Cal to Meet Jayhawks in Kansas City Saturday
Dec. 7, 2005
California Golden Bears (6-1) vs. Kansas Jayhawks (3-4)
Saturday, Dec. 10, 11 a.m. CT/9 a.m. PT, Kemper Arena, Kansas City, MO
Radio: KYCY (1550 AM)
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California takes its six-game winning streak on the road for a match-up against Kansas in an ESPN nationally televised game at 11 a.m. CT (9 a.m. PT) Saturday at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo.
The Golden Bears, who started the season missing several key parts due to injury, are finally rounding into health and the results are beginning to show. The six-game run is the team's longest since an eight-game spurt midway through the 2002-03 season, and Cal's 80.0 ppg scoring average is nearly 13 ppg more than the Bears poured in last year.
The major focus of Cal's offense is sophomore F Leon Powe, who was named Pac-10 Player of the Week Monday after tossing in 26.5 ppg and grabbing 10.0 rpg in wins over San Jose State and Akron last week. He followed up those efforts with a 22-point, eight-rebound, three-assist performance vs. San Diego State Tuesday night in Haas Pavilion.
Powe, who went 629 days between games (March 11, 2004 to Nov. 30, 2005) due to a pair of left knee surgeries and a minor stress fracture in his right foot, was the 2004 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and is rated the No. 1 power forward in the country by CBS Sportsline.
Alongside Powe on the front line is sophomore C DeVon Hardin, who is contributing 13.3 ppg, 7.9 rpg and 60.0 percent field-goal shooting. Named MVP of the Golden Bear Classic, he had a personal-high 23 points vs. Northeastern Nov. 26.
On the perimeter, senior G Richard Midgley reached the 1,000-point level for his career after contributing 17 points vs. San Diego State. He has drained 13-of-23 three-point attempts over his last four games and rates fourth in school history with 151 career triples.
As a team, the Bears are shooting an even 40.0 percent from beyond the arc, up from 32.0 percent last year and 31.0 percent in 2003-04. Cal was 10-for-18 on three-pointers vs. SDSU, making at least 10 in a game for the first time since Feb. 5, 2004 vs. Arizona.
With a three-guard starting lineup that includes junior Ayinde Ubaka and sophomore Omar Wilkes, the Bears have committed just 88 turnovers in six games (or 12.6 per contest) and own a +6.00 turnover margin. In fact, Cal has had fewer turnovers than its opponent in every game this year.
In addition, the Bears hold a significant advantage at the free throw line, where they have outscored opponents, 124-58. After a 14-for-18 effort vs. San Diego State, Cal is making 72.1 percent of its free throw attempts - a far higher rate than in either of the past two seasons (62.8% in 2003-04; 62.7% in 2004-05).
Cal Coach Ben Braun
Ben Braun (Wisconsin '75), the second-winningest coach in Cal history, is in his 10th year in Berkeley and 29th season as a collegiate head coach. His record at Cal stands at 172-111, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 505-346. 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 six times in his first nine 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. 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.
Golden Bear Notes
Cal Wins Sixth Straight, 82-64, over San Diego State
Sophomore F Leon Powe had 22 points and eight rebounds and Cal sank 10-of-18 three-pointers, as the Golden Bears defeated San Diego State, 82-64, Tuesday night in Haas Pavilion for their sixth straight victory. Trailing 22-20 with 8:06 left in the first half, Cal went on a 14-0 run for a 34-22 lead and didn't let the Aztecs within 10 points the rest of the way. Senior G Richard Midgley, who finished with 17 points (5-9 FG, 4-5 3P, 3-3 FT), became the 34th player in school history to score 1,000 in his career, reaching the level with a three-point play early in the second period. The Bears also welcomed back senior F/C Rod Benson, who had missed four of Cal's first six games with a stress fracture in his heel. Benson had eight points (3-3 FG, 2-2 FT) in 13 minutes.
Bears Find Success Behind the Arc
After ranking last in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting the last two years, Cal is finding its range behind the arc this season. Following Tuesday's 10-for-18 performance vs. San Diego State, the Bears are sinking an even 40.0 percent (48-for-120) of their long-range attempts. In fact, Cal has shot at least 33 percent from three-point range in every game this season. Senior G Richard Midgley has made 13 of his last 23 attempts (56.5%) and is 17-for-35 overall (48.6%), while junior G Ayinde Ubaka, who entered the year with a career 27.6 three-point percentage rate, is 16-for-41 (39.0%). Midgley set a school freshman record in 2002-03 when he drained 44.9 percent (44-98), but a sprained right shoulder affected him most of last year when he was 50-for-144 (34.7%) on three-point tries.
Cal Three-Point Shooting Last Three Seasons2005-06 48-120 40.0% 6.86 three-pointers per game2004-05 110-344 32.0% 3.79 three-pointers per game2003-04 127-410 31.0% 4.54 three-pointers per game
Powe-tent Force Back for Bears
Leon Powe, on the sidelines for more than a year and a half due to both knee surgery and a stress fracture in his right foot, has returned to action seemingly without missing a beat. In his first three games on the court this season, the 6-8, 240-pound forward has averaged 25.0 ppg and 9.3 rpg while shooting 62.8 percent from the floor. He tied a career high with 27 points (11-18 FG, 5-9 FT) and snared a game-best 10 rebounds vs. San Jose State Nov. 30, then chipped in 26 points and 10 more rebounds against Akron Dec. 3 to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors (announced Dec. 5). Powe also had 22 points and eight rebounds vs. San Diego State Tuesday night. He now has 16 career double-doubles and has led Cal in rebounding in 28 of the 30 games he has played. Powe first underwent a pair of surgeries on his left knee in 2004 that kept him out all of the '04-05 campaign. Cleared to play last May, he earned MVP honors at the San Francisco Pro-Am and averaged 23.6 ppg and 10.4 rpg during Cal's trip to Italy over the summer. But just before the Bears' exhibition game vs. Humboldt State Nov. 14, Powe was diagnosed with a minor stress fracture in his right mid-foot, putting a hold on his return until the San Jose State contest.
Cal Boasts Longest Win Streak since 2003
Now in the midst of a six-game winning streak, Cal's run is the best for the team since an eight-game spurt from Dec. 30, 2002 to Jan. 25, 2003. That season - the last year the Bears reached the NCAA Tournament - Cal defeated San Francisco, then won its first seven Pac-10 games. The Bears went on to finish 22-9 overall and 13-5 in the Pac-10 (third place), reaching the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Richard Midgley Hits 1,000 vs. San Diego State
Senior G Richard Midgley became the 34th player in school history to score 1,000 career points when he reached the plateau vs. San Diego State Tuesday. After matching his season high with 17 points against the Aztecs, Midgley ended the night with 1,003 points, which ties him with Randy Duck for 33rd place.
Cal Career Scoring Leaders30. Mark McNamara 1981-82 1,04131. Monty Buckley 1992-95 1,03532. Charlie Johnson 1969-71 1,025T33. Richard Midgley 2003- 1,003T33. Randy Duck 1994-97 1,003
Bears Winning Turnover Battle
Football coaches regularly emphasize winning the turnover battle as a key to success on the gridiron. And the margin can be just as important in basketball. So far this year, Cal has been on the positive end of the turnover margin in every game and owns a season average of +6.00. Overall, the Bears have forced 130 turnovers, while committing just 88 themselves. Other than a +1 margin vs. Long Beach State, the difference has been at least five in the other six contests, reaching a high of +8 vs. both Eastern Michigan and Northern Colorado.
Bears Find Free Throw Line Twice as Nice
Through the season's first seven games, Cal has earned more than twice as many trips to the free throw line as its opponents, 172-83. As a result, the Bears have outscored their foes, 124-58, at the charity stripe, or by 9.4 ppg. The biggest difference in attempts came vs. Northeastern (30-2), while Cal had a 33-8 advantage vs. Akron. DeVon Hardin leads the Bears with 41 attempts, and although he is shooting just 65.9 percent, that rate is significantly higher than last season's 38.6 percent pace. He was 8-for-9 vs. Akron last Saturday. Leon Powe, meanwhile, has taken 31 free throws shots in just three games. In addition, five players are sinking better than 77 percent of their free throw tries, led by Martin Smith (8-for-8, 100%) and Richard Midgley (17-for-19, 89.5%). After ranking eighth in the Pac-10 in free throw shooting last year (62.7%), the Bears are shooting 72.1 percent as a team this season.
Cal Scoring Up Significantly from Last Season
By scoring more than 80 points in five of seven games this year, Cal has produced a season scoring rate of 80.0 ppg, a nearly 13-ppg jump from the 67.4 ppg the Bears averaged last season. Cal has not averaged 75 ppg or more for a full campaign since 1996-97, while only one team in school history has poured in more than 80 ppg (83.9 ppg, 1970-71). This year's Bears reached a high of 89 points vs. Akron and also tallied 88 points against Long Beach State.