No. 20 Cal Starts 4-Game Road Trip at ASU
Jan. 27, 2003
California Golden Bears (14-2, 7-0) at Arizona State Sun Devils (12-6, 4-3)
Thursday, Jan. 30, 7 p.m. MT / 6 p.m. PT, Wells Fargo Arena, Tempe, AZ
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
California at Arizona Wildcats (15-1, 7-0, vs. Stanford 1/30)
Saturday, Feb. 1, 5 p.m. MT / 4 p.m. PT, McKale Center, Tucson, AZ
TV: Fox Sports Net
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California embarks on its toughest road trip of the season this week, starting with games at Arizona State and Arizona. The Bears then journey to Oregon and Oregon State Feb. 6-8, meaning Cal will face three teams in the Top 35 of the RPI in consecutive road contests (ASU 35th, Arizona 2nd, Oregon 30th).
So far, the Bears are a perfect 4-0 on opponent homecourts this season, including a sweep of the Washington schools two weeks ago.
Overall, Cal is riding an eight-game winning streak - the school's longest since a similar run at the end of the 1992-93 season. The Bears have not won nine in a row since posting 19 straight in 1960.
Now tied for first place in the Pac-10 with top-ranked Arizona with a7-0 league record, Cal is ranked 20th in this week's Associated Press poll - the team's highest since the Bears were 20th in January 1995.
Senior F Joe Shipp continued his stellar play against the Bruins Saturday, posting his second double-double of the season with 23 points and 10 rebounds. In Pac-10 competition, the two-time Pac-10 Player of the Week is pouring in 23.3 ppg and grabbing 7.4 rpg, all while shooting 61.9 percent from the floor, 50.0 percent from three-point range (12-24) and 88.6 percent from the free throw line.
Shipp's frontcourt teammate, sophomore Amit Tamir, also had a strong outing vs. UCLA (20 points, 10 boards). The 6-11 Israeli has reached double figures in 13 consecutive games, topping the 20-point barrier on seven occasions.
In the backcourt, freshman Richard Midgley has raised the level of his play recently. After scorching the nets for a career-best 23 points vs. USC, he had 12 points against UCLA - all in the second half. Midgley is shooting 54.9 percent from the floor - tops among Cal's starters.
In addition, senior G Brian Wethers is in the midst of his most consistent season, having reached double digits in scoring in all 16 games, including 18 vs. Stanford in the Pac-10 opener and 17 more against the Bruins.
Off the bench, junior F Conor Famulener, a former walk-on, pulled down a personal-high 10 rebounds vs. UCLA - double his previous best of five.
Bears Put UCLA Away Early in 80-69 Victory
Senior F Joe Shipp (23 points, 10 rebounds) and sophomore F Amit Tamir (20 points, 10 rebounds) both recorded double doubles as Cal cruised to its third straight win over UCLA. The Bears raced out to a 32-13 lead and saw their advantage fall below 10 points only once the rest of the way. Although Cal's bench did not score, reserve F Conor Famulener added a career-high 10 boards and tied personal bests with four assists and two steals.
Cal Off to Best League Start in 46 Years
At 7-0 in Pac-10 action, Cal is off to its best conference start since the 1957 season when the Bears began 10-0 in the old Pacific Coast Conference under Pete Newell. Cal had been 3-0 in league action several times in the past 46 years, but never as good as 4-0. Even during Cal's NCAA Final Four runs of 1959 and '60, the Bears lost early in league play both years. In addition, the Bears are 14-2 overall and have won at least 14 of their first 16 games for the first time since they were 28-1 in 1960 under Newell before losing in the NCAA final.
Bears on Rare 4-Game Pac-10 Road Trip
With upcoming games at Arizona State and Arizona this week and at Oregon and Oregon State next weekend, Cal is embarking on its first four-game Pac-10 road trip since Jan. 23-31, 1987 when the Bears visited the same four schools. That season, Cal opened with an 82-81 double overtime victory at Arizona, then lost to ASU (61-53), Oregon (86-73) and OSU (59-57). The Bears also traveled to the Arizona and Oregon schools in succession in 1982, finishing the road venture with a 2-2 mark. Prior to the formation of the Pac-10 in 1979, four-game road swings were much more common.
Eight-Game Winning Streak Best since 1993
Entering this week with an eight-game winning streak that started with a 77-70 overtime win over San Francisco Dec. 30, the Bears own their longest victory run since also winning eight in a row in 1993 - a string that ended with a 93-76 loss to Kansas in the NCAA Sweet 16. If Cal can defeat Arizona State Thursday, the Bears would have their longest winning streak since claiming 19 straight from Jan. 4 through March 18, 1960.
Bears Seek First 8-Game League Run since 1960
With a 7-0 Pac-10 record heading into Thursday's game at Arizona State, Cal is seeking its first eight-game league winning streak since the Bears won 11 in a row in the old Pacific Coast Conference in 1960. That year, the Bears lost their conference opener to USC (65-57), then reeled off 11 consecutive league victories. Cal went on to finish 28-2 overall and 11-1 in the PCC, eventually reaching the final of the NCAA Tournament.
Big Three Contribute 68.4 Percent of Scoring
How much does Cal rely on the scoring ability of Joe Shipp, Amit Tamir and Brian Wethers? Try 68.4 percent of the team's total - a figure that, if it holds up the rest of the year, would be the school's highest as far back as complete statistics are available (1949-50 season). The only trio to come close was the combination of Lamond Murray, Jason Kidd and Monty Buckley, who provided 67.8 percent of the Bears' output in 1993-94. Murray led the conference in scoring with 24.3 ppg, while Pac-10 Player of the Year Kidd averaged 16.7 ppg and Buckley added 12.8 ppg. Prior to this season, no Ben Braun-coached team had a threesome average more than 56.1 percent of a squad's total (1998-99 - Geno Carlisle, Thomas Kilgore and Sean Lampley). Last year, Shipp, Tamir and Wethers, who were Cal's top three scorers in 2001-02, contributed 45.1 percent of the Bears' points.
Shipp in Rare Company with Five 30-Point Games
With four 30-point outings so far this season and another against Fresno State last year, senior forward Joe Shipp has joined just seven other Cal players with five career 30-point games. The next time he reaches 30, Shipp will tie the school record of six held by Ed Gray (1996-97) and Mark McNamara (1981-82). In addition, Shipp's four 30-point outbursts this year are only two off the Cal season record - Gray reached 30 six times in 1997. Shipp's career high is 35 points established against Oregon State Jan. 11 - a feat that helped him earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors.
Shipp Could Be 5th Bear in 10 Years to Lead Pac-10
Senior F Joe Shipp, who has averaged 23.3 ppg on 61.9 percent shooting from the floor and 50.0 percent shooting from three-point range since the start of conference play, has taken over the Pac-10 scoring lead with an overall rate of 20.9 ppg. If he can maintain that position for the rest of the season, he would become the fifth Bear in the last 10 years to pace the conference. Lamond Murray averaged 24.3 ppg in 1994, while Shareef Abdur-Rahim (21.1 ppg in 1996), Ed Gray (24.8 ppg in '97) and Sean Lampley (19.5 ppg in '01) also topped the league. Abdur-Rahim, Gray and Lampley earned Pac-10 Player of the Year honors in the seasons they led the Pac-10.
Donte Smith Makes '02-03 Debut vs. Trojans
Senior G Donte Smith, who underwent surgery for a torn quadriceps muscle in September, made his season debut against USC last Thursday. In five minutes of second half action, Smith scored five points, including a three-pointer to give Cal a 59-58 lead with 6:46 to go, and dished out an assist (0 turnovers). Smith also played eight minutes vs. UCLA.
Haas Pavilion Winning Streak at 15 Games
Now 10-0 at Haas Pavilion this season, Cal has run off a 15-game winning streak on its home floor dating back to last year. The streak ties for the fourth-longest on-campus string in school history and tops the old Haas record of 14 in a row set from March 4, 2000 to Feb. 1, 2001. Over the past two seasons, Cal is 27-1 in Berkeley - the only loss was a 68-58 setback to Arizona - while the Bears' record since the start of the 2000-01 season is aPac-10 best 41-4. Cal's longest home win streak ever was 26 games from 1958-60.
Shipp Jumps to 12th on Scoring Chart
Senior F Joe Shipp, who leads the Bears with 20.9 ppg, has jumped 17 spots on Cal's career scoring list this season. After entering the year in the 29th spot, he now holds the 12th position with 1,369 points, passing such notable alumni as Mark McNamara, Larry Friend, Ed Gray and Andy Wolfe. Shipp has reached double figures in every game, and he is shooting a career-best 45.3 percent (29-64) from three-point range. With 14 more points, he will claim 11th place at Cal, topping Roy Fisher's 1,382 points scored from 1988-91.
Tamir, Shipp Post Double Double-Double
In Cal's 80-69 win over UCLA last Saturday, both senior F Joe Shipp (23 points, 10 rebounds) and sophomore F Amit Tamir (20 points, 10 rebounds) had double-doubles, marking the first time two Cal players accomplished the feat since Sean Lampley (25 points, 10 assists) and Nick Vander Laan (14 points, 12 rebounds) teamed to help the Bears defeat Georgia, 85-64, on Dec. 21, 2000 in Oakland. The Oakland Arena was also the site of the last double points-rebounds double-double - Lampley (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Carl Boyd (14 points, 15 rebounds) in an 85-67 victory over UCLA on Feb. 13, 1999.
In addition to Shipp and Tamir, junior F Conor Famulener pulled down a career-high 10 boards last week vs. UCLA, giving the Bears three players with at least 10 rebounds for the first time since Jason Kidd (11), Lamond Murray (11) and Michael Stewart (10) did it vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay in the first round of the 1994 NCAA Tournament (lost, 61-57).
Three-Point Shot a Big Factor Again
Last season, Cal shot a Pac-10-worst 31.4 percent from three-point range, the lowest rate at the school in three years. But in 2002-03, the Bears are on the other end of the spectrum, ranking second in the league at 38.9 percent (102-262). Cal has connected on at least 50 percent of its tries five times, including a best of 61.1 percent (11-18) vs. Howard. Sophomore F Amit Tamir leads this year's unit with 32 treys in 73 attempts (43.8%), while senior F Joe Shipp is 29-for-64 (45.3%) and freshman G Richard Midgley is 19-for-42 (45.2%). The school team record is 38.7 percent set by the 1989-90 club. Shipp is also creeping up Cal's career list with 146 triples, good for third place behind only Ryan Drew (214, 1988-91) and Randy Duck (153, 1994-97).
25-Point Nights Becoming Common for Tamir
At 6-11, 260 pounds, sophomore F Amit Tamir looks like he should be Cal's dominant player near the basket. And in fact, he leads the Bears with 6.9 rpg, including four double-doubles and a career-high 14 boards vs. Howard. But Tamir's game is not limited to the area just around the hoop. Cal's second-leading scorer at 17.0 ppg, he tops Cal in three-pointers made (32, 43.8%). His most important triple came against USF Dec. 30 when his three-pointer with 3.7 seconds left in regulation sent the contest into overtime, a game the Bears won, 77-70. Tamir has scored at least 25 points four times this season, including a 26-point outing at Washington. His other big nights came against Georgia (27 points), San Francisco (26) and Oregon (25). In addition, he is second on the team in assists (3.0 apg) and is second on the squad in free throw shooting (84.0%). Before missing against Stanford Jan. 4, Tamir had made 23 straight from the free throw line, and he has sunk 54 of his last 61 attempts (88.5%).
Wethers Report: Senior Reigns on Both Ends
According to coach Ben Braun, senior guard Brian Wethers, Cal's most athletic player, has the ability to dictate play on both ends of the court. And Wethers displayed his all-around skill to its fullest at the EA Sports Golden Bear Classic in late December. In earning tournament MVP honors, Wethers averaged 16.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 4.0 apg. In addition, he helped hold Louisiana-Lafayette's high-scoring guard Brad Boyd to just 6-for-17 shooting in the championship game. Later, he kept Oregon's Luke Jackson without a field goal for the first 36 minutes in Cal's Jan. 9 win. Wethers, who has tallied at least 10 points in every game this season, has twice scored 18 points - at Cleveland State and vs. UL-Lafayette. He ranks third on the team in scoring (13.9 ppg), first in assists (3.1 apg) and third in rebounding (4.6 rpg). He leads all current players on the roster with 199 career assists.
Midgley Cool Competitor as a Freshman
Guard Richard Midgley may be just a freshman in eligibility, but the collegiate rookie has displayed a level of maturity on the court usually reserved for more veteran players. Now averaging 9.9 ppg, he is shooting 54.9 percent from the floor, including a perfect 5-for-5 outing vs. Louisiana-Lafayette, and 45.2 percent (19-for-42) from three-point range. For his efforts, head coach Ben Braun rewarded him a spot in the starting lineup, beginning with the Pac-10 opener vs. Stanford. Midgley scored a career-best 23 points vs. USC, and he has averaged 13.5 ppg over his past four games.
Bears Sport International Flair
On a campus that prides itself on diversity, the Cal basketball team sports a roster that includes players from three foreign countries. Sophomore forward Amit Tamir hails from Jerusalem, Israel, while freshman guard Richard Midgley is a native of Burgess Hill, England, and freshman forward Jordi Geli Vilardell came to Berkeley by way of Girona, Spain. By no means does this trio represent all of the overseas players who have suited up for Cal under head coach Ben Braun. Others who have needed student visas before joining the squad include Sean Marks (New Zealand, 1995-98), Shahar Gordon (1999-00, Israel), Francisco Elson (1998-99, The Netherlands) and Saulius Kuzminskas (2001, Lithuania).
Fathers and Sons Share Athletic Backgrounds
Four members of the 2002-03 Cal team can point to their fathers as men who paved their way into the athletic arena. Junior guard A.J. Diggs, for example, is the son of Shelton Diggs, who was a wide receiver at USC from 1973-76 and played for the NFL's New York Jets in 1976. Redshirt-freshman forward Erik Bond hails from a family of basketball players - his father, Jay, starred at Washington, while both of this brothers (Jason at Gonzaga and Jesse at Saint Mary's) played at the collegiate level. In addition, freshman forward David Paris is the son of former San Francisco 49er lineman Bubba Paris, and freshman guard Martin Smith is the son of the late Phil Smith, who played college basketball at San Francisco and was a two-time NBA All-Star.
Bear Notes ...
Junior G A.J. Diggs tied Jason Kidd's school record with eight steals at Cleveland State; Kidd had eight steals vs. Washington on Jan. 28, 1993 ... Cal's +22 rebound margin vs. Grambling (53-31) was its largest since posting a +25 advantage vs. Texas Southern (47-22) on Nov. 30, 1996 ... head coach Ben Braun has moved into second place on Cal's all-time coaching list with 132 wins, passing both Pete Newell (119-44, 1955-60) and Lou Campanelli (123-108, 1986-93) this season ... seven former Bears were on NBA opening night rosters this year: Jason Kidd (Nets), Lamond Murray (Raptors), Shareef Abdur-Rahim (Hawks), Michael Stewart (Cavaliers), Sean Marks (Heat), Sean Lampley (Heat) and Jamal Sampson (Bucks).