Cal Hosts No. 15 Oregon Thursday, Oregon State Saturday
Feb. 13, 2007
Oregon Ducks (20-5, 8-5) at California Golden Bears (12-12, 4-8)
Thursday, Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
Oregon State Beavers (10-16, 2-11, at Stanford 2/15) at California Golden Bears
Saturday, Feb. 17, 3 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: Fox Sports Net
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California returns to Haas Pavilion this week to host Oregon (#15 AP/#17 ESPN/USA Today) Thursday and Oregon State Saturday, trying to break out of a six-game losing streak.
The Golden Bears have had quite a bit of success at home against the Oregon schools recently, owning a six-game winning streak vs. Oregon in Berkeley and taking seven of their past year over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion.
Cal - down to nine active scholarship players due to injuries - was limited even further during last weekend's trip to Washington. Senior G Ayinde Ubaka did not start against the Huskies on Thursday because of lingering effects of an intestinal virus that has affected him the past three weeks. However, he still came off the bench for a team-high 20 points.
Then in last Saturday's contest at Washington State, senior G Alex Pribble gained his first career start, subbing for freshman F Patrick Christopher, who had a sore groin and was relegated to a reserve role.
Ubaka, who is averaging 14.0 ppg, has moved up to 26th on Cal's all-time scoring list with 1,078 points, and he will likely jump into the top 25 this week, needing only five points to pass Ed Gray (1,082) and nine points to jump over Ryan Drew (1,086).
In addition, Ubaka leads the conference assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.50. Over his past three games, he has 14 assists with just one turnover, including a seven-assist, zero-turnover effort vs. Stanford.
On the inside, freshman Ryan Anderson is having one of the best rookie campaigns in school history. Now averaging 16.8 ppg and 8.4 rpg, he is the only player in the Pac-10 to rate among the top five in the league in both scoring and rebounding. Anderson has tallied 402 points to become just the fourth freshman at Cal to top the 400-point level, and his 43 three-pointers are fourth on the school freshman chart.
Probable StartersPOS NO NAME HT WT YR PPG RPGF 23 Patrick Christopher 6-5 210 Fr 4.2 1.9Career-high 10 points vs. USC; 8 points, 4 rebounds at Stanford F 24 Theo Robertson 6-6 225 So 8.5 4.6Career-high 19 points at Oregon; 11 points, 8 boards, 4 assists at UWF 34 Ryan Anderson 6-10 235 Fr 16.8 8.4Top 5 in Pac-10 in scoring & rebounding; made 43 three-pointersG 1 Ayinde Ubaka 6-4 200 Sr 14.0 4.6 apg#26 in Cal history with 1,078 pts; season-high 26 pts at StanfordG 2 Omar Wilkes 6-4 185 Jr 10.1 2.0Leads Cal in FG shooting (50.8%); 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 198-133, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 531-368. 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.
Oregon Scouting Report
A Look at Oregon
Oregon jumped out to an 18-1 start this season and enters Thursday's game with a 20-5 overall mark. All five starters score in double figures for the Ducks, led by Aaron Brooks, who is contributing 17.6 ppg, 4.4 apg and 4.5 rpg. Oregon is the only team in the Pac-10 to have made more three-pointers than Cal, having drained 234 shots from behind the arc (37.4%).
Cal-Oregon Series History
Cal own a 70-52 all-time mark vs. Oregon, including six consecutive wins over the Ducks in Berkeley. Last year, the Bears swept three games in the series - two during the regular season and one in the Pac-10 Tournament semifinals. Back on Jan. 20 in Eugene, Cal took a 46-38 lead at the half, but Oregon came back to post a 92-84 victory. Theo Robertson paced the Bears with a career-high 19 points, while Ryan Anderson had 14 points and 10 boards.
Oregon Head Coach Ernie Kent
Ernie Kent is in 184-117 in his 10th season at Oregon. He has led the Ducks to three NCAA Tournaments, including an Elite Eight appearance in 2002, and a pair of NIT berths. Kent was also head coach at Saint Mary's from 1992-97, where he compiled a 90-80 mark.
For more information: www.goducks.com
Oregon State Scouting Report
A Look at Oregon State
Oregon State, which visits Stanford Thursday before facing Cal, broke a seven-game losing streak last Saturday with a 59-55 over Arizona State to give the Beavers a sweep of the season series with the Sun Devils. Marcel Jones, who leads OSU with 15.5 ppg, had 29 points in the first meeting with the Bears Jan. 18 in Corvallis.
Cal-Oregon State Series History
Cal holds a 70-56 series record vs. Oregon State and has won 16 of the last 18 meetings between the schools. In the first match-up this season, Ayinde Ubaka and Ryan Anderson scored 22 points apiece to lead the Bears to a 77-74 victory over the Beavers on Jan. 18. Overall, Cal has taken seven of the past eight at home over OSU, but the one loss was a 72-64 setback last season.
OSU Head Coach Jay John
Jay John is in fifth season as head coach at Oregon State, where he has a 65-82 record. His best year came in 2005 when he guided the Beavers to a 17-15 mark and a berth in the NIT. John was an assistant for 15 seasons, including stints at Oregon and Arizona.
For more information: www.osubeavers.com
Golden Bear Notes
Last Time Out: Washington State Downs Cal, 59-46
Daven Harmeling scored 26 points, sinking 5-of-7 from three-point range to lead Washington State (#14 AP/#14 ESPN/USA Today) to a 59-46 win over Cal last Saturday in Pullman, Wash. After trailing, 24-18, at the half, the Bears cut their deficit to one on an Omar Wilkes three-pointer and a Ryan Anderson layup. But WSU scored seven straight points and led by double figures most of the rest of the game. Alex Pribble got his first career start for Patrick Christopher, who was slowed by a sore groin. Anderson paced Cal with 13 points and nine rebounds, while Ayinde Ubaka had 11 points.
Stats Bear Out Importance of DeVon Hardin to Lineup
Since junior C DeVon Hardin suffered a stress fracture in his left foot Dec. 19, Cal's fortunes have taken a turn for the worst. During the first 11 games of the year, the Bears sported an 8-3 record with Hardin contributing 10.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg and, perhaps most importantly, 21 blocks. But in the 13 games since he was injured vs. Furman, Cal has gone 4-9 and the entire Bear team has only 16 blocks. A closer look at the statistics shows how much Hardin's presence, especially from a defensive standpoint, has meant to Cal this season. In the 11 games with Hardin, the Bears allowed just one team to shoot higher than 50 percent from the floor, but opponents have reached the threshold 10 times in the last 13 contests.
With Hardin Without HardinPPG 73.5 ppg 67.8 ppgOpp. PPG 61.4 ppg 75.6 ppgScoring Margin +12.1 -7.8RPG 33.7 rpg 29.8 rpgOpp. RPG 33.2 rpg 34.3 ppgRebound Margin +0.5 rpg -4.5Opp. FG% 40.6% 51.6%Opp. 3P% 28.5% 38.9%
Student-Athlete Academic Achievement Noted during Oregon Game
All Cal student-athletes who earned a 3.0 GPA or higher during the fall semester will be recognized at halftime of Thursday's Cal-Oregon game. Among with 430 Golden Bears who achieved at least a 3.0 GPA, eight are from men's basketball: Patrick Armstrong, Taylor Harrison, Nikola Knezevic, David Liss, Alex Pribble, Theo Robertson, Eric Vierneisel and Jordan Wilkes. Onna Poeter, an honors student who is a junior on Cal's NCAA champion women's rowing team, will sing the National Anthem.
Bears to Face Six Top 25 Opponents in Seven-Game Stretch
Cal completes a stretch with six ranked opponents over a seven-game span when the Bears host No. 15 Oregon Thursday. The Bears, though, are 0-7 vs. ranked teams so far this season. On Dec. 3, Cal fell to then-No. 24 Nevada (now No. 11 in the AP poll) by a 77-71 count at the Pete Newell Challenge. The other six losses have come in Pac-10 action. After the Oregon game, the Bears still have No. 5 UCLA, No. 22 USC and No. 19 Arizona ahead.
Anderson Could Break Powe's Freshman Rebound Mark
Just over halfway through the Pac-10 slate, freshman F Ryan Anderson has already moved into nine Cal freshman top-10 lists: points (4th, 402), points average (2nd, 16.8 ppg), rebounds (7th, 201), rebound average (T3rd, 8.4 ppg), field goals (T4th, 142), field goal shooting (T10th, 48.6%), three-pointers (4th, 43), free throws (T8th, 75) and free throw shooting (6th, 78.1%). Anderson's best chance for a school rookie record appears to be in rebounding. Projecting his 8.4 rpg average over the minimum 31 games the Bears are scheduled to play this year, he is on pace for 259 boards, which would top the mark of 256 set by Leon Powe in 2004.
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, and entering Thursday's game vs. Oregon, he is 26th with 1,078 points. Ubaka is the first Bear ever to have at least 1,000 points, 100 three-pointers and 300 assists. He already ranks sixth in the Cal record book in assists (385) and fifth in treys (140).
Cal Scoring Leaders 23. Andy Wolfe (1946-48) 1,11224. Ryan Drew (1988-91) 1,08625. Ed Gray (1996-97) 1,08226. Ayinde Ubaka (2004- ) 1,078
Cal 15th in Country in Fewest Turnovers per Game
Cal, which led the Pac-10 in fewest turnovers last season (12.4 per game), is committing just 11.8 topg this year - second in the league to Washington State (10.2 topg) and 15th among all Division I schools. The Bears have committed more than 15 just three times and 11 or fewer on 11 occasions. Cal had a season-low seven turnovers vs. Stanford Feb. 3 and just eight TOs in a 78-48 victory over Kansas State Nov. 29. The Bears also committed nine total turnovers vs. Washington State Jan. 11 and 10 five other times.
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 78.2 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 84.4 percent, while senior Ayinde Ubaka is shooting 81.2 percent. The school team record is 73.5 percent set in 1986-87.
NCAA Free Throw Leaders (through games of Feb. 11)1. California 291-372 78.2%2. Florida State 369-472 78.2%3. Villanova 415-534 77.7%4. Gonzaga 440-570 77.2%5. Utah State 372-482 77.2%
Anderson Could Be Third Freshman to Lead Cal in Scoring since '96
In contributing a team-high 16.8 ppg to date (No. 5 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, 8.4 rpg) this season.
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 79.2 ppg and 54.5 percent shooting in their 11 losses. Cal is 11-2 when holding teams to 70 or fewer points, but 1-10 when opponents score 71 or more.
Cal Out to Break Losing Streak
Cal enters this week's games in the midst of a six-game losing streak, the longest for the Bears since they also lost six in a row from Feb. 12 through March 3, 2005. Coincidentally, Cal was missing several of its key parts that season, as it is this year. During the 2004-05 campaign, F Leon Powe sat out the entire year following knee surgery, G Ayinde Ubaka missed 11 games with a broken foot and G Richard Midgley played almost the entire Pac-10 schedule with a strained shoulder. The Bears' last losing streak of more than six games was an eight-game skid from Feb. 9 to March 7, 1992.
Bears Face Nation's Ninth-Toughest Schedule in 2006-07
According to almost any measure, Cal is playing one of the most difficult schedules in the country this year. The highest ranking comes from the Sagarin Ratings, which put the Bears' strength of schedule at No. 3. Other high rankings are: collegerpi.com - #9, Ken Pomeroy's kenpom.com - #9, and CBS Sportline RPI - #10. Among the highly rated opponents for Cal (using the collegerpi.com list) are No. 1 UCLA, No. 6 Arizona, No. 24 Nevada, No. 27 Washington State, No. 28 Oregon, No. 40 Stanford, No. 46 Kansas State, No. 47 USC, No. 53 San Diego State and No. 64 DePaul.
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 doubtful for a return this year. 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 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 for those two games. Vierneisel returned vs. Stanford Feb. 3, but did not score. He had been averaging 9.4 ppg in Pac-10 games before the injury.
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.
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 ...
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 was installed inside the Club Room at Haas Pavilion prior to the start of the season ... 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.