Bears Host Washington in Pac-10 Opener

Dec. 29, 2003

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

Washington Huskies (4-3, vs. Columbia 12/30) at California Golden Bears (4-5)
Friday, Jan. 2, 7 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
TV: None
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)

Washington State Cougars (6-4, at Stanford 1/2) at California
Sunday, Jan. 4, 6 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
TV: KRON (Channel 4)
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)

A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
* California opens the 2004 Pac-10 season with home games against Washington Friday and Washington State Sunday. The contests conclude a four-game homestand before the Bears embark on a three-game swing to Arizona, Arizona State and Stanford.

* Cal easily shot a season high from the floor in its 85-66 win over Columbia last Saturday, making 59.6 percent of its attempts (31-52). The Bears' previous best this season was a 45.1 percent effort vs. UC Irvine Dec. 3. The last time Cal shot better than 59.6 percent was against South Florida on Jan. 20, 2001 (60.5%, 26-43).

* Richard Midgley's 21 points vs. Columbia were just shy of his career high of 23 points set against USC last Jan. 23. It marked just the second time he's topped the 20-point barrier in a game. Over his past four games, Midgley is 15-for-28 from the floor (53.6%) and 6-for-13 (46.2%) from three-point territory. In the previous five games, he was just 7-for-36 from the field (19.4%).

* Senior Amit Tamir has moved into 10th place on the Cal career three-point chart with 93 treys. Tamir led the Bears with 61 three-pointers last season - third most in the Cal record book.

* Cal is just 1-6 in Pac-10 openers under head coach Ben Braun, but the one win was a 72-59 victory over Stanford last season.

* The Bears, who have alternated wins and losses in their nine games this season, have not won back-to-back contests since sweeping Washington and Washington State at home last Feb. 13-15.

* Freshman Leon Powe was voted MVP of the Office Depot Golden Bear Classic after averaging 21.0 ppg and 7.5 rpg in two games - 17 points, 8 rebounds vs. Columbia; 25 points, 7 rebounds vs. Air Force. He shot 11-for-18 from the field and 20-for-26 from the free throw line. Powe has led Cal in rebounding in every game this season, with a high of 13 boards against Saint Joseph's, and he has six double-doubles on the year.

Golden Bear Notes

Late Run Pushes Air Force Past Cal, 49-44
Air Force outscored Cal 16-6 over the final 6:19 to capture the Office Depot Golden Bear Classic at Haas Pavilion Sunday night. The Bears took a 38-33 lead with 8:06 to go, but couldn't score again until they trailed by five points with 3:40 on the clock. After cutting its deficit to 43-42, Cal had two chance to take the lead, yet did not convert either time. Leon Powe was the only Bear in double figures, scoring 25 points to grab tournament MVP honors. Richard Midgley, who had 21 points in the opening 85-66 win over Columbia, also made the all-tournament team.

Cal Seeks Second Straight Pac-10 Opening Win
In his first seven seasons at Cal, head coach Ben Braun has posted a 73-55 Pac-10 record (57.0%) - the highest winning percentage for a Golden Bear coach in conference games since Pete Newell was 62-26 (70.5%) from 1955-60. But until last year's 72-59 victory over Stanford, Braun was 0-6 in league openers. The win over the Cardinal helped catapult Cal to a 7-0 start in the Pac-10. Now, the Bears are aiming for their second consecutive triumph to begin conference play when they host Washington Friday night in Haas Pavilion. In home Pac-10 openers, Cal has won its past three games and is 4-3 overall under Braun.

At Last - Cal Tops 50% Shooting in Victory over Lions
After having not reached the 50-percent plateau from the floor in any game this season heading into its match-up with Columbia last Saturday, Cal finally showed the ability to put the ball in the basket with ease in its 85-66 win over the Lions. The Bears made 60.9 percent of their attempts in the first half and finished the game at 59.6 percent - a rate that topped any contest last season (best of 59.1% at Oregon). Freshman Dominic McGuire, in his second start of the year, led the charge by sinking 5-of-6 from the field, while sophomore Richard Midgley, who entered the game just 12-for-46 (26.1%), was 8-for-12, including 3-for-5 from three-point range, for a season-high 21 points.

Leon Powe Living Up to His Nickname - 'The Show'
On his way to earning McDonald's All-America honors at Oakland Tech High School, F Leon Powe was deemed 'The Show' for his exploits on the court. And since arriving at Cal this fall, the freshman has lived up to that moniker. In the Cal Poly opener, Powe became the first Golden Bear freshman to record a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds) in his debut effort since Jason Kidd had 11 points and 10 assists vs. Sacramento State in 1992. He eventually ran his double-double streak to five games, the longest points-rebounds run since Mark McNamara had eight consecutive double-doubles from Dec. 22, 1981 through Jan. 16, 1982. No Golden Bear has averaged a double-double for an entire season since Brian Hendrick in 1991-92 (16.1 ppg, 10.7 rpg).

Powe has paced Cal in rebounding (or at least tied for team honors) in every game this year, and his current rate of 9.7 rpg ranks second the Pac-10. He grabbed a best of 13 rebounds vs. Saint Joseph's Dec. 20 at the Pete Newell Challenge. In addition, Powe owns the high scoring output for a Cal player with 27 points vs. UC Irvine Dec. 3. Throw in his 25-point effort vs. Air Force - which accounted for 56.8 percent of Cal's team total - and he is fifth in the Pac-10 in scoring at 16.8 ppg.

Freshman Class Makes Immediate Impact on Lineup
Cal's recruiting class, which was ranked among the Top 10 in the country by several recruiting services, has made its presence felt this season. After starting just one rookie - F Leon Powe - in the Cal Poly opener, head coach Ben Braun has had three freshmen in the opening lineup in every game since. So far, the freshman foursome has combined to score 327 of the Bears' 557 total points (58.7 percent). Powe paces Cal in scoring (16.8 ppg) and rebounding (9.7 rpg), while Ayinde Ubaka is tops in assists (3.4 apg) and Dominic McGuire leads in blocks (7). Marquise Kately also had a game-high 18 points vs. Wyoming and is shooting 50.7 percent from the floor. The Nov. 26 BYU game marked the first time that Braun started at least three newcomers since 1999-2000 when he started three, and sometimes four, first-year players most of the year. That class featured Joe Shipp, Brian Wethers, Donte Smith, Shantay Legans and Nick Vander Laan and finished 18-15 while reaching the quarterfinals of the NIT.

Marquise Kately Hitting His Stride
Over his last six games, freshman F Marquise Kately has been one of Cal's most consistent performers, shooting 58.7 percent from the floor (27-46). He reached double figures for the first time this year vs. UC Irvine (5-7 FG, 11 points), then, after a six-point outing at Colorado, led the Bears with 18 points vs. Wyoming (7-11 FG) and with 16 points (7-10 FG) vs. Saint Joseph's. For the year, the 6-5 wing out of San Francisco is shooting a team-best 50.7 percent from the field.

A.J. Diggs Moves into Top 5 on Career Steals List
With two steals against Wyoming Dec. 9, senior G A.J. Diggs moved into sole possession of fifth place in Cal history. He enters this week's games with 136 steals. The 5-10 former walk-on, who received a scholarship before the start of his junior campaign, owns a team-best 16 steals this season. Diggs had a season-high four steals at UNLV and was the catalyst in starting Cal's comeback bid from a 20-point second-half deficit, helping jump-start a 16-0 run. He was also the key element in a 14-0 spurt midway through the first half vs. UC Irvine, coming away with two of his three steals during the stretch. Diggs led the Bears in steals as both a sophomore (47 in 2001-02) and junior (57 in 2002-03). In addition, he tied Jason Kidd's Cal single-game record with eight steals at Cleveland State on Nov. 30, 2002, and he set a school NCAA Tournament mark with six steals against North Carolina State in a first-round game last March.

Cal Career Steals Leaders1. Jason Kidd (1993-94)	    2042. Butch Hays (1981-84)     1663. Kevin Johnson (1984-87)  1554. Michael Chavez (1980-83) 1405. A.J. Diggs (2001- )      136

While Offense Struggles, Defense Keeping Cal in Games
Through nine games, the Bears are shooting just 40.7 percent from the floor and averaging 61.9 ppg. Yet, despite the offensive struggles, Cal's defense has been holding its own. The Bears are surrendering only 59.1 ppg, while they are outrebounding opponents by a 34.6-31.0 margin, have swiped 73 steals (8.1 spg) and forced 162 turnovers (18.0 topg). Cal limited BYU, which has averaged 82.5 ppg in its eight other games this season, to 46 points in a 47-46 victory Nov. 26. Cal also held UNLV to only 22 points in the second half last and Wyoming to just 23 points in the second stanza.

Martin Smith Carries on Strong Walk-on Tradition
Ever since his arrival at Cal, head coach Ben Braun has had the knack of finding walk-on players who have become key contributors to the Bears. Five walk-ons eventually earned scholarships, including a pair of current players - A.J. Diggs and Conor Famulener. Ryan Forehan-Kelly (1999-02) finished his career ranked fifth on Cal's career three-point shooting list (40.7%), while Diggs holds down the fifth position in career steals (136). Now, sophomore Martin Smith is bidding to join the select group. The son of the late Phil Smith, a two-time NBA All-Star, Smith saw the most significant action of his young tenure with the Bears vs. Wyoming, when he had six points, four rebounds and three assists in 15 minutes. He was the key catalyst to Cal's 15-0 run in the first half that gave the Bears the lead for good. Smith played in 15 games last season and has a career 18-6 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Senior Amit Tamir Hauls in Preseason Honors
Senior F/C Amit Tamir - the only player in the league to earn both All-Pac-10 and first team Pac-10 All-Academic honors last year - received his fair share of awards heading into the 2003-04 campaign. One of 10 players on the Playboy All-America team, Tamir is also one of 50 preseason candidates for the John Wooden All-America team and one of 30 preseason candidates for the Naismith National Player of the Year prize. In addition, Lindy's magazine placed Tamir on its five-player All-Pac-10 squad for 2004.

Cal Career Three-Point Leaders8. Monty Buckley (1992-95)  1069. Lamond Murray (1992-94)   9910. Amit Tamir (2001- )      93

Golden Bear Notes ...
Jason Kidd, who earned National Freshman of the Year honors in 1993 and Pac-10 Player of the Year recognition in 1994, will have his No. 5 jersey retired before the Feb. 14 Stanford game ... sophomore F Erik Bond announced in early December that he plans to transfer and he has been given his scholarship release ... senior G A.J. Diggs attended the Public Policy International Affairs fellowship program for seven weeks at Princeton University over the summer ... Cal has sold out its student section for the 2003-04 season ... for individual games tickets, visit or call (800) GO BEARS.

Now on Pac-12 Network
6:00 PM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network
Get Pac-12 Networks
Pac-12 Networks Channel Finder