Cal Meets Nevada in Pete Newell Challenge Sunday

Dec. 1, 2006

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10th annual Pete Newell Challenge
Sunday, Dec. 3, HP Pavilion, San Jose, CA
Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-2) vs. Stanford Cardinal (5-1), 3:30 p.m.
Nevada Wolf Pack (6-0) vs. California Golden Bears (6-1), 6 p.m.
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)

A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
Riding a five-game winning streak following Wednesday's 78-48 victory over Kansas State, California faces its stiffest test of the young season when the Golden Bears meet Nevada (#24 AP/#20 ESPN/USA Today) in the 10th Pete Newell Challenge at 6 p.m. Sunday at HP Pavilion in San Jose.

Stanford and Texas Tech will open the annual doubleheader with a 3:30 p.m. tip. Both games will be telecast by CSTV.

Cal is participating the Pete Newell Challenge, named for the former coach who guided the Bears to the 1959 NCAA championship, for the eighth time. Cal owns a 4-3 mark in the event, with the highlight win being a 78-71 decision over then-No. 9 North Carolina in 1998.

In forging a 6-1 overall record to being the current campaign, the Bears have relied on a balanced offensive attack that features four players averaging in double figures.

Freshman F Ryan Anderson, who was named MVP of last week's Great Alaska Shooting, tops Cal in both scoring (19.0 ppg) and rebounding (8.6 rpg). Shooting 55.4 percent from the field, the 6-10 Anderson is making 48.6 percent of his three-point attempts (18-for-37).

Fellow frontcourt starter, junior C DeVon Hardin is a close second to Anderson in rebounding with 8.4 rpg, and he paces the Bears with 16 blocks. Hardin pulled down a season-best 12 boards vs. Kansas State.

In the backcourt, senior G Ayinde Ubaka and junior G Omar Wilkes provide a veteran tandem. Ubaka is contributing 14.3 ppg and a team-high 4.6 apg, while Wilkes top the team in field goal shooting (58.1%) and is tossing in 11.7 ppg.

On the defensive end, Cal is allowing just 60.7 ppg and has held three teams under 50 total points. Opponents are connecting on only 39.9 percent of their shots from the floor and 27.8 percent from three-point range, down from 43.5 percent and 35.0 percent, respectively, last year. Only one team - San Diego State - has made more than 41 percent of its field goal tries.

Probable StartersPOS  NO  NAME            HT    WT   YR  PPG  RPGF    24  Theo Robertson  6-6   225  So  4.9  4.6Season-high 9 points vs. Kansas St.; HM Pac-10 All-Freshman in '06 F    34  Ryan Anderson   6-10  235  Fr  19.0  8.6MVP of Great Alaska Shootout; 18-37 3-pointers (48.6%)C    35  DeVon Hardin    6-11  235  Jr  10.9  8.490 career blocks, 12 points, 12 rebounds vs. Kansas StateG     1  Ayinde Ubaka    6-4   200  Sr  14.3  4.6 apg21 pts. vs. Marshall; preseason candidate for Wooden, Cousy awardsG     2  Omar Wilkes     6-4   185  Jr  11.7  1.9Tied career high with 18 points vs. LMU (8-10 FG, 2-2 FT) 

Cal Head Coach Ben Braun
Ben Braun (Wisconsin '75), the second-winningest coach in Cal history, is in his 11th year in Berkeley and 30th season as a collegiate head coach. His record at Cal stands at 192-122, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 525-357. 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 seven times in his first 10 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, plus another NCAA berth in 2006. 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.

Nevada Scouting Report

A Look at Nevada
Nevada, which has matched its best start since beginning the 1951-52 season 14-0, owns a 6-0 mark heading into Sunday's game. The Wolf Pack is coming off an 86-74 victory at Louisiana-Lafayette, where it was led by Nick Fazekas' 28 points and 15 rebounds. The senior is averaging 24.3 ppg and 13.3 rpg this season and shooting 65.1 percent from the floor.

Cal-Nevada Series History
Cal owns an 18-7 series lead, but the teams have not met since the 1991-92 season when the Bears prevailed, 91-73, in Berkeley. Cal's first-ever win in basketball was a 41-9 decision over Nevada in 1907-08 - the Bears' lone game of that initial campaign.

Nevada Head Coach Mark Fox
Mark Fox is in his third season at Nevada and has a 58-13 record with the Wolf Pack. He has guided Nevada to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances, advancing to the second round in 2005. Fox served as an assistant at Washington, Kansas State and Nevada before accepting his current position.

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Golden Bear Notes

Last Time Out: Cal Routs Kansas State, 78-48
Cal broke open a tight game with a 15-2 run to end the first half, defeating Kansas State, 78-48, Wednesday night in Haas Pavilion. The win was the Bears' first in six tries against the Wildcats. Cal built as much as a 35-point lead in the second half, playing mostly reserves the final eight minutes of the contest. Junior C DeVon Hardin pulled down 10 rebounds in the first half and finished with 12 points and 12 boards, while senior G Ayinde Ubaka had 14 points, three steals and eight assists with no turnovers in 28 minutes. Freshman F Ryan Anderson also posted his seventh straight double-figure game to start his career by adding 15 points.

Bears' Defense Key in Victories
In its six wins this season, Cal is limiting opponent to 36.8 percent shooting from the floor and 56.5 ppg. None of the three foes to play in Haas Pavilion have reached 50 points yet - Utah Valley State (47), Santa Clara (48) and Kansas State (48). The 47 points scored by UVSC was the lowest for a Cal opponent in a season opener since the Bears defeated Saint Mary's, 62-44, on Dec. 5, 1964. Only Hawaii, at 40.7 percent, has managed to shoot higher than 40 percent from the floor among the six victims. In addition, Cal is outrebounding foes, 35.7-35.0, in wins, against a deficit of 10 in its lone loss at San Diego State.

Ayinde Ubaka Efficiently Handling Duties at the Point
Senior G Ayinde Ubaka, who began his career by ranking third in the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.96) as a freshman, has greatly improved his ratio this year. Entering Sunday's contest vs. Nevada, Ubaka has 32 assists to just 13 turnovers (2.6 ratio). In Cal's win over Kansas State, he had eight assists - one off his career high - and no turnovers. In his last three games, Ubaka has 19 assists and only four turnovers.

Cal's Pete Newell Challenge History
Cal is participating the Pete Newell Challenge for the eighth time in the event's 10-year history. In their seven previous games, the Bears are 4-3. Cal won its first four games from 1997-2000, defeating BYU, No. 9 North Carolina, No. 22 Gonzaga and Georgia. But the Bears have fallen on rougher times, of late, losing to No. 19 Kansas, No. 11 Saint Joseph's and DePaul.

Pete Newell Challenge ResultsDec. 22, 1997                       Dec. 28, 2002Indiana 65, San Francisco 52        Kansas 80, California 67California 68, Brigham Young 64     Stanford 81, Gonzaga 71

Dec. 29, 1998 Dec. 20, 2003California 78, North Carolina 71 Stanford 87, Gonzaga 80Stanford 57, Temple 50 Saint Joseph's 59, California 57

Dec. 21, 1999 Nov. 19, 2004Stanford 76, Mississippi St. 56 Stanford 93, San Francisco 83 OTCalifornia 72, Georgia 64 Santa Clara 77, North Carolina 66

Dec. 21, 2000 Dec. 21, 2005Stanford 84, Duke 83 Stanford 58, Princeton, 34California 85, Gonzaga 64 DePaul 68, California 65

Dec. 29, 2001Stanford 75, Michigan State 64San Francisco 55, Michigan 47

Pete Newell Statue Installed in Haas Pavilion Club Room
As a fitting tribute to Pete Newell's lifetime accomplishments in basketball as a coach, mentor and leader, a statue of the Hall of Famer and former Golden Bear head coach has been installed inside the Club Room at Haas Pavilion. Created by renowned sculptor Eino, the statue stands approximately seven feet high and weighs nearly 1,200 pounds. The work originated through the vision of the late Brian Maxwell and received additional financial assistance from players, coaches and managers who were part of Newell's teams in Berkeley. As a coach, Newell directed Cal to the 1959 NCAA championship and to a runner-up finish in 1960, when he was voted National Coach of the Year. He later guided the U.S. team to an Olympic gold medal at the 1960 Games in Rome. Newell, who turned 91 in August, served as head coach of the Bears from 1954-60 and compiled a 119-44 record that included four conference titles and four trips to the NCAA Tournament. He then worked as Cal's athletic director from 1960-68. He is a member of both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame.

Cal Scorching Nets at 83.3% Clip from Free Throw Line
There may be no other area on the court that has seen more improvement for the Bears over the past couple of seasons than at the free throw line. In 2003-04, Cal shot just 62.8 percent from the stripe, a rate that dropped to 62.7 percent a year later. Last season, however, the Bears raised their percentage to 73.3 percent - which just missed the school record of 73.5 percent set in 1987. Now, Cal is putting the all-time mark in jeopardy. Through seven games, the Bears are connecting on 83.3 percent of their free throws. They were especially accurate at the Great Alaska Shootout, sinking 42-of-44 (95.5%) - 19-of-20 vs. Marshall, 12-of-13 vs. Hawaii and 11-of-11 vs. Loyola Marymount. The LMU effort matched the Cal record for most attempts without a miss, with the Bears also going 11-for-11 at DePaul in the 1999 NIT second round. As a team, the Bears made 24 consecutive free throws over the course of the Marshall and Hawaii games, and had another 19-made streak vs. Hawaii/LMU/Kansas State.

Individually, freshman G Jerome Randle has yet to miss in 10 tries on the year, while senior G Ayinde Ubaka has drained 23-25 (92.0%) and freshman F Ryan Anderson is 23-for-29 (79.3%). But perhaps the greatest improvement has come from junior C DeVon Hardin, a 38.6 percent shooter as a freshman two years ago, who is 24-for-29 this year (82.8%).

DeVon Hardin Taking Charge on Defense
With his 6-11, 235-pound frame, junior C DeVon Hardin offers an intimidating presence on the court. He leads the Bears with 16 blocked shots this year (2.29 per game), including a career-best five against Santa Clara and four more vs. Loyola Marymount. For his career, Hardin leads all active Pac-10 players and ranks fifth on Cal's career chart with 90 blocks. But Hardin has added another element to his defense this season - he paces the Bears with seven charges taken. Perhaps his most important stand came in the closing seconds of last Thursday's 72-70 victory over Marshall when he drew a charge against Chris Ross in the lane with just five seconds left and Cal clinging to a 70-68 lead.

Cal Career Blocked Shot Leaders1. Michael Stewart (1994-97)     2072. Solomon Hughes (1999-02)      1223. Tom Schneiderjohn (1976-79)   1054. Brian Hendrick (1990-93)       985. DeVon Hardin (2005- )          90

Anderson Could Be Third Freshman to Lead Cal in Scoring since '96
In contributing a team-high 19.0 ppg to date, F Ryan Anderson is aiming to become the third freshman to pace Cal in scoring since 1996. Leon Powe was the last Cal rookie to accomplish the feat when he averaged 15.1 ppg in 2004 and was voted Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. Back in 1996, Shareef Abdur-Rahim not only led the Bears, but he paced the Pac-10 with 21.1 ppg and was named both Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and Pac-10 Player of the Year. Earlier this season, Anderson matched Abdur-Rahim as the only two Cal freshmen to score at least 20 points in each of their first three games. Anderson fell just short of a fourth consecutive 20-point outing when he finished with 19 points against Marshall, totaling 17 second-half points after a two-point first half.

Cal Freshman Scoring Leaders1. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1996)   21.1 ppg2. Ryan Anderson (2007)         19.0 ppg3. Leon Powe (2004)             15.1 ppg4. Brian Hendrick (1990)        14.9 ppg5. Rickie Hawthorne (1973)      14.2 ppg

Bears Have Won 11 Straight Home Non-Conference Games
Cal's 78-48 win over Kansas State Nov. 29 marked the Bears' 11th straight home victory against non-conference competition inside Haas Pavilion. The Bears were a perfect 6-0 at home vs. teams outside the Pac-10 last year, and they are 3-0 this season. Cal's last loss in Berkeley to a non-Pac-10 squad was a 63-60 decision to Colorado on Dec. 7, 2004.

Ayinde Ubaka Moves into Top 10 in Three-Pointers, FT Shooting
Senior G Ayinde Ubaka has moved into Cal's all-time top 10 in three-pointers and free throw shooting, and he is on the verge of breaking into the assist list. Now, 13-for-30 (43.3%) from behind the arc, he has 108 career treys, good for eighth place. In addition, his 23-for-25 free throw accuracy (92.0%) this year has moved him into sixth on the Cal career FT chart at 79.6 percent. Finally, Ubaka has 307 assists, which is just one shy of the 10th spot held by Michael Chavez (308 from 1980-83).

Cal Career Three-Pointers6. Amit Tamir (2002-04)    1367. Bill Elleby (1989-92)   1358. Ayinde Ubaka (2004- )   108

Cal Career FT Shooting5. Denny Fitzpatrick (1958-59) 112-139 80.6%6. Ayinde Ubaka (2004- ) 183-230 79.6%7. Ed Gray (1996-97) 264-334 79.0%

Cal Career Assist Leaders7. Roy Fisher (1988-91) 3338. Rickey Hawthorne (1973-76) 3189. Chris Washington (1984-87) 30910. Michael Chaves (1980-83) 30811. Ayinde Ubaka (2004- ) 307

Cal Improving in Rebounding Department
Perhaps the key area of concern for Cal entering the season was rebounding. After losing Leon Powe and his Pac-10-leading 10.5 rpg to the NBA last April, the Bears knew that they would have to pick up the effort on the boards. Through the first three games of the year, Cal had a cumulative -21 margin in rebounding. But over their last four contests, the Bears are +15, lowering their season average deficit to -0.9 per game (34.0 - 34.9). Three players are averaging at least 4.6 rpg - Ryan Anderson (8.6 rpg), DeVon Hardin (8.4 rpg) and Theo Robertson (4.6 rpg).

Cal Takes Advantage at Free Throw Line Again
Last season, Cal made more free throws (525) than its opponents attempted (505) for the first time in school history. And the Bears have kept up the trend this season, having made 100 free throws to their opponents' 70 attempts. The advantage was built in the opener vs. Utah Valley State when Cal was Cal was 25-of-32 from the line, while UVSC was just 4-of-5. The Bears also limited Santa Clara to just six free throw tries, Hawaii to five and Kansas State to eight.

Ayinde Ubaka on Two Preseason Award Lists
Senior G Ayinde Ubaka, who earned All-Pac-10 honors last season when he averaged 14.5 ppg and 3.8 apg, is on the preseason watch lists for both the Wooden All-America team and the Bob Cousy Award, which is given to the nation's best point guard. Ubaka is the most experienced member of the Bears, having started 75 of his 84 career games. As a junior, he more than doubled his career scoring average entering the year, going from 6.3 ppg to 14.5 ppg. He also drained 61 three-pointers during the campaign, tying for third-most in school history and just seven shy of the Cal record. Ubaka is the top returning free throw shooter in the Pac-10 after making 83.3 percent of his attempts in 2005-06, and he is 23-of-25 from the stripe this season.

Cal Keeps Turnovers to a Minimum
Cal, which led the Pac-10 in fewest turnovers last season (12.4 per game), is committing just 12.0 topg this year. The Bears have had fewer turnovers than their opponents in five of seven games, and have committed more than 14 just once (16 vs. Loyola Marymount). In Wednesday's win over Kansas State, Cal had just two turnovers at halftime and finished the game with only eight - the Bears' lowest figure since a four-turnover performance vs. Stanford last Feb. 9.

Jordan Wilkes Third Post Hurt in Past Three Years
For the third consecutive season, Cal will be missing one of its primary post players for most, if not all, of the year. The Bears played the 2004-05 campaign without 6-8 forward Leon Powe, who sat out the entire year due to preseason knee surgery. Last year, 6-11 center Rod Benson missed 11 games and was limited in several others due to a stress fracture in a foot, then a torn meniscus in his right knee. Now, 7-0 sophomore center Jordan Wilkes has been diagnosed with a partially torn patella tendon in his left knee and is sidelined for the season. He underwent surgery on Nov. 21.

Golden Bear Notes ...
For the second consecutive year, Cal has been picked fifth in the Pac-10 in a preseason vote of media who cover the conference; last year, the Bears finished third during the regular season with a 12-6 mark and reached the final of the Pac-10 Tournament ... Ayinde Ubaka is averaging 33.4 minutes per game, down from 37.3 mpg last year when he set a school record with 1,156 minutes played ... of its 12 pre-Pac-10 games this season, Cal plays six at home and six on the road ... junior G Omar Wilkes tied his career high with 18 points vs. Loyola Marymount and tops the Bears in field goal shooting at 58.1 percent ... Cal's championship in the Great Alaska Shootout was the first in-season tournament victory for the Bears, other than the Golden Bear Classic, since taking the Lobo Classic in Albuquerque, N.M., in December 1975 ... two games have been added to Cal's TV schedule, with contests at Arizona State (Dec. 30) and at Oregon State (Jan. 18) being picked up by FSN Bay Area Plus.

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