Cal Starts Homestand with UNLV

Nov. 29, 2004

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UNLV Runnin' Rebels (1-1) at California Golden Bears (3-1)
Wednesday, Dec. 1, 8 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
TV: Comcast Cable

Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (2-3) at California
Saturday, Dec. 4, 7 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KFRC (610 AM)
TV: None

A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California returns to Haas Pavilion this week to start a three-game homestand, beginning with UNLV Wednesday. Fairleigh Dickinson then visits Berkeley Saturday before Colorado comes to town Dec. 7.

Down to just eight healthy scholarship players after last Tuesday's injury to starting G Ayinde Ubaka, the Golden Bears responded with one of their most impressive road wins in recent years at BYU Saturday. Not only did Cal defeat the Cougars, 67-64, but the victory snapped BYU's 18-game home winning streak and 40-game home win streak vs. non-conference opponents.

The Bears accomplished the feat with a bigger lineup that included 6-10 freshman DeVon Hardin among the starting five. Subbing for Ubaka, who broke a bone in his left foot vs. Southern and is expected to be out until at least mid-January, Hardin came through against BYU with 12 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks to key Cal's effort.

In fact, the Bears have won the rebounding battle their last two contests - 45-39 at BYU and 43-29 vs. Southern, with Hardin grabbing seven boards in 14 minutes vs. the Jaguars.

Sophomore Marquise Kately, who has moved from small forward to guard in the new lineup, is tied with Hardin for the team rebounding lead at 7.0 per game. He matched his average at BYU one game after posting his first double-double (14-11) against Southern.

Around the perimeter, junior G Richard Midgley has clearly found his stroke from three-point range. After a 3-for-5 long-range display at BYU, he is now 10-for-16 (62.5%) from behind the arc this year - a stark contrast to last season when he shot just 3-for-17 on treys over Cal's first five games. Still, Midgley ranks third on the Bears' career three-point chart, having made 41.2 percent of his attempts (94-228).

As a team, Cal has been particularly tough on opponent three-point shooters, limiting them to 25.0 percent (18-72). No team has yet to score more than 64 points vs. the Bears overall, with the team surrendering only 62.2 ppg. BYU shot just 32.8 percent overall from the floor - the lowest for a Cal foe since Arizona State managed a 30.9 percent rate last Jan. 10 in Tempe, which resulted in a 74-62 Cal win.

Golden Bear Notes

Bears Take Early Lead, Hold On for 67-64 Win at BYU
Freshman C DeVon Hardin had 12 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in his first start to lead Cal to a 67-64 win at BYU last Saturday in Provo, Utah. The victory snapped BYU's 18-game home winning streak and 40-game home string vs. non-conference opponents. In fact, the last non-league team to defeat the Cougars in Provo was Cal in 1998 (71-70). The Bears jumped out to a 6-1 lead and never trailed, building as much as a 48-36 advantage with 15:16 left. BYU eventually whittled its deficit to 66-64, but Martin Smith sank 1-of-2 free throws with 17 seconds left to give Cal a three-point edge. The Cougars then could not get off a three-pointer before the buzzer. In addition to Hardin, Richard Midgley added 15 points, while Rod Benson poured in a career-high 14 points and Marquise Kately had 10 points and seven rebounds.

Downtown is Midgley's Favorite Neighborhood
During his first two seasons at Cal, junior G Richard Midgley was clearly Cal's most consistent three-point threat. After setting a school freshman record by making 44.9 percent (44-98) of his long-range attempts in '02-03, he was 40-for-114 (35.1%) last year. Now, the native of Burgess Hill, England, is looking to put those numbers to shame. Through four games, Midgley is 10-for-16 from long range, including a 6-for-8 performance against Southern Nov. 23. For his career, he has connected on 94-of-228 treys, putting him in 11th place on Cal's all-time list and third in three-point percentage (41.2%).

Cal Career Three-Pointers9. Monty Buckley (1992-95)    10610. Lamond Murray (1992-94)    9911. Richard Midgley (2003- )   9412. Geno Carlisle (1988-99)    92

Career Three-Point Percentage1. Billy Dreher (1991-92) 43.1%2. Keith Smith (1987-90) 41.3%3. Richard Midgley (2003- ) 41.2%4. Bill Elleby (1989-92) 41.0%

Injuries Deplete Bears' Ranks Early in Season
Cal entered the 2004-05 knowing that three members of the roster would miss most, if not all, of the campaign - sophomore F Leon Powe (knee), freshman C Sam Rayburn (knee) and junior forward Jordi Geli (foot). Now, add sophomore G Ayinde Ubaka to the injured list, leaving the Bears with just eight healthy scholarship players. Ubaka, who started 29 of 31 games the past two years, fractured the fifth metatarsal of his left foot in the first half of Cal's Nov. 23 game vs. Southern. He underwent surgery the next day and is expected to miss up to eight weeks of action. Over the first three contests this season, Ubaka was averaging 7.7 ppg and 4.0 apg, shooting 53.3 percent from the floor and 62.5 percent (5-8) from three-point range.

Powe, the 2004 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, is on the sidelines following Sept. 8 reconstructive knee surgery. The first freshman in the history of the Pac-10 to lead the league in rebounding when he averaged 9.5 rpg last year, he also was Cal's leading scorer in 2003-04 with 15.1 ppg. In addition, Rayburn is rehabilitating from offseason knee surgery, while Geli's preseason foot surgery will keep him off the court for the near future.

Marquise Kately Becoming a Marquee Player for Bears
With 2004 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Leon Powe sitting out this year due to offseason knee surgery, sophomore F Marquise Kately knew he would be expected to carry much of the Bears' load - a task that has become even more urgent with the recent injury to Ayinde Ubaka. Cal's most consistent scorer and recipient of the team's Best Defensive Player Award in 2004, the 6-5 wing averaged 10.5 ppg and ranked ninth in the Pac-10 in shooting percentage (53.5%) en route to earning league All-Freshman honors last year. This season, Kately put together two of his finest performances in back-to-back games vs. Saint Mary's and Southern. After soaring to a career-high-tying 24 points against the Gaels Nov. 12, he posted the first double-double of his career with 14 points and a personal-best 11 rebounds vs. the Jaguars. He enters Wednesday's UNLV contest second on the team in scoring (14.3 ppg) and tied for first on the squad in rebounding (7.0 rpg).

3-Point Shot Returns as Big Weapon; Cal 3rd in NCAA in 3-Point Pct.
During the 2003-04 season, Cal ranked ninth in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting by sinking just 31.0 percent of its attempts from long range. But this year, the Bears have become one of the top long-distance teams in the country. Cal made at least 50 percent of its three-point tries in three of its first four contests - 6-8 vs. UC Riverside, 3-6 vs. Saint Mary's and 7-13 vs. Southern - and the Bears enter the UNLV game making 52.8 percent from behind the arc (19-36) - third in the country behind Charlotte (53.7%) and Miami (OH) (53.1%). Two players have already flirted with the Cal single-game record of 5-for-5 set by Amit Tamir vs. Arizona State in 2003. Freshman F Eric Vierneisel began his Cal career with a 4-for-4 three-point effort vs. UC Riverside, while junior G Richard Midgley sank his first six three-point attempts vs. Southern before finishing 6-for-8.

Hardin Hardly Plays Like a Freshman in Starting Debut
With G Ayinde Ubaka sidelined for up to eight weeks due to a broken foot, Ben Braun decided to replace him in the starting lineup with 6-10 freshman DeVon Hardin. And the rookie from Fremont, Calif., certainly made the Bears' head coach look smart. In 32 minutes against the Cougars, Hardin finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks. He converted a pair of three-point plays and ended the night shooting 4-for-7 from the floor and 4-for-6 from the line. As a reserve, Hardin's best performance came Dec. 23 vs. Southern when he totaled eight points and seven boards in just 14 minutes of action. For the year, he is shooting 60.0 percent from the field (9-15) and is tied for the team lead in both rebounding (7.0 rpg) and blocks (4).

Martin Smith Carries on Strong Walk-on Tradition
Since his arrival at Cal in the fall of 1996, head coach Ben Braun has had a knack for finding walk-ons who eventually became key cogs for the Golden Bears. Most notably, Ryan Forehan-Kelly (1999-02) developed into one of the top three-point shooters in school history, finishing his career with a 40.7 percent success rate from behind the arc (84-212). In addition, A.J. Diggs completed his tenure with the Bears last spring ranked No. 3 on Cal's all-time steals list with 158. Now add junior G Martin Smith to the mix. Son of the late Phil Smith, an All-Star guard with the Golden State Warriors in the 1970s, Martin is in his third season with the Bears and currently leads the squad with 14 assists (3.5 apg). He had a career-high seven assists vs. Southern and added six more in Cal's win over UC Riverside. Then at BYU last Saturday, Smith's free throw with 18 seconds left put the finishing touches on the Bears' 67-64 victory.

Cal Defense Stays Strong Early in Season
Through the first four games of the 2004-05 season, Cal's defense has consistently held opponents in check, limiting them to just 62.2 ppg on 37.3 percent field goal shooting and only 25.0 percent from three-point range. No team has yet to reach the 65-point barrier nor shot higher than 42 percent from the floor. Even in their lone loss, the Bears held Saint Mary's to 1-for-7 from three-point range and 19 total field goals. And after being out-rebounded in the first two games of the year, Cal has come back to post +14 and +6 margins against Southern and BYU, respectively.

Bears Post Big Road Win at BYU
How rare was Cal's 67-64 win at BYU last Saturday? Not only did the Bears break BYU's 18-game home winning streak, but they also snapped the Cougars' run of 40 wins in a row over non-conference games at the Marriott Center in Provo. In fact, the last non-league team to defeat BYU on its home court was Cal, which posted a 71-70 victory on Dec. 19, 1998. Since that triumph since years ago, however, the Bears prevailed in just two of their next 10 non-Pac-10 road games, with the only wins coming in November 2002 at New Mexico (76-68) and at Cleveland State (73-64 OT). In all games, Cal was only 2-9 away from home last season. The Bears now hope that the BYU decision signals a quick reversal to that trend.

Darrall Imhoff to Be Inducted into Pac-10 Hall of Honor
Darrall Imhoff, a standout center for the Bears from 1958-60 who led Cal to the 1959 NCAA championship, will be inducted into the Pac-10 Hall of Honor at a banquet March 9, prior to the Pac-10 Tournament in Los Angeles. In the '59 title game, Imhoff hit the winning basket with 17 seconds left to lift Cal to a 71-70 win over West Virginia. A two-time All-American, he also won a gold medal as part of the 1960 U.S. Olympic team in Rome. Imhoff went on to a 12-year NBA career, with All-Star Game appearances in 1966 and '67. He was inducted into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988. Every year, starting in 2002, the Pac-10 adds one person from each league school into the Hall of Honor. The other Golden Bears who have been recognized are: Pete Newell (2002), Kevin Johnson (2003) and Jason Kidd (2004).

Golden Bear Notes ...
Bear reserves are averaging 19.0 ppg, contributing a high of 36 points against UC Riverside; last season, Cal's bench provided only 14.2 ppg as the starters accounted for 78.8 percent of the team's scoring output ... Cal was picked to finish seven in the Pac-10 media poll ... up to 18 of Cal's regular-season games will be televised this year ... Cal will play three Mountain West Conference schools this season - BYU, UNLV and San Diego State ... the Bears are surrendering an average of just 25.0 ppg in first halves this year ... with both Leon Powe and Ayinde Ubaka currently nursing injuries, Cal has just 43.8 percent of its scoring back from last season's team ... DeVon Hardin, who is tied for the team leading in rebounding at 7.0 rpg, is averaging 15.8 rebounds per 40 minutes, far and away the highest on the squad.