Cal Hosts Washington State, Washington
Jan. 8, 2007
Washington State Cougars (14-2, 3-1) at California Golden Bears (10-5, 2-1)
Thursday, Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
Washington Huskies (11-4, 1-3, at Stanford 1/11) at California Golden Bears
Saturday, Jan. 13, 2 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: Comcast SportsNet
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
For the first time since Dec. 19 - a span of more than three weeks - California will suit up for a game in Haas Pavilion when the Golden Bears host Washington State Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Cal then faces Washington Saturday at 2 p.m.
The Bears recently completed a 2-2 road trip, winning their final two outings at Arizona State (66-62 in overtime) and at Stanford (67-63). The victory over the Cardinal last Wednesday snapped a 13-game losing streak on Stanford's home floor.
Cal, which has played nine of 15 games away from home so far this year, is 5-1 at Haas Pavilion. The Bears are limiting teams to just 36.8 percent shooting from the floor and 52.7 ppg in Berkeley, with only one team - San Diego - managing more than 51 points.
Senior Ayinde Ubaka, who scored a season-high 26 points in the win over Stanford, has played particularly well inside Haas from his point guard position, having dished out 40 assists with just six turnovers. In his most recent outing at home, he had a career-best 11 assists against no turnovers vs. Furman on Dec. 19.
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 suffered in the Furman game.
Now starting five players who are all capable long-rang shooters, 41.0 percent of Cal's baskets since Hardin's injury have come from behind the arc (41 of 100). In the 11 games Hardin played, 25.0 percent of the Bears' buckets were of the three-point variety (73 of 292).
Freshman F Ryan Anderson leads the squad with 31 treys and is connecting on 43.7 percent of his attempts. Overall, the 6-10 rookie is the only player in the Pac-10 to rank among the Top 5 in both scoring (2nd, 17.2 ppg) and rebounding (5th, 8.7 rpg).
Cal is 5-2 in its seven Pac-10 home-openers in Haas Pavilion, including last year's 77-66 victory over Oregon.
Probable StartersPOS NO NAME HT WT YR PPG RPGF 23 Patrick Christopher 6-5 210 Fr 4.3 1.8Started last four games for Hardin; 8 points, 4 rebounds at Stanford F 24 Theo Robertson 6-6 225 So 7.5 4.3Last 9 games: 9.8 ppg, 55.6 (30-54) FG%, 53.3 3P% (8-15) F 34 Ryan Anderson 6-10 235 Fr 17.2 8.724 points, 16 rebounds at DePaul; 43.7 3P% (31-71) G 1 Ayinde Ubaka 6-4 200 Sr 14.1 5.3 apgSeason-high 26 points at Stanford; 11 assists, 0 TO vs. FurmanG 2 Omar Wilkes 6-4 185 Jr 10.2 2.1Leads Cal in FG shooting (53.3%) and 3-point shooting (43.9%)
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 196-126, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 529-361. 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.
Washington State Scouting Report
A Look at Washington State
Washington State is off to a 14-2 start after upsetting No. 7 Arizona, 77-73, in overtime last Saturday, and the Cougars are tied atop the Pac-10 standings with a 3-1 league mark. Washington State leads the conference in scoring defense, allowing 58.1 ppg. Derrick Low paces the offense with 14.4 ppg, while Kyle Weaver is the only other player averaging in double figures with 10.6 ppg.
Cal-Washington State Series History
Cal holds a 67-42 series lead over Washington State, including season sweeps the past two years. In 2005-06, the Bears edged the Cougars in a pair of two-point contests - 55-53 in Berkeley and 43-41 in Pullman.
WSU Head Coach Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett is in his first season as head coach at Washington State after serving as an assistant to his father, Dick, the past three years. Bennett also played for his father at Wisconsin-Green Bay from 1989-92, where he was a two-time MCC Player of the Year.
For more information: www.wsucougars.com
Washington Scouting Report
A Look at Washington
Washington, which visits Stanford Thursday before traveling to Cal, snapped a three-game losing streak to open Pac-10 action with last Saturday's 64-53 win over Arizona State. The Huskies lead the conference in rebounding margin (+10.9) and are second in scoring (84.8 ppg). Freshmen comprise UW's top two scorers - Spencer Hawes (16.0 ppg) and Quincy Pondexter (13.9 ppg).
Cal-Washington Series History
Cal's series with Washington stands at 71 games apiece after the schools split their two meetings last season. The Bears prevailed in Berkeley, 71-69, over the then-No. 10 Huskies behind 18 points and 13 rebounds from Leon Powe. UW took the re-match, 73-62, in Seattle.
Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar
Lorenzo Romar is 95-46 in his fifth season at Washington. Romar also previously served as head coach at Pepperdine (1997-99) and Saint Louis (2000-02). He was voted the 2005 Pac-10 Coach of the Year after leading UW to a school-record-tying 29 victories.
For more information: www.gohuskies.com
Golden Bear Notes
Last Time Out: Cal Wins at Stanford for First Time since 1993
Ayinde Ubaka scored 15 of his 26 points in the first half to lead Cal to its first victory at Stanford since 1993, a 67-63 decision at Maples Pavilion. The Bears made just three of their first 19 shots, then sank 21-of-41 the rest of the game (51.2%), while holding the Cardinal to 34.4 percent from the field. Cal built a 41-27 advantage early in the second half, but saw Stanford slice it to 58-57 with 3:51 left. Ubaka then scored seven of Cal's final nine points to seal the win. Eric Vierneisel had his first start of the year and finished with eight points and three rebounds.
Ayinde Ubaka Nearing 1,000 Career Points
With 953 career points entering this week's action, senior G Ayinde Ubaka is on the verge of becoming the 35th player in school history to record 1,000 points. Once he reaches the milestone, he will become first Bear ever to have at least 1,000 points, 100 three-pointers and 300 assists. Ubaka already ranks seventh in the Cal record book with 355 assists and eighth with 127 treys. An All-Pac-10 selection last season, Ubaka is averaging 14.1 ppg and a career-best 5.3 apg in 2006-07. He scored a season-high 26 points last Wednesday at Stanford and posted his first career double-double vs. Furman when he finished with 10 points and personal-high 11 assists.
Cal on Three-Point Record Pace
With the season just about halfway done, Cal on pace to break a pair of three-point records - most three-pointers in a season and most three-pointers per game. To date, the Bears have made 114 treys in 15 games, an average of 7.60 per contest (second in the Pac-10). The current record is 7.00 per game set during the 1994-95 campaign. With at least 16 games remaining (15 in the regular season plus at least one in the Pac-10 Tournament), Cal is on track to sink 235 shots from behind the arc - well beyond the record of 198 established in 2002-03. In addition, the Bears are draining 38.5 percent of their long-range tries, just shy of the school-record pace of 38.7 percent set in 1989-90.
Three-Pointers Per GameYear G 3P Per Game 2006-07 15 114 7.601994-95 27 189 7.002002-03 31 198 6.391989-90 32 196 6.13
More on Threes: Bears Post Rare Back-to-Back Double-Figure Output
In its two games in Arizona Dec. 28-30, 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 double-figure threes in consecutive outings 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.
With Hardin Out, Cal Finding Rebounds Hard to Corral
In the four games Cal has played since starting C DeVon Hardin was sidelined with a stress fracture in his left foot, the Bears have yet to win a rebounding battle and are cumulative minus-38 on the boards. Cal held its own at DePaul Dec. 23, pulling down 37 rebounds to the Blue Demons' 40. But Arizona out-boarded the Bears by nine, Arizona State by eight and Stanford by 18. Prior to Hardin's injury, Cal had a +0.5 average rebounding margin, including a +14 spread against San Diego Dec. 9, the last full game Hardin played.
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 5.3 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. Ubaka leads the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.58 and is on pace to become the first Bear to average 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- ) 355
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. 7, having connected on 78.9 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 40-for-48 (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. 7)1. California 191-242 78.9%2. Butler 264-335 78.8%3. Utah State 217-277 78.3%4. Villanova 241-311 77.5%5. Gonzaga 285-368 77.4%
Bears' Defense Key in Victories
In its 10 wins this season, Cal is limiting opponents to 37.0 percent shooting from the floor and 56.5 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 10-0 when holding teams to 70 or fewer points, but 0-5 when opponents score 71 or more.
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 - second to Washington State's 10.9 topg. The Bears have committed more than 15 just once (17 vs. San Diego) and 11 or fewer seven times. In the Bears' win over Kansas State Nov. 29, Cal had just two turnovers at halftime and finished the game with eight. Cal also committed 10 total turnovers vs. Utah Valley State, Chicago State, Furman and Stanford.
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 10 times in 15 games, reaching double figures on five occasions. As a result, the rookie leads the Bears in both scoring (17.2 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 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 50.8 percent from the floor (second on the team) and leads Cal in three-pointers made (31-71, 43.7%) and in free throw attempts (45-59, 76.3%).
Cal Freshman Scoring Leaders 1. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1996) 21.1 ppg2. Ryan Anderson (2007) 17.2 ppg3. Leon Powe (2004) 15.1 ppg4. Brian Hendrick (1990) 14.9 ppg
Eric Vierneisel Makes Most of His Opportunity
When junior C DeVon Hardin suffered a stress fracture in his left foot Dec. 19, the Bears knew they would need to reach deep into the lineup to help replace his production. And the one player who has most significantly increased his output has been junior F Eric Vierneisel. Over the first 11 games of the year, Vierneisel averaged just 0.9 ppg and played only 6.7 minutes per game. But in the four games without a healthy Hardin, Vierneisel has contributed 10.3 ppg in 24.8 mpg, which included his first start of the year at Stanford. He has reached double figures three times with 11 points at DePaul - a contest played about a 30-minute drive from his hometown of Algonquin, Ill. - 10 points at Arizona and 12 points at Arizona State, a figure that ties his career high set against UC Riverside on Nov. 11, 2004, his first game as a Bear.
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.
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 four blocks in the four games he has missed so far.
Anderson Could Be Third Freshman to Lead Cal in Scoring since '96
In contributing a team-high 17.2 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.
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 ... of its 12 pre-Pac-10 games this season, Cal played six at home and six on the road ... 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.