Cal Hosts Stanford Thursday Night
Feb. 7, 2006
Stanford Cardinal (12-7, 8-3) at California Golden Bears (14-6, 8-3)
Thursday, Feb. 9, 7:30 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYCY (1550 AM)
TV: Fox Sports Net
A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California enters the final stretch of the regular season with five home dates in its last seven games, starting with Thursday's contest between two teams tied for second place in the Pac-10 standings. Cal and Stanford, both 8-3 in the league race, are just one game behind conference-leader UCLA.
The Golden Bears have won four straight and five of their past six games behind a defense that is allowing just 64.2 ppg - lowest at the school in 20 years. Cal has surrendered more than 60 points only one time in the last three weeks.
At 14-6 overall, the Bears already own more victories than they had in either 2003-04 or '04-05. Cal is 5-2 on the road in Pac-10 play for the first time since 2001, while the Bears' 9-1 record in Berkeley gives them the highest homecourt winning percentage of any team in the league.
Sophomore F Leon Powe paces Cal in both scoring (18.6 ppg) and rebounding (10.7 rpg). Although he had his run of six consecutive double-doubles snapped with a 15-point, nine-rebound effort at Oregon last Saturday, his streak was the longest for a Bear since Mark McNamara posted eight straight double-doubles in 1981-82.
Powe is also on pace to become the first Cal player to average at least 10 points and 10 rebounds since Brian Hendrick in 1991-92 (16.1 ppg, 10.7 rpg). His 16 boards at Oregon State last Thursday was a career best and a high for any Pac-10 player this year.
In the backcourt, junior G Ayinde Ubaka has raised his season scoring rate to 15.2 ppg after pouring in 20 points in the victory at Oregon. Now the league leader in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.80), Ubaka had 10 assists and only one turnover in last week's outings.
In addition, Ubaka (10) and Powe (9) have the two longest active double-digit scoring streaks in the Pac-10.
Senior G Richard Midgley, now tied for 22nd on Cal's all-time scoring list with 1,112 points, also ranks second in career three-pointers at the school with 172. This season, he has connected on 38-of-89 from long distance (42.7%), which puts him sixth in the conference. As a team, the Bears are virtually tied for first in the Pac-10 with Washington State in three-point shooting: WSU 38.58%, Cal 38.56%.
Probable StartersPOS NO NAME HT WT YR PPG RPGF 44 Leon Powe 6-8 240 So 18.6 10.7C 35 DeVon Hardin 6-11 235 So 8.5 7.0G 1 Ayinde Ubaka 6-4 200 Jr 15.2 4.1 apgG 2 Omar Wilkes 6-4 185 So 9.0 1.5G 15 Richard Midgley 6-3 195 Sr 10.2 2.7
Cal Head 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 180-116, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 513-351. 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.
Stanford Scouting Report
A Look at Stanford
Stanford enters Thursday's game tied with Cal for second place in the Pac-10 standings. The Cardinal has won five in a row and eight out of nine, with the only setback an overtime loss at Arizona. Chris Hernandez averaged 24.0 ppg in last week's sweep in Oregon, sinking a combined 15-of-24 from the floor, 8-of-12 from three-point range and 10-of-10 at the free throw line against the Ducks and Beavers. Matt Haryasz ranks among the top four in the conference in both scoring (4th, 18.5 ppg) and rebounding (2nd, 9.3 rpg).
Cal-Stanford Series History
Cal holds a 137-109 series lead over Stanford, but the Cardinal has won 16 of the past 18 games, including the past six. Earlier this season, Stanford claimed a 75-61 decision on its home floor. The Bears' most recent victory was a 72-59 win on Jan. 4, 2003 in Berkeley. The series is the oldest in Cal history, dating back to the 1911-12 season.
Stanford Head Coach Trent Johnson
Trent Johnson has a 30-20 record in his second season at Stanford and a 109-94 career mark that includes five years at Nevada. Johnson guided Nevada to the Sweet 16 of the 2004 NCAA Tournament and Stanford to the NCAA first round last year.
For more information: www.gostanford.com
Golden Bear Notes
Last Time Out: Cal Edges Oregon, 62-60, for Weekend Sweep
Despite being hobbled by a sprained ankle suffered midway through the second half, junior G Ayinde Ubaka scored 20 points to help Cal hold off Oregon, 62-60, for the Bears' fourth straight win. Cal trailed by as many as seven points in the first half before Ubaka's three-pointer at the buzzer handed the Bears a 31-28 lead at the break. Up 62-59 after a Theo Robertson free throw with five seconds left, Richard Midgley fouled UO's Aaron Brooks with 1.2 seconds remaining to prevent a tying three-pointer. Brooks made one free throw and missed the second on purpose. The Ducks tipped the rebound out, but Brooks' final shot did not hit the rim. Leon Powe finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, falling just shy of his seventh consecutive double-double.
Bears Perfect on Thursdays in Pac-10 Action
Cal enters this week's game against Stanford hoping to maintain its perfect Pac-10 record on Thursday nights. To date, the Bears are 5-0 on Thursdays, with three of those wins coming on the road: 62-58 at USC, 88-58 at Arizona State and 69-52 at Oregon State. Inside Haas Pavilion, Cal has already defeated Oregon, 77-66, and Washington, 71-69. On other days of the week, the Bears are 0-1 on Fridays and 3-2 on Saturdays.
Cal Boasts Best Home Mark in Pac-10 This Season
With a 9-1 record in Berkeley this season, Cal owns the highest homecourt winning percentage (90.0%) of any team in the Pac-10. The Bears won their first seven games at Haas Pavilion before dropping a 72-64 decision to Oregon State Jan. 7. But Cal responded with a sweep of Washington and Washington State in its next homestand Jan. 26-28. Starting Thursday vs. Stanford, five of the Bears' final seven games are on Pete Newell Court.
Powe's Double-Double Streak Ends at Six Games
Sophomore F Leon Powe finished last Saturday's game at Oregon with 15 points and nine rebounds, falling just short of a try for a seventh consecutive double-double. His run of six in a row, during which he averaged 17.8 ppg and 12.2 rpg, was the longest streak at Cal since Mark McNamara ran off eight straight double-doubles during the 1981-82 season. Powe's previous long stretch was five in a row, which he set in the first five games of his freshman campaign in 2003-04. Currently the Pac-10 leader with 10.7 rpg, Powe also paced the conference with 9.5 rpg his freshman year and could become just the second Cal player to top the league twice since 1960; McNamara was the other in both 1981 and '82. The only other Bears to lead the conference even once since '60 were Darrall Imhoff (1960) and Bill McClintock (1961).
Bears Improve FG Percentage Defense in Pac-10
When Cal completed the non-conference portion of its season, the Bears ranked last in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to convert 45.3 percent of their shots. But since the start of league action, Cal has lowered the rate to 41.8 percent - a figure that now stands third in the Pac-10. The Bears have limited six conference foes to 40 percent or less from the field, with a best of 31.9 percent at Oregon State last week. In addition, Cal ranks second in Pac-10 games only in scoring defense, giving up 62.2 ppg (UCLA is first at 61.1 ppg).
Cal Exceeds '03-04 and '04-05 Win Totals with Victory at Oregon
With its 62-60 victory at Oregon this past Saturday, Cal picked up its 14th win of the season, giving the Bears one more triumph than they had for the entire 2003-04 and 2004-05 campaigns when they finished 13-15 and 13-16, respectively. Already, Cal has more Pac-10 wins (8) and more conference road wins (5) than it had last year, as well. In fact, the Bears are 5-2 in Pac-10 road games for the first time since 2001, and one more victory will give them six Pac-10 road wins for the first time since they were 6-3 away from home in 1993.
Bears Clutch from Free Throw Line
With the game on the line, the Bears have proven to be clutch performers from the free throw stripe this season. In the final two minutes of games, Cal is a collective 59-for-77 (76.6 percent), and no one has been better than junior G Ayinde Ubaka. To date, Ubaka is 24-for-27 (88.9%) in the final two minutes, and as the chart shows below, his performances have been key factors in six of the Bears' eight Pac-10 wins. Overall, Ubaka is draining 82.9 percent from the charity stripe (68-82), a rate he has improved to 83.9 percent in conference action (52-62). Prior to this season, he was a career 68.5 percent foul shooter.
Opponent Key Ubaka Free Throws Resultat USC Hit 2 FT with 3 seconds left with Cal ahead, 60-58 W, 62-58at UCLA Hit 2 FT with 21 seconds left with Cal up, 62-59 W, 68-61vs. Oregon Goes 6-6 from FT line in final 37 seconds W, 77-66vs. Washington Goes 3-4 from FT line in final 36 seconds W, 71-69vs. Washington St. Hit 2 FT with 21 seconds left to give Cal 55-51 lead W, 55-53at Oregon Hit 2 FT with 16 seconds left to give Cal 61-55 lead W, 62-60
Powe-tent Force on the Block for Bears
Now averaging 18.6 ppg and 10.7 rpg, sophomore F Leon Powe is on pace to become the first Golden Bear to average a double-double since Brian Hendrick in 1991-92 (16.1 ppg, 10.7 rpg). Already named a third-team midseason All-American by SportsIllustrated.com, Powe leads the Pac-10 in rebounding by 1.4 per game over Stanford's Matt Haryasz, while he own a +2.6 rpg lead over Haryasz in league games only (11.3 to 8.7).
Powe, who was on the sidelines for more than a year and a half due to both left knee surgery and a stress fracture in his right foot, earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors Dec. 5 after scoring 27 points vs. San Jose State and 26 points against Akron - his first two games of the season. The 27 points tied his career best, a figure he matched again vs. Oregon Jan. 5. Even when he totaled just five points at UCLA (second lowest of his career), Powe contributed a game-high 12 rebounds vs. the Bruins. Overall, he owns 24 career double-doubles and has led Cal in rebounding in 39 of the 43 games he has played, including 14 of 16 this year. Powe's 16 rebounds at Oregon State last Thursday are the high for a Pac-10 player this season.
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 Allowing Fewest Points in 20 Years
Cal enters Thursday's game vs. Stanford surrendering an average of only 64.2 ppg - the lowest rate allowed by the Bears since the 1985-86 squad gave up 63.4 ppg (when a 45-second shot clock was in use and before the introduction of the three-point line). Cal has given up more than 70 points just four times, while holding opponents to 60 or fewer points on eight occasions. During its current four-game win streak, the Bears have surrendered an average of 58.5 rpg.
Cal Using Consistent Starting Lineup This Season
Cal enters Thursday's Stanford game having opened with the same starting lineup in 16 consecutive contests - dating back to Leon Powe's return from a foot injury Nov. 30 vs. San Jose State. The Bears began the year with a fivesome of DeVon Hardin, Richard Midgley, Theo Robertson, Ayinde Ubaka and Omar Wilkes starting three of Cal's first four games. Eric Vierneisel subbed for Midgley in Game 2 vs. Long Beach State (Midgley sat out the contest with a shoulder stinger). But beginning with the year's fifth game, Cal has had a consistent starting five of Hardin, Midgley, Powe, Ubaka and Wilkes.
Bears Find Three-Point Shooting to Their Liking This Season
After ranking last in the Pac-10 in three-point shooting the last two years, Cal has found its range behind the arc this season. Not only are the Bears in a virtual tie with Washington State for the league lead from the three-point distance (38.58% to 38.56%), but three players - Omar Wilkes, Richard Midgley and Ayinde Ubaka - have combined to drain 42.6 percent of their tries (100-235). Only one Cal squad has shot as high as 38 percent for an entire season - the 1989-90 team that sank a school-record 38.7 percent from three-point range.
Cal Three-Point Shooting Last Three Seasons2005-06 118-306 38.8% 5.90 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
Ayinde Ubaka is Cal's Iron Man at the Point
In averaging 36.6 minutes per game, junior G Ayinde Ubaka ranks second in the Pac-10 to Arizona State's Kevin Kruger (38.4 mpg). Ubaka has played all 40 minutes twice - at UCLA and vs. Oregon - and has been on the court for 411 of a possible 440 minutes in conference action. He has played at least 35 minutes in every game this season, except vs. Northern Colorado, when he played 28 minutes, and at Oregon, when a sprained ankle limited him to 32 minutes.
Bears Take Advantage of Free Throw Opportunities
Not only is Cal forcing its way to the free throw line more than its opponents, but the Bears are taking advantage once they reach the charity stripe. To date, Cal has attempted 457 free throws to its opponents' 292 and is outscoring them, 327-208, or by an average of 6.0 ppg. The Bears have had at least twice as many FT attempts as their opponents nine times. In addition, Cal is shooting 71.6 percent from the line, far higher than their 62.7 percent success rate last year or 62.8 percent rate in 2003-04. The last time Cal shot as high as 70 percent for an entire season was in 1995-96 (70.1%). Individually, two starters are at 80 percent or higher - Ayinde Ubaka at 82.9 percent (68-82) and Richard Midgley at 81.6 percent (31-38). Despite playing four fewer games than his teammates, Leon Powe has attempted a team-best 149 free throws and has taken 10 or more in a game eight times. He is shooting 68.5 percent from the line overall (up from 61.0% as a freshman) and 71.3 percent in Pac-10 games.
Ubaka More than Doubles Career Scoring Average
Ayinde Ubaka, who entered the season with a career scoring average of 6.3 ppg, is pouring in 15.2 ppg this year. Now Cal's second-leading scorer (and No. 8 in the Pac-10), he has reached double figures 18 times in 20 games after doing so on just eight occasions over his first two years in the program combined and only twice last season. Ubaka set a career high with 17 points in the opener at Eastern Michigan, then topped the total with 21 points in the Golden Bear Classic final vs. Northeastern to earn all-tournament team honors. He later bettered that performance with 29 points against Oregon (8-10 FG, 3-3 3P, 10-12 FT) Jan. 5. Ubaka also played key roles in Cal's sweep of USC and UCLA to begin Pac-10 play, scoring seven of his nine points in the final 4:35 vs. the Trojans and tossing in 18 points in 40 minutes of action vs. the Bruins. In addition, Ubaka is shooting 40.7 percent from three-point range (44-108), up from just 29.7 percent last year, and leads the Bears with 81 assists.
Comparing Ayinde Ubaka's Last Three Seasons2003-04 34.1 FG% 25.9 3P% 69.8 FT% 2.1 rpg 3.9 apg 6.4 ppg2004-05 34.2 FG% 29.7 3P% 65.0 FT% 2.0 rpg 2.7 apg 6.1 ppg2005-06 43.4 FG% 40.7 3P% 82.9 FT% 3.1 rpg 4.1 apg 15.2 ppg
Richard Midgley Moving Up Career Lists
Now firmly secured as Cal's No. 2 all-time three-point shooter, senior G Richard Midgley is creeping up the Bears' career scoring chart. He enters Thursday's Stanford game with 1,112 points, which puts him tied for 22nd place overall with Andy Wolfe. On the three-point list, he ranks second all-time with 172 triples, and he will likely end his career there, as leader Ryan Drew had 214 three-pointers from 1988-91. Midgley scored a season-high 17 points vs. both San Jose State and San Diego State, and he has reached double figures 11 times. His three-point rate of 42.7 percent this season is just shy of his career best of 44.9 percent set as a freshman.
Cal Career Scoring Leaders20. Michael Chavez 1980-83 1,16221. Butch Hays 1981-84 1,145T22. Richard Midgley 2003- 1,112T22. Andy Wolfe 1946-48 1,112
Injury Woes Have Kept 7 Players Out at Least Once This Year
Through the first 20 contests of the 2005-06 season, seven Cal players have missed a total of 38 games due to injury. The Bears dressed just 10 players five times and 11 once in their first six outings, and have suited up everyone on the roster only one time - Dec. 21 vs. DePaul. Two of Cal's three seniors - G Martin Smith and F Rod Benson - are the most recent casualties. Smith, who paced the Bears with 113 assists last year, is out with an abdominal strain, while Benson, Cal's scoring (13.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg) leader in '04-05, had knee surgery for a torn meniscus Jan. 20. Below is a list of players' injuries and games missed:
Name Injury Games MissedRod Benson stress fracture, left heel at E. Michigan, Northeastern, San Jose St., Akron torn meniscus, right knee at ASU, at Arizona, Washington, WSU, at OSU, at OregonRichard Midgley stinger, right shoulder Long Beach St.Steve Panawek bulging disk, back Northern Colorado, Northeastern, San Jose St., AkronLeon Powe stress fracture, right foot at E. Michigan, Long Beach St., N. Colorado, N'easternMartin Smith stress fracture, pelvis E. Michigan, Long Beach St. abdominal strain at USC, at UCLA, Oregon, OSU, at Stanford, at ASU, at Arizona., Washington, WSU, at OSU, at OregonEric Vierneisel concussion Washington, Washington St.Jordan Wilkes sprained right ankle San Jose St., Akron, San Diego St., Kansas
Hardin Climbing Career Block Ladder at Cal
Sophomore C DeVon Hardin, who owns a team-best 31 blocks this year, has already moved into Cal's career Top 10 list, now ranking ninth with 57. He has had at least three blocks on four occasions, with a high of four vs. Northern Colorado Nov. 25. During one nine-game stretch from Dec 21 through Jan. 26, Hardin averaged 2.0 bpg and registered a block or more in each contest. On the Bears' season chart, four additional blocks with give him 35 and tie him with Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Tom Schneiderjohn for ninth place.
Cal Career Blocks Leaders7. Sean Lampley 1998-01 698. Francisco Elson 1998-99 679. DeVon Hardin 2005- 57
Nikola Knezevic Joins Bears Mid-Season
Nikola Knezevic (NEE-koh-lah k-NEH-zhuh-vich), a 6-2, 190-pound freshman point guard from Belgrade, Serbia-Montenegro, has enrolled for the spring semester and became eligible for the Bears Dec. 21 - one day after fall final exams. He saw his first action at USC Dec. 29, getting on the court for three minutes, and he had four points (4-6 FT) in 17 minutes vs. Oregon Jan. 5. Rated the No. 3 point guard and No. 17 overall player at last summer's adidas Superstar Camp, Knezevic played on the Serbia-Montenegro Junior National team at the Under 18 European Championships in 2004. As a member of his Beovuk '72 club team, he helped the squad to a pair of Serbian titles and two Serbia-Montenegro championships.
Like Father, Like Son with Smith, Wilkes Brothers
In 1975, the Golden State Warriors captured the NBA title with a couple of rookies playing key roles during their championship run - guard Phil Smith (7.7 ppg) and forward Jamaal Wilkes (14.2 ppg). Thirty years later, the sons of Smith and Wilkes are members of the California basketball team. Senior guard Martin Smith is a fourth-year walk-on who was rewarded with a scholarship for the 2005-06 campaign. Last year, he started 16 Pac-10 games and ranked fifth in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.95:1). Omar and Jordan Wilkes join the squad as active members of the Bears this year. Omar, a 6-4 guard, sat out last season after transferring from Kansas and in his first action in a Cal uniform, poured in 17.8 ppg during Cal's trip to Italy over the summer. Jordan is a 6-11 center who averaged 20 ppg and 10 rpg en route to league MVP honors last year at Loyola HS in Los Angeles.
Rod Benson Finds Success on Two Courts
Last season, F/C Rod Benson may have been the most improved player in the Pac-10. After averaging 2.6 ppg and 1.7 rpg as a sophomore in 2003-04, Benson raised his rates to a team-best 13.3 ppg and 6.3 rpg last year. He ranked ninth in the Pac-10 in rebounding and seventh in the league in field goal shooting (54.3%). But the 6-10 post hasn't limited his exploits to the basketball court as a college student. For the last two springs, Benson has competed as a member of Cal's men's club volleyball team, even helping the Bears to a national No. 1 club ranking in 2005. As a prep at Torrey Pines HS outside San Diego, Benson earned first-team all-league honors and receive recruiting interest in both sports.
Oh Brother! Another Pair of Siblings Plays for Bears
For the third time in Ben Braun's tenure as head coach, a pair of brothers are suiting up in Cal uniforms together. This season, the tandem is sophomore guard Omar Wilkes and freshman center Jordan Wilkes. The first set of siblings to play on the same team was the Hughes brothers - centers Solomon and Gabriel. Solomon played for the Bears from 1999-02, while Gabriel was a part of teams from 2001-04. Lastly, Ryan and Tashaan Forehan-Kelly teamed up during the 2002 season. Ryan, a 6-5 wing, lettered for four years from 1999-02, and Tashaan walked on for the 2002 and '03 campaigns.
Golden Bear Notes ...
Cal's 88-58 win over Arizona State Jan. 19 featured the Bears' biggest comeback of the year; Cal trailed, 16-5, midway through the first half before outscoring ASU, 83-42, over the final 33 minutes of the game ... the ASU result matched the Bears' largest victory margin in a conference road game ever; Cal also defeated USC by 30 points in 1998 (73-43) ... the Bears sank 31 free throws at ASU (38 attempts), their highest total since also making 31 at Washington State on Feb. 22, 1997 ... when Ayinde Ubaka and Leon Powe tallied 29 and 27 points, respectively, vs. Oregon Jan. 5, they became the first Cal duo to each score at least 25 points in a game since Lamond Murray (26) and Jason Kidd (25) vs. Oregon on March 3, 1994 ... Powe was listed as a preseason candidate for both the Wooden All-America team and the Naismith Trophy ... head coach Ben Braun picked up his 500th career victory with an 88-69 win over Long Beach State Nov. 21 ... when Cal won six consecutive games from Nov. 21 through Dec. 6, the run was the best for the team since an eight-game spurt from Dec. 30, 2002 to Jan. 25, 2003 ... with this season's win, Cal has captured nine of 13 Golden Bear Classics, including 8-of-10 under head coach Ben Braun ... sophomore C DeVon Hardin was voted MVP of the Golden Bear Classic, with senior G Richard Midgley and junior G Ayinde Ubaka joining him on the all-tournament team.