Bears Host No. 3 UCLA at 6 p.m. Thursday

Jan. 22, 2007

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UCLA Bruins (17-1, 6-1) at California Golden Bears (12-7, 4-3)
Thursday, Jan. 25, 6 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: FSN

USC Trojans (15-5, 5-2, at Stanford 1/25) at California Golden Bears
Saturday, Jan. 27, 3 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: Comcast SportsNet

A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
After being on the road for six of its last eight games, California returns to Haas Pavilion this week to host No. 3 UCLA at 6 p.m. Thursday and No. 25 USC at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The Bears, who have played 11 of 19 contests outside of Berkeley overall, are 6-2 on Pete Newell Court this year, where they have limited opponents to 57.2 ppg and 39.8 percent field goal shooting.

Cal has split its series with UCLA each of the past eight years, although the Bears have not defeated the Bruins at home since a 76-62 decision in 2004, having won the past two seasons in Pauley Pavilion.

With UCLA ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press poll, Cal will be trying to knock off a team rated in the top five for the first time since prevailing, 100-93, over then-No. 4 UCLA on Jan. 28, 1995 in Los Angeles. The Bears haven't knocked off a team rated as high as third since topping the then-No. 1 Bruins, 85-70, on Jan. 30, 1994 in Oakland.

Cal has cranked up its offensive production recently, scoring at least 77 points in three straight games for the first time all year. Perhaps the biggest reason for the surge is rebounding. In the first give games (Dec. 23-Jan. 11) the Bears played without C DeVon Hardin, who has a stress fracture in his left foot, they had a minus-47 margin. But over their past three contests, the difference has been +24.

Freshman F Ryan Anderson continues to pace Cal in both scoring (17.3 ppg) and rebounding (8.9 rpg), ranking among the top five in the Pac-10 in both categories. On the perimeter, senior G Ayinde Ubaka averaged 19.5 ppg vs. OSU and Oregon last week to raise his scoring rate to 14.7 ppg. He also reached the 1,000-point level over the weekend, becoming the first player in school history to have at least 1,000 points, 100 three-pointers and 300 assists.

At the wing, sophomore F Theo Robertson tossed in a career-best 19 points at Oregon, while sophomore F Eric Vierneisel added a personal-high 13 points at Oregon State. Junior G Omar Wilkes also had a strong effort against the Ducks with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor.

Probable StartersPOS  NO  NAME                 HT    WT   YR  PPG   RPGF    23  Patrick Christopher  6-5   210  Fr  4.3   2.0Started last 8 games; 8 points, 4 rebounds at Stanford F    24  Theo Robertson       6-6   225  So  8.1   4.3Career-high 19 points at Oregon; 14 points, 8 rebounds vs. UWF    34  Ryan Anderson        6-10  235  Fr  17.5  8.918 points, 14 rebounds vs. Washington; 35-86 (40.7%) on 3-pointersG     1  Ayinde Ubaka         6-4   200  Sr  14.7  4.8 apg18.8 ppg last 5 games; 20 of 22 points in second half at Oregon StateG     2  Omar Wilkes          6-4   185  Jr  10.3  2.3Leads Cal in FG shooting (51.9%); 17 points at Oregon (7-9 FG) 

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 198-128, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 531-363. 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.

UCLA Scouting Report

A Look at UCLA
UCLA, which was ranked No. 1 nationally for much of the early part of the season, is rated third in the current Associated Press poll. The Bruins are led by Arron Afflalo's 16.3 ppg, while Josh Shipp, younger brother of former Cal forward Joe Shipp, contributes 14.2 ppg. Point guard Darren Collison averages 6.0 assists per game and has picked off a team-high 42 steals. UCLA is allowing just 60.4 ppg, with only two opponents scoring as many as 70 points.

Cal-UCLA Series History
UCLA holds a 123-94 record vs. Cal, although the Bears have won nine of the last 17 meetings. Last year, Cal won, 68-61, in Los Angeles, and the Bruins prevailed in Berkeley, 67-58, in overtime. In the team's third meeting of 2005-06, UCLA won, 71-52, in the Pac-10 Tournament final. Cal and UCLA have split their season series each of the past eight years.

UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland
Ben Howland is in his fourth season at UCLA and has compiled a 78-36 record with the Bruins. Last year, he led UCLA to the Pac-10 title and a runner-up finish in the NCAA Tournament. Howland was 79-59 at Northern Arizona from 1995-99 and 89-40 at Pittsburgh from 2000-03.

For more information: www.uclabruins.com

USC Scouting Report

A Look at USC
USC enters the week one game out of first place in the Pac-10 after sweeping Arizona and Arizona State at home last weekend. Nick Young, who is averaging a team-high 17.2 ppg, is shooting 54.1 percent from the field and 46.8 percent from three-point range. The Trojans are limiting opponents to just 35.4 percent shooting and 60.5 ppg.

Cal-USC Series History
After sweeping three games against the Trojans last season, Cal owns a 124-113 series lead over USC. Cal took both regular-season meetings in 2005-06 - 62-68 in Los Angeles and 71-60 in Berkeley. The Bears then prevailed, 82-67, in the quarterfinal round of the Pac-10 Tournament behind 22 points and 20 rebounds from Leon Powe.

USC Head Coach Tim Floyd
Tim Floyd is 32-18 in his second season at USC. In addition to his stint with the Trojans, he has also led programs at Idaho, New Orleans and Iowa State, taking six teams to the NCAA Tournament. Floyd served as an NBA head coach at both Chicago (1998-02) and New Orleans (2003-04).

For more information: www.usctrojans.com

Golden Bear Notes

Last Time Out: Oregon Overcomes Halftime Deficit to Beat Cal
Theo Robertson set a career high with 19 points and Cal established a school free throw record by making all 12 of its attempts, but the Bears could not hold off Oregon (#9 AP/#10 ESPN/USA Today), 92-84, last Saturday in Eugene, Ore. Cal shot 58.6 percent from the floor in the first half to race out to a 46-38 lead. However, the Ducks opened the second half with a 22-6 burst to forge ahead, 60-52. The Bears managed to tie the score again at 62-all, only to see Oregon respond with a three-pointer from Aaron Brooks to take the lead for good. Ryan Anderson finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the year, and Omar Wilkes tallied 17 points, one shy of his personal best.

`The Streak' Broken 21 Years Ago Thursday
When Cal hosts UCLA Thursday, it will mark the 21st anniversary of the Bears' 75-67 victory over the Bruins that snapped UCLA's 52-game winning streak in the series. After Cal edged the Bruins, 66-65, on Feb. 24, 1961, the Bears went 25 years before defeating UCLA again. During the 1985-86 season, Cal entered its Jan. 25 contest vs. UCLA with a 12-4 mark in its first year under head coach Lou Campanelli. The Bears grabbed a 36-31 halftime lead on their way to breaking the Bruin run with an eight-point win in old Harmon Gym. Dave Butler paced Cal with 23 points, while the backcourt combo of Chris Washington and Kevin Johnson contributed 33 points. Reggie Miller had a game-high 26 points for UCLA.

Anderson Could Be Third Freshman to Lead Cal in Scoring since '96
In contributing a team-high 17.3 ppg to date (No. 3 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. Overall, Anderson has led the Bears in the scoring column 12 times in 18 games. He is also the only player in the Pac-10 to rank among the top five in both scoring and rebounding (T4th, 8.9 rpg).

Cal Freshman Scoring Leaders             1. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1996)  21.1 ppg2. Ryan Anderson (2007)        17.3 ppg3. Leon Powe (2004)            15.1 ppg4. Brian Hendrick (1990)       14.9 ppg

Cal Freshman Rebounding Leaders1. Leon Powe (2004) 9.5 rpg2. Ryan Anderson (2007) 8.9 rpg3. Bob McKeen (1952) 8.6 rpg4. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1995) 8.4 rpg

Ayinde Ubaka First to 1,000 Points, 100 3-Pointers, 300 Assists
With 22 points at Oregon State last Thursday, senior G Ayinde Ubaka became the 35th player in school history to score 1,000 points in a career. He is now the first Bear ever to have at least 1,000 points, 100 three-pointers and 300 assists. Ubaka already ranks sixth in the Cal record book with 367 assists and tied for seventh with 135 treys.

Cal Scoring Leaders28. Amit Tamir (2002-04)       1,05529. Michael Pitts (1980-84)    1,04430. Bill Hagler (1949-51)      1,04231. Mark McNamara (1981-82)    1,04132. Monty Buckley (1992-95)    1,03533. Charlie Johnson (1969-71)  1,02534. Ayinde Ubaka (2004- )      1,021

Cal Turns Around Rebounding Margin Last Three Games
When All-American forward Leon Powe - a two-time Pac-10 rebounding champ - took his game to the NBA after the 2005-06 season, the Bears knew they would have their work cut out to maintain an advantage on the boards. Through the first 11 games, Cal pretty much held its own with a +0.5 rebound margin. But when C DeVon Hardin suffered a stress fracture in his left foot vs. Furman Dec. 19 - an injury that is expected to keep him sidelined 8-12 weeks - the Bears quickly became an undersized unit with only two players - both freshmen - taller than 6-7 available to dress each night. As a result, Cal was out-boarded by a combined 47 rebounds in its first five games without Hardin. But in game number six, the Bears grabbed 11 more caroms (47-36) than Washington, which entered the contest leading the conference in rebounding margin at +10.7. Cal kept up the pace at Oregon State last Thursday with a +9 differential (33-24) and at Oregon on Saturday with a 27-23 advantage.

Ayinde Ubaka Keeps Coming Through in Clutch
In each of Cal's four Pac-10 victories this season, senior G Ayinde Ubaka has come up big when the Bears have needed him most. On Dec. 30, Ubaka led Cal to a 66-62 overtime win at Arizona State, scoring back-to-back three-pointers to start the extra period and giving the Bears a quick six-point lead. Then at Stanford Jan. 3, he tallied a season-high 26 points, scoring seven of Cal's final nine points in the last 3:51 of the contest after the Cardinal cut the Bears' lead to 58-57. In Cal's win over Washington Jan. 13, Ubaka again nailed key baskets in overtime, this time starting with consecutive buckets for a quick four-point Cal lead and finishing with six of his 13 total points in OT. Finally, he had 20 of his 22 points in the second half at Oregon State last Thursday, shooting a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line.

With Numbers Down, Minutes Are Up
With Cal now suiting up just nine healthy scholarship players, several of the Bears are logging some heavy minutes. Over the past seven games - since C DeVon Hardin hurt his foot - two starters have seen their playing time rise significantly. Senior G Ayinde Ubaka has gone from 33.5 minutes per game to 36.4 mpg, while freshman F Ryan Anderson has gone from 31.0 mpg to 35.9 mpg. The greatest difference, though, has been for junior F Eric Vierneisel, whose playing time has risen from 6.7 mpg before Hardin's injury to 24.3 mpg.

Bears on Record Free Throw Pace, Lead NCAA
Perhaps the greatest area of improvement for the Bears over the past couple of years has been at the free throw line. After ranking last in the Pac-10 in both 2004 (62.8%) and 2005 (62.7%), Cal not only leads the league this year, but is No. 1 in the country at 78.4 percent. The Bears were 42-for-44 at the charity stripe in the Great Alaska Shootout, including an 11-for-11 performance in the championship game vs. Loyola Marymount. Last Saturday at Oregon, Cal set a school record for accuracy in a game, going 12-for-12 at the line. Freshman Jerome Randle made the first 12 tries of his career and paces the squad at 85.3 percent, while senior Ayinde Ubaka is shooting 83.6 percent. The school team record is 73.5 percent set in 1986-87.

NCAA Free Throw Leaders (through games of Jan. 21)1. California     251-320  78.4%2. Gonzaga        335-429  78.1%3. Villanova      317-407  77.9%4. Butler         307-395  77.7%5. Florida State  278-358  77.7%

Cal on Track to Set Three-Point Record
Cal on pace to break a pair of three-point records this year - most three-pointers in a season and most three-pointers per game. To date, the Bears have made 148 treys in 19 games, an average of 7.79 per contest. The current record is 7.00 per game set during the 1994-95 campaign. With at least 12 games remaining (11 in the regular season plus at least one in the Pac-10 Tournament), Cal is on track to sink 241 shots from behind the arc - well beyond the record of 198 established in 2002-03. The Bears have become much more reliant on the long-range shot since DeVon Hardin was hurt, averaging 9.38 made per game.

Top Three-Pointers Per Game AveragesYear     G   3P   Per Game2006-07  19  148  7.791994-95  27  189  7.002002-03  31  198  6.391989-90  32  196  6.13

Bears' Defense Key in Victories
In its 12 wins this season, Cal is limiting opponents to 38.6 percent shooting from the floor and 59.0 ppg. The Bears have allowed 51 or fewer points five times, holding Utah Valley State (47), Santa Clara (48) and Kansas State (48) in the 40s. 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 83.4 ppg and 54.8 percent shooting in their seven losses. Cal is a perfect 11-0 when holding teams to 70 or fewer points, but 1-7 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 11.9 topg this year - second in the league. The Bears have committed more than 15 just once (17 vs. San Diego) and 11 or fewer seven times. In Cal's win over Kansas State Nov. 29, the Bears had just two turnovers at halftime and finished the game with eight. Cal also committed nine total turnovers vs. Washington State and 10 against Utah Valley State, Chicago State, Furman and Stanford.

Vierneisel, Robertson Have Career Nights in Oregon
A pair of Cal forwards came through with career-best efforts during the Bears' trip to Oregon last week. On Thursday, junior Eric Vierneisel scored all 13 of his points in the second half vs. Oregon State, going 4-for-5 from thee-point range, to reach his personal high. He had twice scored 12 points in a game, most recently at Arizona State Dec. 30. After contributing just 0.9 ppg during the first 11 games of the year, Vierneisel has tossed in 9.6 ppg over the past eight contests - since C DeVon Hardin suffered a stress fracture in his foot. Then on Saturday, sophomore Theo Robertson, who has been forced to move from his more natural wing position to a power forward spot due to Hardin's injury, tallied 19 points against the Ducks, going 8-for-14 from the field and 3-for-4 from behind the arc. His previous best was an 18-point total vs. Oregon in the semifinals of last year's Pac-10 Tournament.

Jamal Boykin Transfers to Cal from Duke
Jamal Boykin, a 6-7, 230-pound forward, has transferred to Cal from Duke and has enrolled for the spring semester. Boykin played in 26 games as a freshman in 2005-06, helping the Blue Devils to a 32-4 record. He averaged 1.0 ppg and 0.8 rpg, shooting 47.1 percent from the floor (8-17) and 90.0 percent from the free throw line (9-10). Boykin saw action in just three games this past November, scoring four points and grabbing 12 rebounds in 30 minutes of action, before being sidelined with a severe case of mononucleosis. As a high school star at Fairfax HS in Los Angeles, Boykin was named the 2005 Gatorade State Player of the Year when he averaged 22 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks and five assists per game. Also a third-team Parade All-American, he was the John Wooden Award winner as the Los Angeles Player of the Year.

Bears Lose Two Centers to Injury
When practice started for the 2006-07 season in October, the Bears believed they had a combination of depth and experience up front that would make the post position one of the strongest areas of the team. But by mid-December, Cal found itself shorthanded in the middle. First, 7-0 sophomore C Jordan Wilkes partially tore a tendon in his left knee during practice Nov. 7, and he underwent season-ending surgery two weeks later. Then 6-11 junior C DeVon Hardin, who was averaging 10.7 ppg and 8.4 rpg through 11 games, suffered a stress fracture to his left mid-foot vs. Furman Dec. 19. He also had surgery and is expected to be out 8-12 weeks. The losses have left Cal with just two players over 6-7 - freshmen Ryan Anderson and Taylor Harrison.

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 a 2-0 mark in overtime games this year, Cal has improved to 15-8 in overtime games under head coach Ben Braun ... 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.

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