Cal Visits No. 4 UCLA, USC

Feb. 20, 2007

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

California Golden Bears (14-12, 6-8) at UCLA Bruins (23-3, 12-2)
Thursday, Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m., Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: Prime Ticket

California Golden Bears at USC Trojans (19-8, 9-5, vs. Stanford 2/22)
Saturday, Feb. 24, 5 p.m., Galen Center, Los Angeles, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: Comcast SportsNet

A Quick Look at the Golden Bears
California makes its final road trip of the regular season this week when the Golden Bears travel to Los Angeles to visit No. 4 UCLA Thursday and USC Saturday.

In recent years, Cal has had a fair amount of success on its Southern California swing. Last year, for example, the Bears upended both USC and UCLA for the team's first road sweep of the LA schools since 2000. Cal has won its past two at UCLA and is 7-7 in Pauley Pavilion the last 14 years, while the Bears are 6-3 at USC since 1998.

The Bears enter the week on a two-game winning streak after knocking off then-No. 15 Oregon (63-61) and Oregon State (84-80 OT) in Berkeley, with defense and a good dose of Patrick Christopher keying the efforts.

Cal held both schools to less than 42 percent shooting from the floor, breaking a seven-game streak of allowing opponents to make at least half their field goal attempts. Christopher scored a short-lived career-best 16 points vs. Oregon, then produced a 24-point, 11-rebound performance against OSU.

The Bears, still limited to nine healthy scholarship players, continue to be led by freshman Ryan Anderson's 16.4 ppg and 8.1 rpg. The only player to rank among the Top 5 in the Pac-10 in both categories, Anderson has now totaled 426 points this year to pass Leon Powe (408) and take over third place on Cal's freshman scoring chart.

On the outside, senior G Ayinde Ubaka tossed in 21 points vs. Oregon State to move into the 24th position on the Bears' all-time list with 1,105 points. He already ranks fifth in school history in both assists (389) and three-pointers (145).

In addition, forward Theo Robertson also set a personal best with 21 points against Oregon State, reaching his total with just eight field goal attempts (6-8 FG, 1-1 3P, 8-10 FT). In the first match-up with UCLA this year, he paced the Bears with 16 points and three assists.

Probable StartersPOS  NO  NAME            HT    WT   YR  PPG   RPGF    24  Theo Robertson  6-6   225  So  8.8   4.3Career-high 21 points vs. Oregon State (6-8 FG, 1-1 3P, 8-10 FT) F    31  Alex Pribble    6-4   215  Sr  0.9   1.3Started last 3 games for Christopher; 4 steals in 17 minutes vs. USCF    34  Ryan Anderson   6-10  235  Fr  16.4  8.1Reached double figures in 24 of 26 games; made 44 three-pointersG     1  Ayinde Ubaka    6-4   200  Sr  14.0  4.4 apg#24 in Cal history with 1,105 pts; 12 rebounds vs. Oregon 2/15G     2  Omar Wilkes     6-4   185  Jr  9.8   2.0Scored 14 points vs. USC; 12 points, 3 steals at UCLA last year

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 200-133, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 533-368. 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.

UCLA Scouting Report

A Look at UCLA
UCLA enters the week leading the race for the Pac-10 title by one game over Washington State. The Bruins have won their last five conference games, including a road sweep of Arizona State (67-61) and Arizona (81-66) last weekend. UCLA is 14-0 at home, including a 7-0 mark in league contests. Arron Afflalo paces three players averaging in double figures with 17.5 ppg. Overall, the Bruins are outscoring their opponents by a 73.6-60.1 margin.

Cal-UCLA Series History
UCLA holds a 124-94 record vs. Cal, although the teams have split the season series each of the past eight years. Earlier this season, UCLA broke open a close game with an 11-5 spurt to start the second half en route to a 62-46 win over the Bears in Berkeley Jan. 25. In last year's match-up in Pauley Pavilion, Cal won, 68-61, behind 18 points from Ayinde Ubaka.

UCLA Head Coach Ben Howland
Ben Howland is in his fourth season at UCLA and has compiled an 84-38 record with the Bruins. Last year, he led UCLA to the Pac-10 title and a runner-up finish in the NCAA Tournament. Howland was 79-59 at Northern Arizona from 1995-99 and 89-40 at Pittsburgh from 2000-03.

For more information:

USC Scouting Report

A Look at USC
USC, which plays Stanford before hosting Cal, owns a 13-3 mark in its first season at the 10,258-seat Galen Center. Last weekend, the Trojans split their road trip, picking up an 80-75 victory at Arizona, but falling, 68-58, at Arizona State. Nick Young paces the squad with 17.2 ppg, while Lodrick Stewart has connected on 58 three-pointers (43.6%). USC is limiting opponents to just 37.6 percent shooting from the floor and 62.4 ppg.

Cal-USC Series History
Cal holds a 124-113 series lead over USC after sweeping three games against the Trojans last year. Earlier this season, though, USC withstood a furious Bear comeback to post a 76-73 victory. Cal rallied from a 17-point deficit to tie the game, but the Trojans scored the last three points to provide the winning margin.

USC Head Coach Tim Floyd
Tim Floyd is 36-21 in his second season at USC. In addition to his stint with the Trojans, he has led programs at Idaho, New Orleans and Iowa State, taking six teams to the NCAA Tournament. Floyd also served as an NBA head coach with both Chicago and New Orleans.

For more information:

Golden Bear Notes

Last Time Out: Cal Outlasts Oregon State, 84-80, in Overtime
Patrick Christopher scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds - both career highs - to lead Cal to an 84-80 overtime win over Oregon State last Saturday in Haas Pavilion. Cal built a 45-32 advantage midway through the second half, only to see OSU tie the game a 71-all on Angelo Tsagarakis' three-pointer as time expired at the end of regulation. In the extra period, Ayinde Ubaka, Theo Robertson and Christopher scored consecutive baskets to give the Bears a six-point edge. Marcel Jones' two free throws brought the Beavers within two at 82-80, but Christopher iced the game with a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left.

Cal Aims for Third Consecutive Win at UCLA
Cal has an opportunity to post its third straight victory in Pauley Pavilion when the Bears visit UCLA Thursday night. Cal also prevailed, 64-51, on Jan. 22, 2005 and, 68-61, over the then-No. 11 Bruins on Dec. 31, 2005. Only one other time since 1940 has Cal won three in a row at UCLA, putting together a streak in 1993 (104-82), 1994 (92-88) and 1995 (100-93), although the 1995 game was later forfeited for use of an ineligible player. Overall, the Bears are 7-7 in Pauley the past 14 years.

Bears Could Break Three-Point Record This Week
With 194 three-pointers already in the books this year, Cal is just four treys away from tying the school record of 198 set during the 2002-03 season. The only other time the Bears made at least 190 came in 1989-90, when they drained 196. This year, freshman Ryan Anderson and senior Ayinde Ubaka have both made 44 three-pointers, while junior Omar Wilkes has tossed in 30 more. Three other Cal players have also sunk at least 20 - freshman Jerome Randle (21), sophomore Theo Robertson (20) and junior Eric Vierneisel (20).

Cal Team Three-Pointers List1. 2003-03  198-530  37.4%2. 2006-07  196-543  35.7%2. 1989-90  196-507  38.7%4. 1994-95  189-530  35.7%

Trio Scores at Least 20 for First Time in Four Seasons
When Patrick Christopher (24 points), Ayinde Ubaka (21) and Theo Robertson (21) all broke the 20-point barrier vs. Oregon State last Saturday, they became the first trio to accomplish the feat for the Bears since March 2, 2003 when Joe Shipp (21), Brian Wethers (20) and Amit Tamir (20) also did it in an 80-72 win over Arizona State. Both Christopher and Robertson scored at least 20 points for the first time in setting career highs.

Cal Improves to 3-0 in Overtime with Oregon State Win
With its 84-80 overtime victory over Oregon State last Saturday, Cal improved to 3-0 in extra-period games this season - the first time the Bears have won three overtime games in the same year since 2000-01. In addition to OSU, Cal edged Arizona State, 66-62, in Tempe Dec. 30 and topped Washington, 77-69, in Berkeley Jan. 13. The Bears are 16-8 in overtime decisions under head coach Ben Braun after going just 29-39 in OT contests all-time prior to his arrival before the 1996-97 campaign.

Patrick Christopher Has Career Week in Home Sweep
Cal posted its first sweep of the Pac-10 season with wins over Oregon (63-61) and Oregon State (84-80 OT) last weekend, and the Bears certainly can thank freshman Patrick Christopher for helping them to the two victories. In last Thursday's triumph over the then-No. 15 Ducks, Christopher came off the bench for 13 of his career-high 16 points in the first half, helping Cal to a 35-27 lead at the break. Then in Saturday's contest vs. Oregon State, Christopher bettered his output, finishing with personal bests in both scoring (24 points) and rebounding (11). In the two games, he shot 17-for-28 from the floor (60.7%), including 3-for-8 from three-point range. He had started 12 consecutive games prior to straining a groin before the Feb. 8 Washington State game and he has played as a reserve the past three contests.

Braun Snares 200th Cal Win vs. Oregon State
Head coach Ben Braun, already the No. 2 on Cal's all-time victory list, picked up his 200th win with the Bears with an 84-80 overtime decision vs. Oregon State last Saturday. Braun now sports a 200-133 mark in Berkeley. Nibs Price ranks No. 1 in school history with 449 wins from 1925-54. Braun, in his 11th season at Cal, owns school marks for most postseason berths (7), most NCAA Tournaments (5), most postseason wins (11) and most 20-win seasons (6).

Bears Break Through vs. Ranked Opponent
With its 63-61 win over then-No. 15 Oregon last Thursday, Cal improved to 1-7 vs. ranked opponents this year (AP poll). In fact, the victory snapped a 10-game losing streak to ranked teams, dating back to a 71-69 win over then-No. 10 Washington on Jan. 26, 2006.

Cal Keeping It Close in Pac-10 Wins
All six of Cal's Pac-10 wins this season have been by five points or less or decided in overtime. The Bears' largest margin was a 77-69 overtime decision against Washington on Jan. 11. Cal also won by two points over Oregon Feb. 15 (63-61), by three at Oregon St. Jan. 18 (77-74) and by four over Stanford Jan. 3 (67-63), Arizona St. Dec. 30 (66-62 OT) and Oregon St. (84-80 OT) Feb. 17. Overall, the Bears are 7-2 in games determined by five points or less or OT.

Ayinde Ubaka First to 1,000 Points, 100 3-Pointers, 300 Assists
With 22 points at Oregon State Jan. 18, senior G Ayinde Ubaka became the 35th player in school history to score 1,000 points in a career, and entering Thursday's game UCLA, he is 24th with 1,105 points. Ubaka is the first Bear ever to have at least 1,000 points, 100 three-pointers and 300 assists. He already ranks fifth in the Cal record book in both assists (389) and treys (145).

Cal Scoring Leaders    22. Butch Hays (1981-84)   1,14523. Andy Wolfe (1946-48)   1,11225. Ayinde Ubaka (2004- )  1,105

Bears Face One of Nation's Toughest Schedules in 2006-07
According to almost any measure, Cal is playing one of the most difficult schedules in the country this year. The highest ranking comes from the Sagarin Ratings, which put the Bears' strength of schedule at No. 6. Other high rankings are: - #9, Ken Pomeroy's - #9, CBS Sportsline RPI - #10 and ESPN's InsideRPI - #11. Among the highly rated opponents for Cal (using the list) are No. 1 UCLA, No. 11 Arizona, No. 22 Nevada, No. 24 Washington State, No. 33 Oregon, No. 39 Stanford, No. 50 Kansas State, No. 56 DePaul, No. 60 USC and No. 61 San Diego State.

Cal 13th in Country in Fewest Turnovers per Game
Cal, which led the Pac-10 in fewest turnovers last season (12.4 per game), is committing just 11.6 topg this year - second in the league to Washington State (10.2 topg) and 13th among all Division I schools. The Bears have committed more than 15 just three times and 11 or fewer on 13 occasions. Cal had a season-low seven turnovers vs. Stanford Feb. 3 and just eight TOs in a 78-48 victory over Kansas State Nov. 29. The Bears also committed nine total turnovers vs. Washington State Jan. 11 and 10 seven other times.

Bears on Record Free Throw Pace, Third in NCAA
Perhaps the greatest area of improvement for the Bears over the past couple of years has been at the free throw line. After ranking last in the Pac-10 in both 2004 (62.8%) and 2005 (62.7%), Cal not only leads the league this year, but is No. 3 in the country at 77.3 percent. The Bears have been perfect from the line three times this season - 11-for-11 vs. Loyola Marymount Nov. 25, 12-for-12 at Oregon Jan. 20 and 8-for-8 vs. USC Jan. 27. The Oregon performance set a school record for most attempts without a miss. In addition, Cal was 42-for-44 at the charity stripe in the Great Alaska Shootout. Freshman Jerome Randle made the first 12 tries of his career and paces the squad at 83.0 percent, while senior Ayinde Ubaka is shooting 79.2 percent. The school team record is 73.5 percent set in 1986-87.

NCAA Free Throw Leaders (through games of Feb. 19)1. Florida State  396-507  78.1%2. Villanova      439-563  78.0%3. California     323-418  77.3%4. Utah State     395-512  77.1%5. Air Force      370-483  76.6%

Anderson Could Be Third Freshman to Lead Cal in Scoring since '96
In contributing a team-high 16.4 ppg to date (No. 5 in the Pac-10), 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. Anderson is the only player in the Pac-10 to rank among the top five in both scoring and rebounding (5th, 8.1 rpg) this season.

Cal Freshman Scoring Leaders1. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1996)  21.1 ppg2. Ryan Anderson (2007)        16.4 ppg3. Leon Powe (2004)            15.1 ppg4. Brian Hendrick (1990)       14.9 ppg

Bears Lose Two Centers to Injury
When practice started for the 2006-07 season in October, the Bears believed they had a combination of depth and experience up front that would make the post position one of the strongest areas of the team. But by mid-December, Cal found itself shorthanded in the middle. First, 7-0 sophomore C Jordan Wilkes partially tore a tendon in his left knee during practice Nov. 7, and he underwent season-ending surgery two weeks later. Then 6-11 junior C DeVon Hardin, who was averaging 10.7 ppg and 8.4 rpg through 11 games, suffered a stress fracture to his left mid-foot vs. Furman Dec. 19. He also had surgery and is doubtful for a return this year. The losses have left Cal with just two players over 6-7 - freshmen Ryan Anderson and Taylor Harrison.

Vierneisel Misses UCLA, USC Games with Ankle Sprain
Junior F Eric Vierneisel sprained his left ankle in practice on Wednesday, Jan. 24, causing him to miss the Jan. 25 UCLA and Jan. 27 USC contests. His loss left the Bears played with just eight healthy scholarship players for those two games. Vierneisel returned vs. Stanford Feb. 3, but did not score. He had been averaging 9.4 ppg in Pac-10 games before the injury.

Knezevic Out Following Knee Surgery
Sophomore G Nikola Knezevic, who was expected to be a major contributor at point guard this season, has yet to see any action following offseason knee surgery. Knezevic hurt his right knee over the summer, and although he has been able to practice on a limited basis, he has not been cleared for games.

Jamal Boykin Transfers to Cal from Duke
Jamal Boykin, a 6-7, 230-pound forward, has transferred to Cal from Duke and has enrolled for the spring semester. Boykin played in 26 games as a freshman in 2005-06, helping the Blue Devils to a 32-4 record. He averaged 1.0 ppg and 0.8 rpg, shooting 47.1 percent from the floor (8-17) and 90.0 percent from the free throw line (9-10). Boykin saw action in just three games this past November, scoring four points and grabbing 12 rebounds in 30 minutes of action, before being sidelined with a severe case of mononucleosis. As a high school star at Fairfax HS in Los Angeles, Boykin was named the 2005 Gatorade State Player of the Year when he averaged 22 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks and five assists per game. Also a third-team Parade All-American, he was the John Wooden Award winner as the Los Angeles Player of the Year.

Russ Critchfield to Be Inducted into Pac-10 Hall of Honor
Former Cal All-American Russ Critchfield will be inducted into the Pac-10 Hall of Honor during a ceremony at the Pac-10 Tournament in Los Angeles this March. One of the top guards in school history, he was a three-time team MVP from 1966-68 for the Bears. After earning honorable mention All-America honors as a junior, he was a first-team choice by the Helms Athletic Foundation in 1968. Critchfield also claimed first-team all-conference honors twice. He finished his Cal career with 1,437 points, which rated No. 2 in school history at his graduation and still ranks eighth on the school's all-time list. In addition, his 19.4 ppg career scoring average is the third-best ever at Cal, and he is second in the Bear annals with 41 20-point games. In addition to Critchfield, UCLA alum Jamaal Wilkes, father of Cal players Omar and Jordan Wilkes, will also be inducted. The Pac-10 Hall of Honor inducts one former player, coach or administrator from each conference school every year.

Golden Bear Notes ...
Cal is 12-2 when holding opponents to 70 points or less, but 2-10 when opponents score 71 or more ... 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 was installed inside the Club Room at Haas Pavilion prior to the start of the season ... with an 8-4 non-league record, Cal had its highest pre-Pac-10 victory total since going 9-1 heading into conference play in 2001-02 ... freshman Ryan Anderson was voted MVP of the Great Alaska Shootout; he was joined on the all-tournament team by Ayinde Ubaka and DeVon Hardin ... Cal has added four walk-ons to the roster: sophomore G Nican Robinson (5-10, 180, Oakland, CA/Oakland Tech HS), freshman F Thomas Fang (6-5, 200, San Jose, CA/Archbishop Mitty HS), freshman G David Liss (6-0, 165, San Francisco, CA/Branson School) and senior G Patrick Armstrong (6-0, 175, San Jose, CA/Bellarmine Prep) ... Ubaka was on the preseason watch lists for both the Wooden All-America team and the Bob Cousy Award ... for the second consecutive year, Cal was 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 ... of its 12 pre-Pac-10 games this season, Cal played six at home and six on the road ... 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.