Cal Hosts Delaware State Thursday

Dec. 17, 2007

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Delaware State Hornets (3-5, at USC 12/17) at California Golden Bears (6-1)
Thursday, Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: webcast

Utah Utes (6-3) at California Golden Bears
Saturday, Dec. 22, 3:00 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: Comcast SportsNet

Following an 11-day break for final exams, California (6-1) returns to the court this week with a pair of games in Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears host Delaware State at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, then entertain Utah at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

Cal and Delaware State will be meeting for the first time, while the Bears, who own an 8-7 series advantage over Utah, have not faced the Utes since the 1969-70 campaign.

Cal is 5-0 in Berkeley this season, where it has won 18 of its last 19 contests against non-conference competition. The Delaware State game begins a six-game homestand that concludes Jan. 5 against UCLA.

Buoyed by a 117-point outburst against Jackson State earlier this month, the Bears are pouring in 81.4 ppg, nearly 12 ppg higher than they averaged last year. Sophomore F Ryan Anderson, the Dec. 3 Pac-10 Player of the Week, leads the conference with 22.7 ppg, while sophomore G Patrick Christopher is contributing 18.9 ppg. In addition, sophomore G Jerome Randle (13.8 ppg) and senior C DeVon Hardin (10.3 ppg) are scoring in double figures.

Cal is also relying on a defense that has allowed just one opponent (Missouri) to shoot better than 40 percent from the floor. Overall, the Bears are holding teams to 39.3 percent.

On the boards, Cal owns a +7.4 rebound margin, which is keyed by Hardin's 11.6 rpg and Anderson's 9.4 rpg. The Bears had a +21 differential against Missouri (41-20) and +14 at Nevada (48-34). Only Kansas State has been able to out-rebound Cal in a game this season.

The Bears will get a boost to their lineup against Utah Saturday when sophomore F Jamal Boykin becomes eligible to play. A mid-year transfer from Duke who enrolled at Cal for the 2007 spring semester, he originally attended Fairfax HS in Los Angeles, where he was tabbed the senior Player of the Year for the city.

Schedule Note: Times for the second day of the Golden Bear Classic (Dec. 29) have changed to 5 p.m. for the consolation game and 7:30 p.m. the championship game. Times for the first day (Dec. 28) will remain the same.

Probable StartersPOS  NO  NAME                  HT    WT   YR   PPG   RPGF    23  Patrick Christopher   6-5   215  So   18.9  3.6At least 16 points in 6 games after averaging 5.2 ppg last yearF    34  Ryan Anderson         6-10  240  So   22.7  9.4Career-high 36 points at Nevada; Dec. 3 Pac-10 Player of the WeekC    35  DeVon Hardin          6-11  250  Sr   10.3  11.65th in country in rebound average; 111 career blocks (#3 at Cal) G     3  Jerome Randle         5-10  165  So   13.8  3.6 apg21 points vs. SDSU in first game after Oct. 29 kidney biopsyG    13  Nikola Knezevic       6-2   185  So   4.9   3.6 apg7 points, 3 steals in win over Missouri; 7 points vs. Jackson State

Cal Head Coach Ben Braun
Ben Braun (Wisconsin '75), the second-winningest coach in Cal history, is in his 12th year in Berkeley and 31st season as a collegiate head coach. His record at Cal stands at 208-139, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 541-374. 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. 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.

Delaware State Scouting Report

A Look at Delaware State
Delaware State is in the midst of a 10-game road trip with the Hornets' contest at Cal representing the last of three straight dates against Pac-10 opponents. DSU lost at Arizona State, 77-38, on Dec. 5 and visits USC Monday night. Delaware State is the preseason choice to win the MEAC, while senior F Roy Bright, who is averaging 18.1 ppg but missed the ASU game with a toe injury, is the preseason MEAC Player of the Year.

Cal-Delaware State Series History
Cal and Delaware State are meeting for the first time this week.

Delaware State Head Coach Greg Jackson
Greg Jackson is in his seventh season at Delaware State, having led the Hornets to a 121-101 record, including an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2005 and NIT berths in 2006 and '07. In 2006, he directed DSU to its first-ever postseason win, a 58-53 victory over Northern Arizona in the first round of the NIT.

Probable StartersPos  No  Name              Ht    Wt   Yr   Ppg   RpgF    35  Joe Dickens       6-7   205  Sr   6.5   3.5F    55  Frisco Sandidge   6-6   210  So   6.8   4.5G     2  Trevor Welcher    5-10  160  Fr   5.9   2.0G    30  Marcus Neal       6-5   195  So   4.9   3.5G    45  Roy Bright        6-6   225  Sr   18.1  4.6

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Golden Bear Notes

Last Game: Kansas State Ends Cal Win Streak, 82-75
Bill Walker scored 30 points and Michael Beasley added 19 more as Kansas State defeated Cal, 82-75, Dec. 9 in Manhattan, Kan., to snap the Bears' six-game winning streak. Cal built a 10-point lead in the first half (25-15) before K-State rallied to tie the score at the break. Then after the Wildcats went ahead by nine at 60-51, the Bears responded with a 9-0 run of their own. Cal trailed just 77-75 with 30 seconds left, but K-State scored the final five points from the line to clinch the outcome. Ryan Anderson had his fourth double-double of the year with 24 points and 11 rebounds. However, the Bears tied a season high with 21 turnovers and surrendered 22 offensive rebounds to KSU.

Year of the Sophomore for Golden Bears
In many circles around the country, the 2007-08 season has been deemed the Year of the Freshman for the number of quality newcomers on college rosters. But at Cal, the campaign can easily be called the Year of the Sophomore. The Bears' second-year players are combining to average 61.0 ppg, or 74.9 percent of Cal's total. The team's top three scorers are all sophomores, led by Ryan Anderson's 22.7 ppg. He is followed by Patrick Christopher with 18.9 ppg and Jerome Randle with 13.8 ppg. Each player has already set a career high, as well. Anderson poured in 36 points at Nevada, Christopher had 26 vs. Jackson State, and Randle came through with 21 points against San Diego State.

Cal Production by Class            Points (Avg.)   Rebounds (Avg.)   Assists (Avg.)Senior      95 (13.6)       100 (14.3)        27 (3.9)Junior      0 (0.0)         0 (0.0)           0 (0.0)Sophomore   427 (61.0)      135 (19.3)        83 (11.9)Freshman    48 (6.9)        22 (3.1)          11 (1.6)

Jamal Boykin Set for Debut vs. Utah Saturday
Sophomore F Jamal Boykin is expected to make his debut in a California uniform Saturday when the Bears host Utah. A mid-season transfer from Duke last year, Boykin had to sit out one full year under NCAA rules and becomes eligible after fall final exams are complete later this week. As a senior at Fairfax HS, he averaged 22 ppg and 12 rpg and was selected the Gatorade Player of the Year for California, a third-team Parade All-American and the John Wooden Award winner as the Los Angeles senior Player of the Year. Boykin contributed 1.0 ppg and 0.8 rpg as a freshman at Duke in 2005-06, helping the Blue Devils to the NCAA Sweet 16. Last year, he played in three games before transferring to Cal.

Cal Raises Non-Conference Haas Mark to 56-7
With wins in its first five home games this season, Cal has raised its record against non-conference opponents inside Haas Pavilion to 56-7 (88.9%). Since the building opened prior to the 1999-2000 campaign, the Bears have posted four undefeated marks and lost more than one game to schools outside the Pac-10 just twice. Entering this week's action, Cal is 18-1 in its last 19 non-conference contests in Berkeley. During each of the previous years the Bears did not lose an out-of-conference game in Haas, they advanced to the NCAA Tournament (2001, '02, '03, '06).

Cal's Non-Conference Record in Haas Pavilion2007-08   5-0       2002-03   5-02006-07   6-1       2001-02   9-02005-06   6-0       2000-01   8-02004-05   5-3       1999-00   8-12003-04   4-2       Total     56-7 (.889)

Anderson Totals 36 Points in Win at Nevada
When sophomore F Ryan Anderson erupted for a career-high 36 points on 14-of-23 shooting from the floor in Cal's Nov. 28 win at Nevada, he became the first Golden Bear to score more than 30 points since Leon Powe had 41 vs. Oregon in the semifinals of the 2006 Pac-10 Tournament. For the season, Anderson leads the Pac-10 and ranks 13th nationally with 22.7 ppg on 52.7 percent field goal shooting. Since an 11-point outing in the opener vs. Southern Miss - when he missed 10 minutes of the second half with blurred vision in his left eye - he has reached the 20-point level five times in six games. In addition, Anderson paces the Bears in three-pointers made (13, 38.2%) and free throws made (36, 81.8%), and is grabbing 9.4 rpg.

Vierneisel Has Breakout Game at Kansas State
For the second year in a row, F Eric Vierneisel has snapped out of an early-season scoring slump with a double-figure game on the road. On Dec. 9 at Kansas State, he shot 4-of-6 from the floor on his way to 11 points, eclipsing his 10-point total for the first six games of the year combined. Last season, Vierneisel scored 10 points through Cal's first 11 games before tallying 11 points at DePaul. For the 2007-08 season, the 6-7 senior leads in the Pac-10 in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.5:1) with 21 assists and just six TOs. He has also set a career best in rebounding twice, with six vs. Southern Miss and at Kansas State.

Bears Dominating Boards in Early Season Contests
Cal has out-rebounded its opponents in six of seven games this year and enters Thursday's game with a +7.4 rebound margin. DeVon Hardin (11.6 rpg) and Ryan Anderson (9.4 rpg) have been the most dominant forces on the glass. So far, Bears have had double-figure differentials in three outings - +14 at Nevada (48-34), +21 vs. Missouri (41-20) and +11 vs. Jackson State (43-32). And how rare is it for Cal to post such a margin? The Bears haven't been +4.0 or better for a full season since 1992-93 (+4.6) or +5.0 or better since 1968-69 (+6.5). This year's statistics represent quite a turnaround from last season when Cal's margin was -2.6.

Top Rebound Margins in School HistorySeason    Cal Reb   Opp Reb   Margin1959-60   46.8      35.6      +11.22007-08   40.1      32.7      +7.41968-69   53.2      46.7      +6.51967-68   52.2      46.4      +5.81958-59   45.1      40.1      +5.0

With Hardin in Middle, Defense Returns to Form
Over Cal's first seven games, the Bears have limited their opponents to 39.3 percent shooting from the floor and out-rebounded them by 7.4 per game, and much of the reason for those figures can be traced to the return of DeVon Hardin to the lineup. Not only does the 6-11 senior center have a team-leading 16 blocks so far, but he has also grabbed at least 12 rebounds five times. Only one team - Missouri (48.2%) - has managed to make at least 40 percent of its field goal attempts. Cal's defensive stats represent quite a turnaround from last year. During the final 22 games of the season when Hardin was sidelined with a stress fracture in his foot, the Bears surrendered 49.7 percent shooting and were beaten on the boards by a 3.8 margin.

                         With Hardin in '07-08    Without Hardin in '06-07                         (7 games)                (final 22 games)FG% Allowed              39.3% (171-435)          49.7% (579-1166)Rebound Margin           +7.4                     -3.8Opponents with >40 FG%   1 of 7                   20 of 22

Bears Increase Accuracy from the Field
Cal enters this week's action having shot at least 50 percent from the floor in each of its last three games and in four of its past five contests to raise its overage rate to 49.5 percent. The Bears made a season-high 58.2 percent (39-67) against Jackson State. While Cal has held opponents to less than 40 percent shooting in six of seven games so far, the Bears have shot 45 percent or better six times. Individually, freshman F Harper Kamp has drained 14-of-19 attempts (73.7%), and three starters are over 52 percent - F Ryan Anderson (52.9%), G Jerome Randle (54.5%) and C DeVon Hardin (54.2%). Randle has also connected on 56.3 percent of his three-pointers (9-16).

Jerome Randle Sparkles in Return to Court
Sophomore G Jerome Randle underwent a kidney biopsy Oct. 29, and although the results revealed a mild inflammation that can be treated with medication, he was kept off the court for almost four weeks to allow the procedure to heal. But in his first game back - Cal's 77-69 win over San Diego State on Nov. 24 - he proved to be the difference with his quickness and scoring ability. After scoring five points in the first half, he came through with 16 after intermission to finish with a career-best 21, topping the 19 he had at home vs. Stanford last season. Randle has since added 16 points against Missouri and 14 vs. Jackson State, when he was perfect from the field (4-4 FG, 2-2 3P, 4-4 FT) and dished out seven assists.

Patrick Christopher Raises Scoring Production
After averaging 5.2 ppg and reaching double figures just four times as a freshman last year, sophomore G Patrick Christopher has shown off a new-found scoring ability so far this season, reaching double figures in six games to pass his total for all of 2006-07. He tied his high from his freshman campaign with 24 points against Nicholls State, then set a personal best with 26 points vs. Jackson State. Christopher also paced the Bears vs. Southern Miss (19 points) in the opener and had a team-high 18 points against Missouri. Now contributing 18.9 ppg, he is also grabbing 3.6 rpg and is fourth on the team with 15 assists (2.1 apg).

Hardin Up to Third in Cal Career Blocks
With 16 blocks so far this season, senior C DeVon Hardin has moved into third place on the Bears' all-time list with 111. He had a high of four in the opener vs. Southern Miss, when he also finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds. The 6-11 Hardin has led Cal in blocks each of the past two seasons. He totaled 48 as a sophomore in 2006 - No. 5 on the Bear charts - and had a team-best 21 last year despite being limited to just 11 games due to injury. Hardin's individual game high is five, a mark he set against Santa Clara on Nov. 20, 2006, and he has had at least three in a game 15 times.

Cal Career Blocked Shot Leaders1. Michael Stewart (1994-97)   2072. Solomon Hughes (1999-02)    1223. DeVon Hardin (2004- )       111

Cal Scores Third-Highest Total in Win over Jackson State
In its 117-74 victory over Jackson State Dec. 5, Cal scored the third-most points in school history and topped 100 points in regulation for the first time since a 112-73 triumph at Texas Southern on Nov. 29, 1995. The Bears' 43-point margin of victory was the 12th-largest ever in a home game and widest since a 97-50 decision over Morgan State on Nov. 25, 1991. Cal also had 28 assists in the game - most since dishing out 29 vs. Fresno State on Dec. 11, 2001.

Highest Scoring Games in Cal History1. 127 vs. Oklahoma City (67), Jan. 3, 19712. 121 vs. U.S. International (97), Dec. 19, 19903. 117 vs. Jackson State (74), Dec. 5, 20074. 112 at Texas Southern (73), Nov. 29, 1995

Walk-ons Continue Tradition of Filling Significant Roles
With Cal down to six available scholarship players for the Nov. 19 contest vs. Nicholls State, the Bears were forced to rely on their stable of walk-ons to fill significant roles. Sophomore G David Liss earned his first career start and came through with eight points (3-5 FG, 2-4 3P), four assists and a block in 37 minutes. For all of last season, he played in 12 games and saw a total of 18 minutes of action. In addition, sophomore Nican Robinson (6 games) and freshman Eddie Miller (6 games) have all seen action to date. Under head coach Ben Braun, utilizing walk-ons in significant roles is nothing new. Alex Pribble, now a student assistant coach, started Cal's final five games at a wing spot last year, while Ryan Forehan-Kelly finished his career in 2002 ranked fourth on the school's all-time three-point shooting list (40.7 percent) and A.J. Diggs (2001-04) picked off 158 steals, good for third all-time in Bear annals.

Cal Posts First 6-0 Start since 1994-95
By beginning the season at 6-0, Cal jumped out to its best start in 13 years since the Bears were 7-0 to kick off the 1994-95 campaign (games that were later forfeited for use of an ineligible player). Prior to that season, the last time Cal won at least six straight to open a year was 1967-68, when the Bears were 7-0.

Golden Bear Notes ...
Nikola Knezevic paces the Bears in both assists (25, 3.6 apg) and steals (7, 1.0 spg), and had a high of six assists at Kansas State ... Ryan Anderson was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week Dec. 3 after scoring a career-high 36 points at Nevada and adding 15 points and 11 boards against Missouri ... Cal has won 18 of its last 19 non-conference home games ... sophomore C Jordan Wilkes connected on the second three-pointer of his career vs. Southern Miss; he also had one against Arizona State on Feb. 18, 2006 ... Wilkes also pulled down a career-high 7 rebounds vs. Jackson State ... senior F Eric Vierneisel set career highs in both rebounding (6) and assists (5) in the opener vs. Southern Miss, the matched both totals at Kansas State ... Cal is 10-2 in home openers under head coach Ben Braun ... Cal has added six non-scholarship players to the roster, four of whom return from last year (Nican Robinson, Thomas Fang, David Liss, Patrick Armstrong) and two who are new to the team (Jordan Fillmore, Eddie Miller) ... 2007-08 marks the 99th season of Cal basketball ... the Bears feature two 7-footers on the roster for the first time ever in 7-0 Jordon Wilkes and 7-2 Max Zhang - the tallest player in school history ... Cal had three players score at least 20 points vs. San Diego State (Ryan Anderson 23, Jerome Randle 21, Patrick Christopher 21) for the first time since an 84-80 OT win over Oregon State on Feb. 17, 2007 (Christopher 24, Ayinde Ubaka 21, Theo Robertson 21) ... Ben Braun ranks 10th among active coach with 541 victories.

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