Cal Hosts No. 23 Stanford Saturday

Jan. 30, 2007

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Stanford Cardinal (14-5, 6-3, vs. Gonzaga 1/31) at California Golden Bears (12-9, 4-5)
Saturday, Feb. 3, 6:30 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: Fox Sports Net

A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California faces a ranked opponent for the fourth consecutive game when the Golden Bears host No. 23 Stanford at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in Haas Pavilion. Already, Cal has played then-No. 9 Oregon, then-No. 3 UCLA and then-No. 25 USC in succession.

In the teams' most recent meeting, Cal handed the Cardinal a 67-63 loss Jan. 3, a result that snapped the Bears' 13-game losing streak on the Stanford campus. Senior G Ayinde Ubaka provided the big lift for the Bears with a season-high 26 points, including seven points in the final 3:51 to help seal the victory.

Last weekend, Cal suited up just eight healthy scholarship players against UCLA and USC, but hopes to get junior F Eric Vierneisel back from a sprained left ankle this Saturday. Vierneisel had been averaged 9.4 ppg in his first seven Pac-10 contests, including eight points and three rebounds in his first start of the year at Stanford.

Freshman F Ryan Anderson continues to lead Cal in both scoring (17.2 ppg) and rebounding (8.5 rpg), and he remains the only player in the Pac-10 to rank among the top five in the league in both categories. He has paced the Bears on the glass in 11 of the last 13 games and owns a team-high six double-doubles this year.

Ubaka recently became the 35th player in school history to score 1,000 points, and he is the only Bear ever to register at least 1,000 points, 100 three-pointers and 300 assists. For the year, Ubaka is tossing in 13.8 ppg and a career-best 4.6 assists per game.

On the wing, junior G Omar Wilkes has been red-hot from the field lately, making 17 of his last 26 shots (65.4%). Now averaging 10.4 ppg after scoring 17 points at Oregon Jan. 20 and 14 against USC Jan. 27, he rates among the Pac-10 leaders in both field goal shooting (7th, 52.5%) and three-point shooting (T9th, 41.4%).

In addition, sophomore F Theo Robertson has proved to be Cal's most accurate shooter through the first half of the conference season. In league games only, he tops the stat sheet in field-goal (50.5%) and three-point (43.5%) accuracy. Robertson tallied a personal-best 19 points at Oregon and had a team-high 16 vs. UCLA.

Probable StartersPOS  NO  NAME                 HT    WT   YR  PPG   RPGF    23  Patrick Christopher  6-5   210  Fr  4.4   1.9Career-high 10 points vs. USC; 8 points, 4 rebounds at Stanford F    24  Theo Robertson       6-6   225  So  8.4   4.3Career-high 19 points at Oregon; 16 points vs. UCLAF    34  Ryan Anderson        6-10  235  Fr  17.2  8.5Top 5 in Pac-10 in scoring & rebounding; made 39 three-pointersG     1  Ayinde Ubaka         6-4   200  Sr  13.8  4.6 apg#33 in Cal history with 1,030 pts; season-high 26 pts at StanfordG     2  Omar Wilkes          6-4   185  Jr  10.4  2.2Leads Cal in FG shooting (52.5%); 14 points vs. USC

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 198-130, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 531-365. 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, which hosts Gonzaga Wednesday before visiting Cal, is ranked 23rd in this week's Associated Press poll after defeating then-No. 3 UCLA, 75-68, last Sunday. Since suffering a loss to Cal Jan. 3, the Cardinal has won six of seven games. Lawrence Hill paces the team with 15.9 ppg, while Anthony Goods contributes 13.4 ppg.

Cal-Stanford Series History
Cal holds a 139-109 all-time advantage over Stanford in a series that dates back to the 1911-12 season. Back on Jan. 3, 2007, the Bears won at Maples Pavilion, 67-63, for the first time since the 1993 campaign. Ayinde Ubaka paced Cal with a season-high 26 points, while Ryan Anderson had 12 points and six rebounds. Including last year's 65-62 victory in Haas Pavilion, Cal has won two straight over Stanford. The Bears have not taken three in a row since 1985-87, when they had a five-game winning streak in the series.

Stanford Head Coach Trent Johnson
Trent Johnson is 48-32 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: USC Foils Cal Comeback with 76-73 Win
California battled back from 17 points down with 13:11 remaining to force a tie, but USC (#25 AP) scored the game's final three points to pull out a 76-73 victory last Saturday at Haas Pavilion. The Bears, who started the contest with just eight healthy scholarship players, were without Ayinde Ubaka for much of the second half (cramp). Fueled by reserves Jerome Randle and Alex Pribble, who had a career-high four steals, Cal whittled away after being down, 53-36. Theo Robertson forced a 71-all tie on a three-pointer with 2:16 left, and Omar Wilkes' layup made it 73-73 with 47 seconds left. After USC's Daniel Hackett scored on a driving layup, Ryan Anderson's three-point attempt from the top of the key missed. Nick Young then made 1-of-2 free throws with 3.5 seconds to go, and Wilkes' long three-point shot at the buzzer fell short.

Bears Face Fourth Straight Top 25 Opponent
When Cal hosts No. 23 Stanford Saturday, the Bears will be facing a ranked opponent for the fourth consecutive game - a feat that has happened just one other time since 1959. Back in 1995, Cal met five straight Top 25 foes, going 1-4 against them. In 1959, the Bears played four ranked opponents in the NCAA Tournament en route to the national title. According to CollegeRPI.com, Cal has played the 13th-most difficult schedule in the country this season, including seven games against Top 50 RPI schools.

Cal Streaks against Ranked Opponents2007 - at #9 Oregon (L, 84-92), vs. #3 UCLA (L, 46-62), vs. #25 USC (L, 73-76), vs. #23 Stanford (TBA)1995 - vs. #22 Oregon (L, 86-94), at #14 Arizona State (L, 81-100), at #9 Arizona (W, 74-72),   at #17 Stanford (L, 70-83), vs. #2 UCLA (L, 88-104)1959 - vs. #18 Utah (W, 71-53), vs. #15 Saint Mary's (W, 66-46), vs. #5 Cincinnati (W, 64-58),   vs. #10 West Virginia (W, 71-70)

Anderson Could Break Powe's Freshman Rebound Mark
Halfway through the Pac-10 slate, freshman F Ryan Anderson has already moved into nine Cal freshman top-10 lists: points (6th, 361), points average (2nd, 17.2 ppg), rebounds (10th, 179), rebound average (3rd, 8.5 ppg), field goals (T10th, 125), field goal shooting (10th, 49.6%), three-pointers (5th, 39), free throws (T10th, 72) and free throw shooting (5th, 79.1%). Anderson's best chance for a school rookie record appears to be in rebounding. Projecting his 8.5 rpg average over the minimum 31 games the Bears are scheduled to play this year, he is on pace for 264 boards, which would top the mark of 256 set by Leon Powe in 2004.

Wilkes Finds His Shooting Range
Junior G Omar Wilkes enters the Stanford game making 52.5 percent of his field goal tries this season, which ranks seventh in the Pac-10 and tops among all conference guards. He has connected on 17 of his last 26 attempts (65.4 percent), including 6-of-11 from three-point range, over his past three games. Wilkes poured in 17 points - one shy of his career best - at Oregon when he made 7-of-9 from the floor, and he had 14 points vs. USC last week, going 6-for-10 from the field. Overall, Wilkes is shooting 50.1 percent for his career, which is the best career mark for a Cal guard, topping Keith Smith's 49.7 percent from 1987-90.

Ayinde Ubaka First to 1,000 Points, 100 3-Pointers, 300 Assists
With 22 points at Oregon State Jan. 18, 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 371 assists and tied for sixth with 136 treys.

Cal Scoring Leaders   28. 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. Ayinde Ubaka (2004- )    1,030

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 78.6 percent.The Bears have been perfect from the line three times this season - 11-for-11 vs. Loyola Marymount Nov. 25, 12-for-12 at Oregon Jan. 20 and 8-for-8 vs. USC Jan. 27. The Oregon performance set a school record for most attempts without a miss. In addition, Cal was 42-for-44 at the charity stripe in the Great Alaska Shootout. Freshman Jerome Randle made the first 12 tries of his career and paces the squad at 85.0 percent, while senior Ayinde Ubaka is shooting 84.1 percent. The school team record is 73.5 percent set in 1986-87.

NCAA Free Throw Leaders (through games of Jan. 28)1. California     265-337  78.6%2. Gonzaga        366-467  78.4%3. Florida State  316-405  78.0%4. Villanova      344-446  77.1%5. Butler         338-439  77.0%

Anderson Could Be Third Freshman to Lead Cal in Scoring since '96
In contributing a team-high 17.2 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. Anderson is the only player in the Pac-10 to rank among the top five in both scoring and rebounding (5th, 8.5 rpg) this season.

Cal Freshman Scoring Leaders             Cal Freshman Rebounding Leaders1. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1996)  21.1 ppg  1. Leon Powe (2004)            9.5 rpg2. Ryan Anderson (2007)        17.2 ppg  2. Bob McKeen (1952)           8.6 rpg3. Leon Powe (2004)            15.1 ppg  3. Ryan Anderson (2007)        8.5 rpg4. Brian Hendrick (1990)       14.9 ppg  4. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1995)  8.4 rpg

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 80.2 ppg and 54.7 percent shooting in their eight losses. Cal is 11-1 when holding teams to 70 or fewer points, but 1-8 when opponents score 71 or more.

Cal on Track to Set Three-Point Record
Cal is 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 161 treys in 21 games, an average of 7.67 per contest. The current record is 7.00 per game set during the 1994-95 campaign. With at least 10 games remaining (nine in the regular season plus at least one in the Pac-10 Tournament), Cal is on track to sink 237 shots from behind the arc - well beyond the record of 198 established in 2002-03. In fact, the Bears' 161 treys so far is more than the team's full season total for 10 of the last 20 years.

Top Three-Pointers Per Game AveragesYear     G   3P   Per Game2006-07  21  161  7.671994-95  27  189  7.002002-03  31  198  6.391989-90  32  196  6.13

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 Jan. 18, shooting a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line.

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 eight 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' recent trip to Oregon. On Jan. 18, 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 his last eight contests - since C DeVon Hardin suffered a stress fracture in his foot. Vierneisel, though, missed last week's UCLA and USC games with a sprained left ankle. Then on Jan. 20, 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.

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.

Vierneisel Misses UCLA, USC Games with Ankle Sprain
Junior F Eric Vierneisel sprained his left ankle with just two minutes left in practice on Wednesday, Jan. 24, causing him to miss the Jan. 25 UCLA and Jan. 27 USC contests. His loss left the Bears played with just eight healthy scholarship players. Vierneisel could return as early as this Saturday's Stanford contest.

Knezevic Out Following Knee Surgery
Sophomore G Nikola Knezevic, who was expected to be a major contributor at point guard this season, has yet to see any action following offseason knee surgery. Knezevic hurt his right knee over the summer, and although he has been able to practice on a limited basis, he has not been cleared for games.

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.

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.

Russ Critchfield to Be Inducted into Pac-10 Hall of Honor
Former Cal All-American Russ Critchfield will be inducted into the Pac-10 Hall of Honor during a ceremony at the Pac-10 Tournament in Los Angeles this March. One of the top guards in school history, he was a three-time team MVP from 1966-68 for the Bears. After earning honorable mention All-America honors as a junior, he was a first-team choice by the Helms Athletic Foundation in 1968. Critchfield also claimed first-team all-conference honors twice. He finished his Cal career with 1,437 points, which rated No. 2 in school history at his graduation and still ranks eighth on the school's all-time list. In addition, his 19.4 ppg career scoring average is the third-best ever at Cal, and he is second in the Bear annals with 41 20-point games. In addition to Critchfield, UCLA alum Jamaal Wilkes, father of Cal players Omar and Jordan Wilkes, will also be inducted. The Pac-10 Hall of Honor inducts one former player, coach or administrator from each conference school every year.

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 was on the preseason watch lists for both the Wooden All-America team and the Bob Cousy Award ... for the second consecutive year, Cal was 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.

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