Cal Visits Stanford Wednesday
Jan. 2, 2007
California Golden Bears (9-5, 1-1) at Stanford Cardinal (8-3, 1-1)
Wednesday, Jan. 3, 7 p.m., Maples Pavilion, Stanford, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: FSN Bay Area
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California concludes its four-game road trip Wednesday when the Golden Bears visit Stanford for a 7 p.m. tipoff at Maples Pavilion. Fresh off its first true road win of the year - a 66-62 overtime decision at Arizona State last Saturday - Cal owns a 4-4 mark outside of Berkeley, which includes a 3-1 neutral-site record and the championship of the Great Alaska Shootout.
The Bears, down to nine healthy scholarship players - four of which are freshman - due to a trio of injuries, have increasingly begun to rely on the three-point shot since junior C DeVon Hardin was lost for 8-12 weeks with a stress fracture in his left foot.
Now starting five players who are all capable long-rang shooters, the Bears have made 33 treys in three games without Hardin. Cal combined for 25 three-pointers last weekend - 13 at Arizona and 12 at ASU - to set a school record for most threes in back-to-back games. The 13 triples at Arizona also matched the second-highest total in Cal history.
Freshman F Ryan Anderson - the only Bear starter over 6-6 - leads the three-point onslaught with 30-for-67 (44.8%) accuracy from behind the arc. Cal's leading scorer (17.6 ppg) and rebounder (8.9 rpg) on the year, the 6-10 rookie came through with 24 points and 16 rebounds at DePaul Dec. 23 and paced the Bears with 18 points and eight boards at ASU. He is the only player in the Pac-10 to rate among the league's top five in both scoring (2nd) and rebounding (5th).
Senior G Ayinde Ubaka remains Cal's leader at the point, now averaging 13.3 ppg and a career-best 5.5 apg. He paces the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.85) and has 53 assists against just 14 turnovers his last eight contests. Ubaka also showed off his ability to play well in the clutch at ASU when he tallied eight of his 14 points in overtime, nailing a pair of three-pointers to open the extra period.
Junior F Eric Vierneisel has come off the bench for perhaps the best three games of his career the past week and a half. He has averaged 11.0 ppg during the span, reaching double figures each time. In addition to his scoring, Vierneisel had four steals at Arizona - high for a Cal player this year - and four assists at ASU.
Probable StartersPOS NO NAME HT WT YR PPG RPGF 23 Patrick Christopher 6-5 210 Fr 4.0 1.6Started last three games for Hardin; 6 pts., 2 asts., 2 stls. at ASUF 24 Theo Robertson 6-6 225 So 7.6 4.1Shooting 59.6% from floor last eight games (28-47) F 34 Ryan Anderson 6-10 235 Fr 17.6 8.924 points, 16 rebounds at DePaul; 44.8 3P% (30-67) G 1 Ayinde Ubaka 6-4 200 Sr 13.3 5.5 apg2.85 assist/turnover ratio; 11 assists, 0 TO vs. FurmanG 2 Omar Wilkes 6-4 185 Jr 10.6 2.0Team-high 52.9 FG%; tied career high with 18 points vs. LMU
Cal Head Coach Ben Braun
Ben Braun (Wisconsin '75), the second-winningest coach in Cal history, is in his 11th year in Berkeley and 30th season as a collegiate head coach. His record at Cal stands at 195-126, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 528-361. 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 seven times in his first 10 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, plus another NCAA berth in 2006. 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
Stanford enters Wednesday's game with an 8-3 overall record and 1-1 mark in Pac-10 play after splitting its road trip to Arizona last week. The Cardinal defeated Arizona State, 71-60, before falling to Arizona, 89-75. Lawrence Hill paces Stanford in scoring with 15.3 ppg. He is shooting 57.8 percent from the floor, which ranks fifth in the Pac-10. The Cardinal, who are 5-2 at home, is playing its first game at Maples Pavilion since Dec. 16 and just its second home game since Nov. 28.
Cal-Stanford Series History
Cal holds a 138-109 all-time advantage over Stanford in a series that dates back to the 1911-12 season. The teams each won on their home court last year. The Bears took the most recent meeting, 65-62, on Feb. 9 behind 32 points and nine rebounds from Leon Powe. The Cardinal won, 75-61, at Maples Pavilion on Jan. 13. Cal trailed just 53-52 with 8:49 left when Stanford went on a 10-1 run to take control. The Bears have not won a road game in the series since an 86-61 decision in 1993.
Stanford Head Coach Trent Johnson
Trent Johnson is 42-30 in his third season at Stanford. He has guided the Cardinal to a pair of postseason berths - the 2005 NCAA Tournament and the 2006 NIT. Johnson also compiled a 79-74 mark at Nevada from 2000-04, taking the Wolf Pack to the 2004 NCAA Sweet 16.
For more information: www.gostanford.com
Golden Bear Notes
Last Time Out: Cal Outlasts Arizona State in OT, 66-62
Ayinde Ubaka scored eight of his 14 points in overtime, including a pair of three-pointers, to help Cal to a 66-62 victory over Arizona State last Saturday in Tempe. The Bears narrowly led most of the contest before ASU's Christian Polk tied the game with three seconds left in regulation on a three-pointer over the outstretched arms of Ryan Anderson. In the extra period, Ubaka's treys gave Cal a six-point lead it would not surrender. Both teams made just 7-of-20 shots in the first half, before the Bears sank 60.0 percent from the floor after intermission. Eric Vierneisel tied his career high with 12 points, and Anderson paced all scorers with 18 points.
On the Road Again to Open Pac-10 Season
For the third consecutive year, California has opened its Pac-10 slate on the road, this time visiting Arizona, Arizona State and Stanford before finally returning home to Berkeley to host Washington State Jan. 11. Last season, the Bears swept their initial road trip in Los Angeles, defeating 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. The last time the Bears began Pac-10 play with three straight out-of-town contests came in 1997-98 when they played at Oregon (loss), Oregon State (win) and Stanford (loss).
Cal on Three-Point Record Pace
With the season nearly halfway done, Cal on pace to break a trio of three-point records - most three-pointers in a season, most three-pointers per game and highest three-point shooting percentage. To date, the Bears have made 106 treys in 14 games, an average of 7.57 per contest (second in the Pac-10). The current record is 7.00 per game set during the 1994-95 campaign. With at least 17 games remaining (16 in the regular season plus at least one in the Pac-10 Tournament), Cal is on track to sink 234 shots from behind the arc - well beyond the record of 198 established in 2002-03. In addition, the Bears are draining 38.8 percent of their long-range tries, just ahead of the 38.7 percent pace of 1989-90.
Three-Pointers Per GameYear G 3P Per Game 2006-07 14 106 7.571994-95 27 189 7.002002-03 31 198 6.391989-90 32 196 6.13
Three-Point PercentageYear 3P-3PA Pct.2006-07 106-273 38.81989-90 196-507 38.71987-88 133-355 37.52005-06 169-452 37.4
More on Threes: Bears Post Rare Back-to-Back Double-Figure Output
Over its last two games, Cal has combined to make 25 three-pointers - 13 (in 30 attempts) at Arizona and 12 (in 28 attempts) at Arizona State. The Bears last drained at least 10 three-pointers in back-to-back contests vs. Howard (11) and Georgia (11) on Dec. 3-7, 2002. In fact, Cal has had 10 or more threes in a game just two other times since the shot was added for 1986-87 season - vs. Stanford (10) and UCLA (11), Feb. 15-23, 1995 and vs. Oregon (11) and Washington (13), Feb. 4-8, 1990. The Bears have never had three consecutive games with double-figure three-pointers.
Ayinde Ubaka Picking Up the Assists
As an All-Pac-10 performer last year and preseason candidate for both the Wooden (best player) and Cousy (best point guard) awards, senior Ayinde Ubaka has been recognized as one of the top point guards in the county. And so far, he has been more than living up to his notice, especially when it comes to dishing out assists. Ubaka is averaging a career-best 5.5 apg to date, well above his career 3.6 apg entering the season. He had a personal-high 11 assists (0 turnovers) vs. Furman Dec. 19, and he had eight assists (0 turnovers) vs. Kansas State Nov. 29. Since an uncharacteristic six-turnover outing vs. Marshall Nov. 23, Ubaka has 64 assists (6.40 apg) and just 18 turnovers (1.8 topg) over his past 10 games. He also leads the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.85 and is on pace to become the first Bear to average at least five assists since Prentice McGruder in 1997 (6.4 apg).
Cal Career Assist Leaders5. Shantay Legans (2000-02) 3866. Gene Ransom (1976-78) 3567. Ayinde Ubaka (2004- ) 352
Anderson Has Big Rebound Day at DePaul
When freshman F Ryan Anderson pulled down 16 rebounds at DePaul Dec. 23, he grabbed more boards than any Cal freshman since Jamal Sampson had 17 against Washington on Jan. 17, 2002. Anderson, who has a team-high four double-doubles this season, is averaging 8.9 rpg, fifth in the Pac-10. He has paced the Bears on the glass in five of the team's last six outings and in nine of 14 games overall. Leon Powe, who snared 9.5 rpg in 2003-04, owns the Cal freshman rebound record.
Cal Freshman Rebound Leaders1. Leon Powe (2004) 9.5 rpg2. Ryan Anderson (2007) 8.9 rpg3. Bob McKeen (1952) 8.6 rpg4. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1996) 8.4 rpg
Bears No. 1 in NCAA in Free Throw Shooting
As it has for most of the year, California leads the nation in free throw shooting in games played through Jan. 1, having connected on 78.6 percent of its tries from the charity stripe. 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 35-for-42 (83.3%). The school record for free throw percentage is 73.5 percent set during the 1986-87 campaign.
NCAA Free Throw Leaders (through games of Jan. 1)1. California 180-229 78.6%2. Butler 249-318 78.3%3. Villanova 218-279 78.1%4. Navy 183-236 77.5%5. Iowa 181-235 77.0%
Cal Keeps Turnovers to a Minimum
Cal, which led the Pac-10 in fewest turnovers last season (12.4 per game), is committing just 12.1 topg this year - second to Washington State's 11.4 topg. The Bears have committed more than 15 just once (17 vs. San Diego) and 11 or fewer six times. 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.
Ryan Anderson Leading as a Freshman
Freshman F Ryan Anderson kicked off his college career by scoring at least 20 points in each of his first three games, then earning MVP honors while leading Cal to the Great Alaska Shootout championship. In addition, he has paced the Bears on the boards nine times in 14 games, reaching double figures on five occasions. As a result, the rookie paces the Bears in both scoring (17.6 ppg) and rebounding (8.9 rpg), and is the only player to rank among the Top 5 in the Pac-10 in both categories. Anderson tallied a high of 25 points vs. Santa Clara, and has also tossed in 24 points at DePaul, 23 points vs. Furman and 21 at San Diego State. He is shooting 52.7 percent from the floor (second on the team) and leads Cal from three-point distance (30-67, 44.8%) and in free throw attempts (42-56, 75.0%).
Vierneisel Comes Up Big Last Three Games
Starting with Cal's Dec. 23 game at DePaul - a contest played about a 30-minute drive from his hometown of Algonquin, Ill. - junior F Eric Vierneisel has seemed like a different person on the court. In his last three outings - at DePaul, at Arizona and at Arizona State - he has reached double figures each time, averaging 11.0 ppg and having made 10-of-22 from the floor and 8-of-15 from three-point range. Prior to his current streak, Vierneisel had contributed a total of 10 points in Cal's first 11 contests. His 33 points vs. the three most recent opponents matches his output for all of last year. Vierneisel had 11 points at DePaul, 10 at Arizona and 12 at ASU - a figure that ties his career high set against UC Riverside on Nov. 11, 2004, his first game as a Bear.
Vierneisel's Big Turnaround First 11 games Last Three GamesPoints 10 (0.9 ppg) 33 (11.0 ppg)FG% 28.6% (4-14) 45.5% (10-22)3P% 33.3% (1-3) 53.3% (8-15)Rebounds 7 (0.6 rpg) 7 (2.3 rpg)Assists 3 (0.3 apg) 7 (2.3 rpg)Steals 1 (0.1 spg) 7 (2.3 spg)Minutes 74 (6.7 mpg) 80 (26.7 mpg)
Injury Hits Post Position for Third Straight Season
For the third consecutive season, Cal will be missing at least one of its primary post players for most, if not all, of the year. The Bears played the 2004-05 campaign without F Leon Powe, who sat out the entire year due to preseason knee surgery. Powe, who earned Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors in 2003-04, returned to claim second-team All-America status in 2005-06. Last year, C Rod Benson, who started for Powe during his medical-redshirt campaign, missed 11 games and was limited in several others due to a stress fracture in a foot, then a torn meniscus in his right knee. Now, two Bear centers have been sidelined for 2006-07. Center Jordan Wilkes, a 7-0 sophomore, was diagnosed with a partially torn patella tendon in his left knee and underwent season-ending surgery on Nov. 21. Junior C DeVon Hardin then suffered a stress fracture to his left mid-foot late in the first half vs. Furman Dec. 19 and is expected to be out 8-12 weeks. He underwent surgery Dec. 22. With Wilkes, Hardin and sophomore G Nikola Knezevic (knee) all sidelined, the Bears now dress just nine healthy scholarship players.
Bears' Defense Key in Victories
In its nine wins this season, Cal is limiting opponent to 37.3 percent shooting from the floor and 55.8 ppg. The Bears have been particularly tough at home, as five of the six teams to venture into Haas Pavilion have managed 51 or fewer points. The 47 points scored by Utah Valley State Nov. 15 was the lowest for a Cal opponent in a season opener since the Bears defeated Saint Mary's, 62-44, on Dec. 5, 1964. On the flip side, the Bears are allowing 83.8 ppg and 53.9 percent shooting in their five losses. Cal is a perfect 9-0 when holding teams to 70 or fewer points, but 0-5 when opponents score 71 or more.
Robertson Hot Last Eight Games
After a slow start to the season, sophomore F Theo Robertson has greatly increased his offensive efficiency his last eight games, averaging 10.3 ppg on 59.6 percent shooting from the floor (28-for-47). He has reached double figures five times during the run, with a high of 16 points vs. Furman. In the first six games of the year before his hot streak, Robertson averaged 4.2 ppg on 25.7 percent shooting.
DeVon Hardin's Loss Felt in the Paint
With his 6-11, 235-pound frame, junior C DeVon Hardin offers an intimidating presence on the court. He leads the Bears with 21 blocked shots this year (1.91 per game), including a career-best five against Santa Clara and four more vs. Loyola Marymount. For his career, Hardin leads all active Pac-10 players and ranks fifth on Cal's career chart with 95 blocks. Now sidelined with a stress fracture in his left foot, Hardin's ability to alter shots will most certainly be missed - the Bears have a total of three blocks in the three games he has missed so far.
Anderson Could Be Third Freshman to Lead Cal in Scoring since '96
In contributing a team-high 17.6 ppg to date (No. 2 in the Pac-10), F Ryan Anderson is aiming to become the third freshman to pace Cal in scoring since 1996. Leon Powe was the last Cal rookie to accomplish the feat when he averaged 15.1 ppg in 2004 and was voted Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. Back in 1996, Shareef Abdur-Rahim not only led the Bears, but he paced the Pac-10 with 21.1 ppg and was named both Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and Pac-10 Player of the Year. Earlier this season, Anderson matched Abdur-Rahim as the only two Cal freshmen to score at least 20 points in each of their first three games. Anderson fell just short of a fourth consecutive 20-point outing when he finished with 19 points against Marshall, totaling 17 second-half points after a two-point first half.
Cal Freshman Scoring Leaders1. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1996) 21.1 ppg2. Ryan Anderson (2007) 17.6 ppg3. Leon Powe (2004) 15.1 ppg4. Brian Hendrick (1990) 14.9 ppg5. Rickie Hawthorne (1973) 14.2 ppg
Pete Newell Statue Installed in Haas Pavilion Club Room
As a fitting tribute to Pete Newell's lifetime accomplishments in basketball as a coach, mentor and leader, a statue of the Hall of Famer and former Golden Bear head coach has been installed inside the Club Room at Haas Pavilion. Created by renowned sculptor Eino, the statue stands approximately seven feet high and weighs nearly 1,200 pounds. The work originated through the vision of the late Brian Maxwell and received additional financial assistance from players, coaches and managers who were part of Newell's teams in Berkeley. As a coach, Newell directed Cal to the 1959 NCAA championship and to a runner-up finish in 1960, when he was voted National Coach of the Year. He later guided the U.S. team to an Olympic gold medal at the 1960 Games in Rome. Newell, who turned 91 in August, served as head coach of the Bears from 1954-60 and compiled a 119-44 record that included four conference titles and four trips to the NCAA Tournament. He then worked as Cal's athletic director from 1960-68. He is a member of both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame.
Golden Bear Notes ...
With an 8-4 non-league record, Cal had its highest pre-Pac-10 victory total since going 9-1 heading into conference play in 2001-02 ... freshman Ryan Anderson was voted MVP of the Great Alaska Shootout; he was joined on the all-tournament team by Ayinde Ubaka and DeVon Hardin ... Cal has added four walk-ons to the roster: sophomore G Nican Robinson (5-10, 180, Oakland, CA/Oakland Tech HS), freshman F Thomas Fang (6-5, 200, San Jose, CA/Archbishop Mitty HS), freshman G David Liss (6-0, 165, San Francisco, CA/Branson School) and senior G Patrick Armstrong (6-0, 175, San Jose, CA/Bellarmine Prep) ... Ubaka is on the preseason watch lists for both the Wooden All-America team and the Bob Cousy Award ... for the second consecutive year, Cal has been picked fifth in the Pac-10 in a preseason vote of media who cover the conference; last year, the Bears finished third during the regular season with a 12-6 mark and reached the final of the Pac-10 Tournament ... Ubaka is averaging 34.3 minutes per game, down from 37.3 mpg last year when he set a school record with 1,156 minutes played ... of its 12 pre-Pac-10 games this season, Cal played six at home and six on the road ... junior G Omar Wilkes tied his career high with 18 points vs. Loyola Marymount and tops the Bears in field goal shooting at 52.9 percent ... Cal's championship in the Great Alaska Shootout was the first in-season tournament victory for the Bears, other than the Golden Bear Classic, since taking the Lobo Classic in Albuquerque, N.M., in December 1975 ... sophomore G Nikola Knezevic, who was expected to be a primary contributor in the backcourt this season, has yet to play as he continues to recover from offseason knee surgery to clean up loose cartilage in his right knee.