Cal Visits Oregon, Oregon State
Jan. 26, 2004
California Golden Bears (8-8, 4-3) at Oregon Ducks (9-5, 4-3)
Thursday, Jan. 29, 7:30 p.m., McArthur Court, Eugene, OR
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
TV: Fox Sports Net
California at Oregon State Beavers (8-9, 2-5, vs. Stanford Jan. 31)
Saturday, Jan. 31, 7 p.m., Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, OR
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
TV: KRON (Channel 4)
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
* California concludes the first half of its Pac-10 schedule when the Golden Bears visit Oregon Thursday and Oregon State Saturday. In recent years, Cal has been rather successful on its trips to the northwestern state, taking two of the last three games at Oregon and eight in a row at OSU.
* Freshman F Leon Powe continues to lead the Pac-10 in rebounding at 9.7 rpg - the highest rate for a Golden Bear freshman ever (previous: 8.6 rpg by Bob McKeen in 1951-52). No Cal player has paced the league for an entire year since Mark McNamara in 1981-82.
* With its victories over USC and UCLA last week, the Bears posted back-to-back wins for the first time all season.
* In each of its four Pac-10 wins, Cal has limited its opponent to exactly 62 points. All season, only two foes have managed as many as 70 points against the Bears - Colorado (78) and Arizona (95).
* Defensively, Cal is limiting opponents to only 62.4 ppg - a figure that rates as the lowest by a Bear defense since 1984-85 (61.8), which was before the introduction of the shot clock. Cal is third in the Pac-10 in scoring defense this season behind only Washington State (57.6 ppg) and Stanford (60.4 ppg).
* Amit Tamir has connected on 17-of-40 three-point attempts in Pac-10 play (42.5%) and has moved into sixth on Cal's all-time list with 110 treys. He is a combined 15-for-24 from three-point distance (62.5%) in four career games at Oregon and Oregon State.
* Sophomore G Richard Midgley just missed his career high when he scored 22 points against USC last Thursday. His best was a 23-point performance against the Trojans in 2003.
* Cal is averaging 13.1 offensive rebounds per game, almost four more per game than its opponents. Leon Powe has pulled down a total of 54, or 3.6 per game by himself - best in the Pac-10 - and six players are averaging at least 1.0 per game.
Golden Bear Notes
Powe Powers Cal over UCLA, 76-62
Freshman F Leon Powe scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season to lead Cal to a 76-62 win over UCLA last Saturday in Haas Pavilion - the Bears' fourth consecutive homecourt victory over the Bruins. Cal jumped out to a 14-2 lead - going 4-for-4 from three-point range in the first 3:53 - before UCLA battled back for a 31-30 halftime lead. After intermission, the Bears went ahead for good at 44-42 on a Marquise Kately jumper with 12:17 left. Cal still held just a 62-58 advantage with 4:09 to go, but the Bears finished the game on a 14-4 run. In addition to Powe, Amit Tamir also had 19 points, while Ayinde Ubaka tied a career high with 13 points and Kately added 12.
Amit Tamir: Cal's Leading Duck Hunter
Throughout his career at Cal, senior C Amit Tamir has found more success against Oregon than any other school the Bears have faced. In four games vs. the Ducks, Tamir has averaged 25.3 ppg, shooting 61.2 percent from the floor (36-58) and 63.2 percent from three-point range (12-19). His best effort came in Berkeley on Feb. 9, 2002 when he soared to a career-high 39 points - the fifth-highest scoring performance in Cal history. Below is a look at Tamir's game-by-game statistics against Oregon.
Date Site FG-A 3P-A FT-A Reb PtsJan. 10, 2002 Eugene 8-14 3-4 0-0 3 19Feb. 9, 2002 Berkeley 14-19 5-6 6-8 5 39Jan. 9, 2003 Berkeley 8-13 2-4 7-7 4 25Feb. 8, 2003 Eugene 6-12 2-5 4-5 6 18
More Tamir: Senior Tied Gill Coliseum Three-Point Record in '03
Amit Tamir hasn't limited his success to Oregon in the Beaver State. In last year's contest in Corvallis, Tamir tied Gary Payton's Gill Coliseum record when he connected on seven three-pointers (in 11 attempts). He sank 6-of-7 long-range attempts in the first half and finished the game with 27 points (9-18 FG, 7-11 3P, 2-2 FT) and seven rebounds.
As Bears Mature, Stats Improve
With so many young players in Cal's rotation - four freshmen and a sophomore among the Top 6 players - it has taken time for the Bears to gel on the court. Through the nine non-conference games this year, Cal averaged just 61.9 ppg on 40.7 percent shooting from the floor and 22.2 percent shooting from three-point range. But since the start of the Pac-10 schedule, the Bears have significantly increased those numbers to 67.9 ppg, 45.9 percent from the floor and 36.7 percent from three-point distance. Cal has shot at least 45 percent from the field five times in seven league contests, compared to breaking the barrier just twice in the nine non-conference games.
'King Richard' Returns
Sophomore G Richard Midgley, a member of the 2003 Pac-10 All-Freshman team who ranked second in the league in three-point shooting last season (44.9%), struggled with his shooting touch out of the gate this year. He had sporadic success, as in his 21-point effort vs. Columbia Dec. 27, but was averaging just 8.0 ppg on 34.4 percent accuracy from the floor through December. But since the start of Pac-10 play, the 6-2 native of Burgess Hill, England, has significantly raised his level of play. Through seven league games, he is averaging 10.7 ppg, making 50.0 percent of his attempts from the field (25-50) and 40.0 percent from three-point range (12-30). He led the Bears with 19 points - all in the second half -at Stanford Jan. 17, then soared to a season-high 22 points vs. USC last Thursday. The two games marked the best back-to-back scoring efforts of his young career.
Defense Most Consistent Area for Cal
With such a young lineup on the floor, Cal has suffered through its share of inconsistencies this year, particularly on the offensive end. But it has been the Bears' defense that has been the team's most reliable area. According to statistics dated Jan. 26, Cal has held 13 of 16 opponents equal to or below their season scoring average, and only two teams have scored as many as 70 points -- Colorado (78) and Arizona (95). BYU, for example, managed just 46 points, more than 28 below its average of 74.6 ppg, while Washington tallied only 62 points, 18 fewer than its 80.0 ppg average. Last Thursday, USC scored 62 points after coming into the game averaging 79.1 ppg. For the year, Cal is limiting opponents to 62.4 ppg - a figure that rates as the lowest by a Bear defense since 1984-85 (61.8), which was before the introduction of the shot clock.
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. He opened his career with five straight double-doubles -- the longest points-rebounds run since Mark McNamara had eight consecutive double-doubles from Dec. 22, 1981 through Jan. 16, 1982. Powe has paced Cal in rebounding (or at least tied for team honors) in every game but one that he has played this year (at Arizona State). He grabbed a best of 15 rebounds vs. Washington Jan. 2, added 13 boards vs. Saint Joseph's Dec. 20 at the Pete Newell Challenge and snagged 14 caroms against UCLA Jan. 24. 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 Dec. 28 - which accounted for 56.8 percent of Cal's team total of 44 points - and he is pouring in 15.4 ppg.
Three-Point Shot Returning as Key Weapon for Cal
California entered its Jan. 2 Pac-10 opener against Washington ranked next-to-last in the country in three-point shooting at 22.2 percent. And three-fourths of the way through the contest, the Bears further secured their position by making just 2-of-14 from behind the arc. But during a stretch of 3:34 that began with 5:26 on the clock, Cal showed that it could drain the long-range jumper. During that span, the Bears sank six consecutive three-pointers, including four from senior C Amit Tamir. Now, Cal sports three players who are at or above the 40-percent level in conference play - Tamir (42.5%, 17-40), Ayinde Ubaka (41.7%, 10-24) and Richard Midgley (40.0%, 12-30). After leading the team with 61 three-pointers last season, Tamir was just 7-for-35 from three-point range before the start of conference action.
Cal Career Three-Point Leaders5. Bill Elleby (1989-92) 1356. Amit Tamir (2001- ) 110
Marquise Kately Becoming a Marquee Player for Bears
Freshman Marquise Kately, a 6-5 forward out of San Francisco's Riordan High School, has quickly become a key factor for the Bears in his first season at the collegiate level. With double-figure scoring efforts in four of his last six games, including team highs of 18 points at Arizona and 17 points at Arizona State, Kately has raised his overall rate to 9.8 ppg. And he has done it in a most efficient manner, sinking at least 50 percent of his field goal attempts in eight of his last 11 games. Now with a season field goal percentage of 52.7 percent, he has been even better since the start of Pac-10 play. In seven conference games, Kately is averaging 11.4 ppg on 54.8 percent shooting. As a high school player, Kately led Riordan to the 2002 state title and was voted the 2002 California state Player of the Year.
With Powe on Board, Cal Winning the Rebounding Battle
Perhaps the greatest area of improvement for Cal this season is on the glass, where the Bears are out-rebounding their opponents by a 35.1-31.8 margin. In fact, the Bears have been out-hustled on the boards just four times in 16 games this season. Cal's largest differential has been +13, a feat the Bears have accomplished twice - vs. Washington Jan. 2 (42-29) and at Arizona Jan. 8 (43-30). Freshman Leon Powe leads the pack at 9.7 rpg, while senior Amit Tamir is pulling down 5.2 rpg and Dominic McGuire, after an 11-rebound effort at UA, is at 3.8 rpg.
Growing Pains: Bears Are 2-5 in Games Decided by 5 Points or Less
With four freshmen and a sophomore among Cal's top six players, the Bears are having a difficult time pulling out wins in close contests. Of Cal's eight losses, five have been by five points or less, including two by two points and one by one point. Cal Poly tipped in a missed shot with under five seconds left to claim the season-opener, 63-62, while the Bears had buzzer-beating three-pointers bounce out in 59-57 setbacks to UNLV and Saint Joseph's. In addition, the slow-down style of Air Force and Washington State produced a pair of five-point losses. Cal's two close wins of the year came Nov. 26 when Amit Tamir's follow gave the Bears a 47-46 victory over BYU and Jan. 22 with a 63-62 triumph over USC.
Ayinde Ubaka Beginning to Feel Comfortable at the Point
Freshman PG Ayinde Ubaka, who has started all but the season opener this year, is quietly having one of the better seasons for a rookie point guard in school history. To date, the Oakland High School product is averaging 7.4 ppg and a team-high 3.6 apg. He has 58 assists to just 30 turnovers - a nearly 2-to-1 ratio. In Pac-10 play, he dished out a high of eight assists vs. Washington and has 27 assists to only 12 turnovers in league action. Ubaka has twice scored as many as 13 points (vs. Washington and UCLA). Over his past four games, he is shooting 47.6 percent from the floor (well above his season rate of 35.8%) and 53.8 percent from three-point range (7-13).
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 (except at Arizona when senior Gabriel Hughes started for an injured Powe). So far, the freshman foursome has combined to score 572 of the Bears' 1032 total points (55.4 percent). Powe paces Cal in scoring (15.5 ppg) and rebounding (9.7 rpg), while Ayinde Ubaka is tops in assists (3.6 apg) and Dominic McGuire leads in blocks (15). Marquise Kately also had a game-high 18 points vs. Wyoming and at Arizona and is shooting a team-best 52.7 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.
A.J. Diggs Moves into Top 5 on Career Steals List
Senior G A.J. Diggs, a former walk-on who received a scholarship before the start of his junior campaign, has moved into fourth place on Cal's all-time steals list with 142. Diggs, who paces the Bears with 22 steals this year, 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 Leaders3. Kevin Johnson (1984-87) 1554. A.J. Diggs (2001- ) 142
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 fourth position in career steals (142). 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 has had his playing time increase significantly in recent weeks. At Arizona Jan. 8, for example, he played 19 minutes and finished with three points, five rebounds and a career-high six assists. Typically Cal's first guard off the bench, Smith averages 1.8 ppg and 1.2 apg, and he is the Bears' top free throw shooter at 83.3 percent (10-12).
Golden Bear Notes ...
Cal players are wearing black patch with 'A.L. #31' stitched in pink on their uniforms in memory of Alisa Lewis, a Cal women's basketball players who died Jan. 19 from meningitis ... 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 honors this season: Playboy All-American, one of 50 preseason candidates for the John Wooden All-America team, one of 30 preseason candidates for the Naismith National Player of the Year prize, and one of 30 candidates for the Senior Class Award given to the nation's top senior ... 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 www.CalBears.com or call (800) GO BEARS.