5 rpg set in 2004 ... Ayinde Ubaka leads the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.96) and he is dishing out a career-best 5.5 apg ... in its eight wins this season, Cal is holding opponents to 55.0 ppg and 36.5 percent shooting from the floor; in their five losses, the Bears are giving up 83.9 ppg and 53.9 percent shooting ... Cal is 8-0 when holding teams to 70 points or less and 0-5 when giving up 71 or more ... two walk-ons made the trip with the Bears to Arizona - freshman F Thomas Fang (6-5, 200, San Jose, CA/Archbishop Mitty HS) and freshman G David Liss (6-0, 165, San Francisco, CA/Branson School).

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