Cal to Face Oregon State in Pac-10 Tournament
March 5, 2007
California Golden Bears (14-16, 6-12) vs. Oregon State Beavers (11-20, 3-15)
Thursday, March 7, 6:12 p.m., Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: Fox Sports Net
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California opens the Pac-10 Tournament Wednesday when the eighth-seeded Golden Bears play No. 9 seed Oregon State at 6:12 p.m. at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. If Cal wins, the Bears will face top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals at 2:50 p.m. Thursday in a rematch of last year's championship contest.
Cal swept both regular-season games vs. Oregon State this year, and the Bears have won 17 of their last 19 meetings with the Beavers. On Jan. 18 in Corvallis, Cal emerged with a 77-74 victory behind 22 points each by Ayinde Ubaka and Ryan Anderson.
The Bears also prevailed on Feb. 17 in Haas Pavilion with an 84-80 overtime decision, as freshman Patrick Christopher (24 points) and sophomore Theo Robertson (21 points) both set career scoring highs.
For the season, the Bears have been competing with just nine healthy scholarship players since junior C DeVon Hardin injured his left foot Dec. 19, and they have responded by setting a school record with 223 three-pointers made. Ubaka (51) and Anderson (50) are the first Cal tandem to make at least 50 in the same season.
In addition, the Bears are virtually guaranteed to set a Cal mark for free throw accuracy, having connected on a Pac-10-leading 77.3 percent from the charity stripe. The Bears' top six scorers are all shooting higher than 77 percent, led by freshman Jerome Randle (82.7%) and junior Omar Wilkes (81.5%).
Anderson, the top-scoring freshman in the Pac-10 with 15.9 ppg, also paces the Bears in rebounding with 7.8 per game. He has reached double figures in points in 27 of 30 games, and his total of 477 points in third on Cal's rookie list behind only Shareef Abdur-Rahim (590 points, 1995-96) and Brian Hendrick (478, 1989-90).
Ubaka, who was voted to the Pac-10 All-Tournament squad last year, is contributing 13.6 ppg and a career-best 4.4 apg. He has averaged 21.5 ppg in two games vs. Oregon State this season and keyed the road win over the Beavers with 20 of his 22 points in the second half. Ubaka enters Wednesday's contest with 1,148 points, which ranks 22nd on Cal's all-time list. He is also fourth in career assists (407) and fifth in career three-pointers (152).
Probable StartersPOS NO NAME HT WT YR PPG RPGF 24 Theo Robertson 6-6 225 So 8.8 4.3Career-high 21 points vs. Oregon State 2/17 (6-8 FG, 1-1 3P, 8-10 FT) F 31 Alex Pribble 6-4 215 Sr 0.7 1.2Has started 5 games this year; 4 steals vs. USC at homeF 34 Ryan Anderson 6-10 235 Fr 15.9 7.821 points at UCLA; 50 three-pointers (#2 on Cal frosh list) G 1 Ayinde Ubaka 6-4 200 Sr 13.6 4.4 apgRanks 22nd in Cal history with 1,148 pts; career-best 132 assistsG 2 Omar Wilkes 6-4 185 Jr 10.1 2.0Team-high 16 points vs. ASU 3/3; at least 9 points in 21 games
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 200-137, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 533-372. 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 State Scouting Report
A Look at Oregon State
Oregon State enters the Pac-10 Tournament as the ninth seed. The Beavers are led by Marcel Jones, who averages 15.1 ppg, and Sasa Cuic's 12.0 ppg. Jones had 29 points in the first Cal-OSU game this season, most for a Bear opponent in 2006-07. Cuic paces the squad with 42 three-pointers, while freshman Josh Tarver has a team-best 121 assists.
Cal-Oregon State Series History
Cal holds a 71-56 series record vs. Oregon State and has won 17 of the last 19 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. Cal also claimed the rematch Feb. 17 in Berkeley with an 84-80 overtime decision. Both Patrick Christopher (24 points, 11 rebounds) and Theo Robertson (21 points) set career highs, while Ubaka tossed in 21 points.
Oregon State Head Coach Jay John
Jay John is in fifth season as head coach at Oregon State, where he has a 66-84 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: Cal Falls to Arizona State, 42-41, in Home Finale
Derek Glasser grabbed a long offensive rebound and hit a three-pointer from the top of the key with 14 seconds left to lift Arizona State to a 42-41 win over Cal last Saturday in Haas Pavilion. The Bears had one final shot at the win, but Theo Robertson missed on his own three-point attempt with three seconds to go. Neither team could mount much of an offense throughout the game, and both teams went scoreless the final 6:51 except for Glasser's basket. Cal's 41-point output was its lowest since scoring 37 points vs. Washington State in 1988. Omar Wilkes paced the Bears with 16 points, 14 of which game in the first half when Cal built a 25-21 lead.
Cal vs. Oregon State in the Pac-10 Tournament
Cal owns a 2-1 record vs. Oregon State in the Pac-10 Tournament. The Bears picked up a 64-57 victory in the 1987 quarterfinals behind 15 points from Kevin Johnson and 14 points by Jon Wheeler. Two years later, OSU defeated Cal, 79-66, in the quarterfinal round. The teams last met in the 2003 quarters, with the Bears winning, 69-46. Richard Midgley scored a team-best 12 points for Cal, which held the Beavers to a tournament-record-low point total.
A Quick Look Back: Bears Reach Tourney Final in 2006
Behind a Most Valuable Player performance by Leon Powe, Cal reached the Pac-10 Tournament final for the first time last season. In the quarterfinals, Powe had 22 points and a tournament-record 20 rebounds to lead the Bears to an 82-67 win over USC. Powe then scored a tournament-record 41 points in a 91-87 double OT victory over Oregon in the semifinals. However, the Bears came up short in their chance for the championship with a 71-52 setback to UCLA. In addition to Powe, Ayinde Ubaka was voted to the all-tournament team after averaging 17.0 ppg in the three games.
Anderson, Ubaka Named NABC All-District
Senior G Ayinde Ubaka and freshman F Ryan Anderson have both been named to the second-team All-District 14 squad by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Ubaka, who was also a second-team choice last year, is averaging 13.6 ppg and a career-best 4.4 rpg. Anderson leads the Bears in both scoring (15.9 ppg) and rebounding (7.8 rpg).
Bears Break Three-Point Record
With 223 three-pointers this season, Cal has soared past the old school record of 198 set during the 2002-03 campaign. Six different players have made at least 20 shots from behind the arc, and for the first time in school history, two Bears have connected on at least 50 treys. Ayinde Ubaka paces the squad with 51 three-pointers, followed closed by Ryan Anderson and his 50 threes. The others with 20 or more are: Omar Wilkes (36), Jerome Randle (24), Theo Robertson (23) and Eric Vierneisel (22).
Cal Team Three-Pointer List1. 2006-07 2232. 2003-03 1983. 1989-90 1964. 1994-95 189
Bears Face One of Nation's Toughest Schedules 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. 6. Other high rankings are: collegerpi.com - #8, Ken Pomeroy's kenpom.com - #13, CBS Sportsline RPI - #13 and ESPN's InsideRPI - #13. Among the highly rated opponents for Cal (using the collegerpi.com list) are No. 1 UCLA, No. 15 Arizona, No. 19 Nevada, No. 25 Oregon, No. 27 Washington State, No. 40 Stanford, No. 46 San Diego State, No. 49 USC, No. 55 Kansas State and No. 61 DePaul.
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 the Pac-10 Tournament, he is 22nd Cal record book with 1,148 points. Ubaka is the first Bear ever to have at least 1,000 points, 100 three-pointers and 300 assists. He already ranks fourth in the Cal record book in assists (407) and fifth in treys (152).
Cal Scoring Leaders 20. Richard Midgley (2003-06) 1,17621. Michael Chavez (1980-83) 1,16222. Ayinde Ubaka (2004- ) 1,148
Cal 13th 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 11.6 topg this year - second in the league to Washington State (10.5 topg) and 13th among all Division I schools. The Bears have committed more than 15 just three times and 12 or fewer on 14 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 at USC Feb. 24, and 10 seven other times.
Bears on Record Free Throw Pace, Rank No. 3 in 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. 3 in the country at 77.3 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 82.7 percent, while junior Omar Wilkes is at 81.5 percent. The school team record, almost certain to be broken, is 73.5 percent set in 1986-87.
NCAA Free Throw Leaders (through games of March 4)1. Villanova 532-683 77.9%2. Utah State 441-570 77.4%3. California 357-463 77.3%4. Air Force 406-528 76.9%
Cal 3-1 on Neutral Sites This Season
Cal finished the regular season with a 3-1 mark in neutral-site contests. Back in November, the Bears won all three of their games at the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage to claim the tournament title. Cal opened with a 72-70 win over Marshall, then defeated Hawaii, 72-56, and Loyola Marymount, 78-70. The Bears' lone setback was a 77-71 decision to Nevada at the Pete Newell Challenge in San Jose.
The Hardin Difference: Cal Defense Suffers without Center
Most clearly, the turning point in Cal's season came on Dec. 19 when junior C DeVon Hardin suffered a stress fracture to his left foot in a win over Furman that has kept him on the sidelines the rest of the year. With the 6-11 Hardin in the line-up, the Bears posted an 8-3 record, but they are just 6-13 since the injury. The biggest hit without the Cal big man has been on the defensive end, as the Bears went from allowing just 61.4 ppg and 40.6 percent field goal shooting to 73.9 ppg and 50.0 percent. Hardin had been averaging 10.7 ppg and 8.4 rpg with 21 blocks before he was hurt. Hardin's 21 blocks equals Cal's entire team total for the Pac-10 regular season.
With Hardin Without Hardin (11 games) (19 games)PPG Offense 73.5 ppg 67.1 ppgPPG Defense 61.4 ppg 73.9 ppgScoring Margin +12.1 -6.8Rebounding Margin +0.5 -5.4FG% Defense 40.6% 50.0%3P% Defense 28.5% 37.0%Blocks 38 23
Anderson Will Be Third Freshman to Lead Cal in Scoring since '96
In contributing a team-high 15.9 ppg to date, F Ryan Anderson should 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.
Cal Freshman Scoring Leaders1. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1996) 21.1 ppg2. Ryan Anderson (2007) 15.9 ppg3. Leon Powe (2004) 15.1 ppg4. Brian Hendrick (1990) 14.9 ppg
Cal Keeping It Close in Pac-10 Wins
All six of Cal's Pac-10 wins this season have been by five points or less or decided in overtime. The Bears' largest margin was a 77-69 overtime decision against Washington on Jan. 11. Cal also won by two points over Oregon Feb. 15 (63-61), by three at Oregon State Jan. 18 (77-74) and by four over Stanford Jan. 3 (67-63), Arizona State Dec. 30 (66-62 OT) and Oregon State (84-80 OT) Feb. 17.
Anderson Logging Heavy Minutes as a Freshman
Having been on the court for 985 minutes this season, forward Ryan Anderson is just the second freshman during the Ben Braun era to log more than 900 minutes. The other was PG Shantay Legans, who played 952 minutes in 1999-2000. The only other Cal freshmen to play at least 900 minutes since 1990 are: Shareef Abdur-Rahim (972, 1995-96), Jason Kidd (922, 1992-93) and Brian Hendrick (996, 1989-90).
Wilkes Shows His Accuracy across the Board
Entering the Pac-10 Tournament, junior G Omar Wilkes leads the Bears in field goal shooting (49.8%) and three-point shooting (40.0%), while ranking second in free throw accuracy (81.5%). In Cal's final regular-season contest vs. Arizona State, he paced the team with 16 points - just two off his career high - sinking 6-of-9 from the floor and all three of his attempts from beyond the arc. For the year, Wilkes is contributing 10.1 ppg and has reached double figures 18 times. He is also tied for the team lead with 22 steals.
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 has not returned 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, but since coming back to the lineup, he is scoring just 2.6 ppg.
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 weekend. 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 ...
Cal is 3-0 in overtime games this season ... Cal is 12-4 when holding opponents to 70 points or less, but 2-12 when opponents score 71 or more ... 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 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) ... 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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