Cal Meets Oregon in 5:30 Tilt Thursday in Eugene

Jan. 7, 2008

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California Golden Bears (10-3, 1-1) at Oregon Ducks (10-4, 1-1)
Thursday, Jan. 10, 5:30 p.m., McArthur Court, Eugene, OR
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: Comcast SportsNet

California Golden Bears at Oregon State Beavers (6-8, 0-2, vs. Stanford 1/10)
Saturday, Jan. 12, 1:30 p.m., Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, OR
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: Fox Sports Net

California takes to the road for the first time in a month when the Golden Bears visit Oregon Thursday and Oregon State Saturday.

During Ben Braun's tenure as head coach the past 11 years, Cal has had more success on its swing through Oregon than any other Pac-10 trip, posting a 14-8 road mark - 5-7 vs. Oregon in Eugene and 9-2 against OSU in Corvallis.

Thursday's game vs. the Ducks promises to be a high-scoring affair with the two most productive offenses in the conference facing each other. Oregon leads the league with 83.4 ppg, while Cal is a close second at 80.5 ppg.

The Bears have topped 100 points twice this year - 117 vs. Jackson State and 102 vs. Long Beach State - and totaled 92 points against a USC team last Thursday that entered the contest surrendering just 59.0 ppg and had not allowed nine straight opponents more than 62 points.

Cal features two of the Top 10 scorers in the Pac-10 in leader Ryan Anderson, who is pouring in 20.8 ppg, and Patrick Christopher, now eighth with 17.1 ppg. Anderson has reached double figures in 16 consecutive games dating back to last year and recorded seven efforts with 23 or more points this season.

Christopher is one of the most improved players in the league, having raised his average nearly 12 ppg from his freshman campaign when he contributed 5.2 ppg. He has tallied at least 16 points 10 times and had one of his best all-around outings vs. USC with 24 points, seven rebounds and a career-best seven assists.

On the glass, senior C DeVon Hardin has snared double-digit rebounds on six occasions and now ranks fourth in the Pac-10 with 9.8 rpg. He also paces the Bears with 22 blocks.

Cal continues to lead the conference in assists with 17.15 per game, with the Bears' starting guards - Jerome Randle and Nikola Knezevic - having each dished out 42. The rate represents quite a jump from the 13.5 apg Cal averaged last year or 13.0 apg in 2005-06. Randle had a career-best nine assists vs. USC, while Knezevic has paced the Bears in three of their last four games.

Probable StartersPOS  NO   NAME                  HT    WT   YR   PPG   RPGF    23   Patrick Christopher   6-5   215  So   17.1  3.6At least 16 points in 10 games after averaging 5.2 ppg last yearF    34   Ryan Anderson         6-10  240  So   20.8  9.2Career-high 36 points at Nevada; Dec. 3 Pac-10 Player of the WeekC    35   DeVon Hardin          6-11  250  Sr   10.1  9.8Leads Bears with 22 blocks; 15 points/10 rebounds vs. USCG     3   Jerome Randle         5-10  165  So   13.1  3.8 apgGolden Bear Classic MVP after career-high 26 points vs. NDSUG    13   Nikola Knezevic       6-2   185  So   4.2   3.2 apgTied personal best with 6 assists vs. Long Beach 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 212-141, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 545-376. 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.

Oregon Scouting Report

A Look at Oregon
Oregon, which is coming off an 84-74 win at Arizona last Saturday, is 6-0 at home in Eugene this season. Malik Hairston tied his career high with 29 points vs. the Wildcats and is averaging a team-high 18.2 ppg overall. Cal and Oregon have played two common opponents in 2007-08 with opposite results. The Ducks defeated Kansas State, 80-77, in overtime and topped Utah, 75-64. However, the Bears fell, 82-75, at K-State and dropped a 67-65 decision to Utah.

Cal-Oregon Series History
Cal holds a 71-53 series lead over Oregon and has won four of six games over the past two years. In 2005-06, the Bears swept three contests, including a 91-87 double-overtime win in the Pac-10 Tournament semifinals. Last season, Cal and Oregon split their regular-season decisions - Cal won, 63-61, in Berkeley and Oregon won, 92-84, in Eugene - before the Ducks outscored the Bears, 81-63, in the Pac-10 semis.

Oregon Head Coach Ernie Kent
Ernie Kent is 203-124 in his 11th season at Oregon. He has guided the Ducks to four NCAA Tournaments, including two berths in the Elite Eight, as well as three appearances in the NIT. Kent was also 90-80 in six years at Saint Mary's.

Probable StartersPos  No   Name             Ht   Wt   Yr   Ppg   RpgF    10   Maarty Leunen    6-9  220  Sr   15.0  10.2G     1   Malik Hairston   6-6  220  Sr   18.2  4.8G     4   Bryce Taylor     6-4  210  Sr   13.8  4.4G    12   Tajuan Porter    5-6  150  So   14.1  2.4G    34   Kamyron Brown    6-2  170  Fr   6.8   2.5

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Oregon State Scouting Report

A Look at Oregon State
Oregon State, which hosts Stanford Thursday, enters the week on a four-game losing streak after falling at Arizona (76-63) and Arizona State (72-53) last weekend. Seth Tarver, who paces the Beavers with 13.4 ppg, is also shooting a team-best 40.0 percent from three-point range (28-70).

Cal-Oregon State Series History
Cal is 72-56 all-time vs. Oregon State and has won the last five against the Beavers, including all three meetings last year. The Bears prevailed, 77-74, in Corvallis and, 84-80, in overtime in Berkeley. Then in the opening round of the Pac-10 Tournament, Cal won, 70-51, behind Ryan Anderson's 27 points and 15 rebounds.

OSU Head Coach Jay John
Jay John is 72-93 in his sixth year at Oregon State. In 2004-05, he led OSU to a berth in the NIT and its first winning season since 1990. Prior to taking over the Beaver program, he was an assistant for 15 years, six of which were spent in the Pac-10 at Oregon and Arizona.

Probable StartersPos  No   Name                  Ht    Wt   Yr   Ppg   RpgF     3   Marcel Jones          6-8   220  Sr   12.4  7.3F    24   Omari Johnson         6-7   205  Fr   10.0  5.3C    10   Roeland Schaftenaar   6-11  240  So   6.4   5.2G     5   Josh Tarver           6-3   185  So   7.6   2.6G    15   Seth Tarver           6-5   205  So   13.4  5.8

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Golden Bear Notes

Last Game: No. 5 UCLA Downs Cal, 70-58
Kevin Love scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead UCLA (#5 AP/#5 ESPN/ USA Today) to a 70-58 victory over Cal last Saturday in a sold-out Haas Pavilion (11,877). The Bruins jumped out to a 13-2 lead less than four minutes into the game and were ahead by about 10 points most of the rest of the half. The Bears, though, came out of the break on an 11-2 run, keyed by five points from DeVon Hardin, to get within two at 38-36. After UCLA responded with a pair of Russell Westbrook jumpers and a Love layup, Cal was not able to get within five points the rest of the game. The Bears shot a season-low 36.2 percent from the floor and were led by Ryan Anderson's 12 points and eight rebounds. UCLA also outrebounded Cal, 43-30.

Bears Exert Three-Point Threat throughout Lineup
With 10 different players having connected from three-point range this year, virtually all of Cal's lineup has become a threat from behind the arc. The primary contributors are 6-10 F Ryan Anderson, who is shooting 43.5 percent and leads the team with 27 treys, and 5-10 G Jerome Randle, who has connected on 48.9 percent of his attempts (23-47). For the season, the Bears are 97-260 (37.3%), and they have put up some big numbers of late. Cal set a school record with 16 threes vs. Long Beach State Dec. 28, had 10 more against North Dakota State Dec. 29, and finished with 11 vs. USC last Thursday. Over the past four games, Cal is 42-for-92 (45.7%). Tossing in 7.46 three-pointers per game, the Bears are second in the league to Oregon (8.14 3pg).

Cal Pouring in the Points So Far in 2007-08
Having surpassed 100 points twice and with four players averaging at least 10 ppg, Cal is pouring in 80.5 ppg so far this season, a figure that ranks second in the Pac-10. In the history of the program, the Bears have averaged more than 80 ppg just once before - 83.9 ppg in 1970-71. The current squad first broke the 100-point barrier In a 117-74 win over Jackson State Dec. 5 - the third-most points ever put up by Cal - while the Bears' 102-65 victory over Long Beach State gave them two 100-point games in the same season for the first time since 1995-96.

Cal's Highest-Scoring Teams1. 1970-71   83.9 ppg2. 2007-08   80.5 ppg3. 1994-95   79.9 ppg4. 1992-93   79.3 ppg5. 1993-94   78.6 ppg

Bears Performing Well on Boards
Cal has outrebounded its opponents in 10 of 13 games this year and enters Thursday's game at Oregon with a +4.5 rebound margin. DeVon Hardin (9.8 rpg) and Ryan Anderson (9.2 rpg) have been the most dominant forces on the glass. Hardin opened the year with 12 or more rebounds in five straight games and grabbed a team-best 16 boards at Nevada, while Anderson already has six double-doubles. So far, the Bears have had at least a 10-rebound differential four times - +14 at Nevada (48-34), +21 vs. Missouri (41-20), +11 vs. Jackson State (43-32) and +12 vs. Delaware State (31-19). 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.

Anderson on Track to Be Cal's First 1,000-Point Sophomore
Now tossing in 20.8 ppg, sophomore F Ryan Anderson leads the Pac-10 in scoring and is aiming to become Cal's seventh league scoring champ in the last 15 years. Not only has he poured in at least 20 points in a game seven times this season - including a career-best 36-point effort at Nevada Nov. 28 - he is shooting 52.5 percent from the field, 43.5 percent from three-point range (27-62) and a Pac-10-best 84.8 percent from the free throw line (56-66). Last season, Anderson totaled the second-most points by a freshman in Cal history; his 539 points trail only the 590 tallied by Shareef Abdur-Rahim in 1995-96. Anderson is also on track to become the first Cal sophomore ever to reach the 1,000-point level. To date, he has 810 points and at his current rate, he will reach the plateau in 10 more games.

Cal Sophomore Career Scoring LeadersName                          Frosh   Soph   Total1. Brian Hendrick (1990-91)   478     492    9702. Leon Powe (2004, 06)       409     553    9623. Lamond Murray (1992-93)    367     572    9394. Jason Kidd (1993-94)       378     500    8785. Ryan Anderson (2007-08)    539     271    810

Hardin Up to Third in Cal Career Blocks
With 22 blocks this season, senior C DeVon Hardin has moved into third place on the Bears' all-time list with 117. He had a high of four in the opener vs. Southern Miss, when he also finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds. 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- )       117

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 60.1 ppg, or 74.6 percent of Cal's total. The team's top three scorers are all sophomores, led by Ryan Anderson's 20.8 ppg. He is followed by Patrick Christopher with 17.1 ppg and Jerome Randle with 13.1 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 26 points against North Dakota State.

Cal Production by Class            Points (Avg.)   Rebounds (Avg.)   Assists (Avg.)Senior      188 (14.5)      157 (12.1)        37 (2.8)Junior      0 (0.0)         0 (0.0)           0 (0.0)Sophomore   781 (60.1)      257 (19.8)        171 (13.2)Freshman    80 (6.2)        38 (2.9)          15 (1.2)

Patrick Christopher One of Most Improved In Pac-10
After averaging 5.2 ppg and reaching double figures just four times as a freshman last year, G Patrick Christopher has shown off a new-found scoring ability this season, reaching double digits in 11 games, including 10 games of 16 or more. Now tossing in 17.1 ppg, he is scoring 11.9 ppg more than he did last year. Christopher tied his high from his freshman campaign with 24 points against Nicholls State Nov. 19, then set a personal best with 26 points vs. Jackson State Dec. 5. Christopher also paced the Bears vs. Southern Miss (19 points) in the opener, had a team-high 18 points against Missouri Dec. 1 and poured in 24 points vs. USC Jan. 3. In addition, he is grabbing 3.6 rpg and is third on the team with 33 assists (2.5 apg).

Bears Dishing Out Coach-Pleasing 17.2 apg
One of the stats that head coach Ben Braun values highly is assists, which provide a good indication of how well the Bears are playing team basketball on the offensive end. To date, Cal is averaging 17.2 apg. The Bears had a high of 30 vs. Long Beach State, 28 against Jackson State and 23 vs. USC. Not coincidentally, Cal averaged 103.7 ppg in those three contests. No individual is claiming the majority of the assists as seven players average at least 1.0 per game and four contribute 2.0 or more - Jerome Randle (3.8 apg), Nikola Knezevic (3.2 apg), Patrick Christopher (2.5 apg) and Eric Vierneisel (2.3 apg). Only four times since assists became an official stat in 1969-70 have the Bears averaged at least 17 per game for a full year.

Top 5 Cal Season Assist AveragesYear      G    Ast   Avg    Individual Leader1988-89   33   611   18.5   Keith Smith - 5.8 apg1977-78   27   494   18.3   Gene Ransom - 4.9 apg1993-94   30   529   17.6   Jason Kidd - 9.1 apg2007-08   13   223   17.2   Jerome Randle - 3.8 apg1992-93   30   514   17.1   Jason Kidd - 7.7 apg

Jerome Randle Ignites Bears from Outside
With his ability to hit from way outside, sophomore G Jerome Randle sparked a pair of decisive runs to lead Cal to the championship of the Golden Bear Classic Dec. 28-29, earning both tournament MVP and Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. In the first round vs. Long Beach State, he had 13 points during a 21-3 spurt when Cal went from a 9-2 deficit to a 23-12 lead. Then in the title game vs. North Dakota State, Randle had 19 of his career-high 26 points after the break to help the Bears turn a 35-28 halftime shortfall into an 86-72 win. Randle missed the first two contests of the year after undergoing a kidney biopsy Oct. 29 (results revealed a mild inflammation that can be treated with medication). Since his return, he has tossed in 13.1 ppg and is shooting 48.9 percent (23-47) from three-point distance. In the Pac-10 opener vs. USC, Randle showed off his all-around game with 19 points and career highs with nine assists and five rebounds.

Cal Shooting Well from Free Throw Line Again
Having connected on at least 75 percent of its free throw attempts in eight of its last 10 games, Cal has raised its overall rate to 75.4 percent (No. 15 in NCAA). Individually, Ryan Anderson leads the Pac-10 at 84.8 percent (56-66). He has connected on 33 of his last 35 tries (94-3%), which included a streak of 22 in a row from Nov. 28 through Dec. 22. Last year, the Bears set a school record by sinking 76.9 percent, which was good for third-best in the country. But perhaps more impressively, Cal is getting to the stripe with far more regularity in 2007-08 than it did in '06-07, averaging 22.2 trips per game compared to 15.8. In addition, the Bears have made more free throws (218) than their opponents have tried (208) this year. Only once in school history - 2005-06 - did Cal maintain such an advantage for an entire season.

Top Free Throw Rates in School HistoryYear      FT-FTA    Pct2006-07   400-520   .7692007-08   186-246   .7541986-87   513-698   .7352005-06   525-716   .7331988-89   544-742   .733

With Hardin in Middle, Defense Returns to Form
This season, the Bears have limited their opponents to 41.6 percent shooting from the floor and outrebounded them by 4.5 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 22 blocks so far, but he also averages 9.8 rpg, having grabbed at least 12 rebounds five times. 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                 (13 games)             (final 22 games)FG% Allowed      41.6% (327-787)        49.7% (579-1166)Rebound Margin   +4.5                   -3.8Scoring Margin   +11.3                  -5.5

Walk-ons Continue Tradition of Filling Significant Roles
Throughout Ben Braun's tenure as head coach at Cal, he has been able to mold walk-ons into significant contributors to the Bears, and this season is no different. With Cal down to six available scholarship players for the Nov. 19 contest vs. Nicholls State, sophomore G David Liss earned his first start and came through with eight points and four assists in 37 minutes. In addition, non-scholarship players Nican Robinson (10 games), Eddie Miller (7 games), Patrick Armstrong (2 games) and Thomas Fang (2 games) have all seen action to date. Among prior walk-ons to play for the Bears: Alex Pribble, now a student assistant who started Cal's final five games at a wing spot last year; Ryan Forehan-Kelly, who 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) who picked off 158 steals, good for third all-time in Bear annals.

Golden Bear Notes ...
Cal is 59-8 (.881) vs. non-conference competition at home since Haas Pavilion opened in the fall of 1999, including 8-1 this season ... with 102 points vs. Long Beach State and 117 points vs. Jackson State, Cal has scored at least 100 points twice in a season for the first time since the first two games of the 1995-96 campaign ... Nikola Knezevic leads the Bears' starters with a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio (42 assists, 21 TOs) ... sophomore C Jordan Wilkes has connected on the three three-pointers this season - vs. Southern Miss, Long Beach State and USC ... 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 began the season 6-0, its best start since going 7-0 in 1994-95 ... 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 545 victories.

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