Bears Host No. 22 ASU, Arizona

Jan. 14, 2008

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Arizona State Sun Devils (13-2, 3-0) at California Golden Bears (11-4, 2-2)
Thursday, Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: none

Arizona Wildcats (11-5, 1-2, at Stanford 1/17) at California Golden Bears
Saturday, Jan. 19, 5 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: Comcast SportsNet

California returns to Haas Pavilion, where the Golden Bears are 9-2 this season, to host Arizona State (#22 AP/#25 ESPN/USA Today) Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and Arizona Saturday at 5 p.m.

Cal has split its first two weekends of Pac-10 play and is coming off a 69-59 victory at Oregon State most recently. The Bears limited the Beavers to 32.9 percent shooting from the field - lowest for a Cal opponent this year - and won for the 11th time in 12 years in Corvallis.

Sophomore F Ryan Anderson, the conference's leading scorer with 20.7 ppg, grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds in the game, which is the most for any Bear since Leon Powe had 20 vs. USC in the quarterfinals of the 2006 Pac-10 Tournament. Due to the effort, Anderson now has risen to fourth in the league with 9.6 rpg.

Cal's other starting big man, 6-11 senior DeVon Hardin, also played well against Oregon State. He started off the game with two points, three rebounds, two blocks and a charge taken in the game's first six minutes to help ignite the attack. Hardin finished with eight points, seven boards and three blocks in just 22 minutes on the court.

With Anderson and Hardin (9.2 rpg) up front, Cal has outrebounded its opponents 12 times in 15 games and has posted a 10-2 rebound when winning the battle on the boards.

Around the perimeter, the Bears continued their hot shooting in Oregon, going 10-for-21 vs. the Ducks and 6-for-15 vs. the Beavers on three-point attempts. Cal is 58-for-128 (45.3%) behind the arc over the last six games, a run that began with a school-record 16 treys vs. Long Beach State Dec. 28.

Overall, the Bears are second in the Pac-10 with 79.1 ppg, with the freshman and sophomore classes contributing more than 82 percent of Cal's total (64.9 ppg). Four of the Bears' top five scorers are sophomores, including the leading three - Anderson, G/F Patrick Christopher (16.9 ppg) and G Jerome Randle (12.2 ppg) - while freshman F Harper Kamp ranks sixth on the list.

The Bears will sure to be tested by their two opponents this week; Arizona State allows just 56.7 ppg (seventh-best in the country), while Arizona gives up only 66.6 ppg.

Probable StartersPOS  NO   NAME                  HT    WT   YR   PPG   RPGF    23   Patrick Christopher   6-5   215  So   16.9  3.6At least 16 points in 11 games after averaging 5.2 ppg last year F    34   Ryan Anderson         6-10  240  So   20.7  9.6Career-high 17 rebounds at Oregon State; 45.8 3P% (33-72) C    35   DeVon Hardin          6-11  250  Sr   9.4   9.2Leads Bears with 26 blocks; 15 points/10 rebounds vs. USCG     3   Jerome Randle         5-10  165  So   12.2  3.9 apgGolden Bear Classic MVP after career-high 26 points vs. NDSUG    13   Nikola Knezevic       6-2   185  So   4.2   3.1 apgTied career best with 8 points at Oregon State; team-high 13 steals

Cal Head Coach Ben BraunBen 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 213-142, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 546-377. 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.

Arizona State Scouting Report

A Look at Arizona StateArizona State, which has won nine consecutive games overall, is off to a 3-0 start in the Pac-10 for the first time since the Sun Devils began the 1987-88 season 4-0. Since going 6-19 at the start of last season, ASU is 15-5 in its past 20 games. Freshman James Harden paces the squad in scoring with 18.2 ppg on 54.9 percent shooting from the floor.

Cal-ASU Series HistoryArizona State holds a narrow 33-30 series lead over Cal, although the Bears have won 10 of the last 14 meetings. Last year, Cal claimed a 66-62 decision in overtime in Tempe. However, ASU has prevailed the last three times the Sun Devils have traveled to Berkeley - 79-70 in 2005, 65-64 in double OT in 2006 and 42-41 last year.

Arizona State Head Coach Herb SendekHerb Sendek is 21-24 in his second season at Arizona State. He was previously 63-26 in three years at Miami (Ohio) from 1994-96 and 191-132 over the next 10 years at North Carolina State. Twelve of his teams have advanced to either the NCAA or NIT playoffs.

Probable StartersPos  No   Name               Ht   Wt   Yr   Ppg   RpgF     4   Jeff Pendergraph   6-9  230  Jr   13.7  7.1G     3   Ty Abbott          6-3  200  Fr   10.3  3.1G    12   Derek Glasser      6-1  180  So   5.6   2.1G    13   James Harden       6-4  218  Fr   18.2  5.6G    44   Jerren Shipp       6-3  214  So   7.3   3.1

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Arizona Scouting Report

A Look at ArizonaArizona, which plays at Stanford Thursday before visiting Cal, is coming off an 85-71 win at Houston Saturday. Jerryd Bayless, in his first game back from a sprained knee, finished with 33 points and nine assists. He leads the Wildcats with 19.7 ppg. Last season's Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, Chase Budinger, is contributing 17.1 ppg and 5.9 rpg.

Cal-Arizona Series HistoryArizona possesses a 49-25 mark against Cal in a series that dates back to the 1923-24 season. The Wildcats swept both contests last year - 94-85 in Tucson and 70-65 in Berkeley. The Bears' most recent victory came in 2006 when they won, 75-66, behind 30 points from Leon Powe.

Arizona Head Coach Kevin O'Neill (interim) Kevin O'Neill is serving as interim coach for Arizona this season while long-time coach Lute Olson takes a leave of absence. O'Neill has more than 30 years of coaching experience, which includes head positions at Marquette, Tennessee and Northwestern at the collegiate level and one year as head coach of the NBA's Toronto Raptors.

Probable StartersPos  No   Name               Ht    Wt   Yr   Ppg   RpgF    34   Chase Budinger     6-7   203  So   17.1  5.9G    43   Jordan Hill        6-10  226  So   14.4  8.1G     0   Jerryd Bayless     6-3   199  Fr   19.7  3.3G     5   Jawann McClellan   6-4   204  Sr   8.9   3.9G    13   Nic Wise           5-10  176  So   7.4   2.4

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Golden Bear Notes

Last Game: Anderson's 17 Boards Help Cal over OSU, 69-59Ryan Anderson scored 17 points and grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds as Cal won for the 11th time in the last 12 years in Corvallis with a 69-59 victory over Oregon State. After the Bears jumped out to a quick 14-4 lead, OSU made 8 of its next 9 shots during an 18-2 run to move ahead, 22-16. However, Cal responded with its own 15-0 spurt over the next 1:58, keyed by two three-pointers from Anderson and one by Eric Vierneisel. The Bears led by as many as 18 points in the second half, going up, 55-37, midway through the period. For the game, Cal limited the Beavers to 32.9 percent shooting from the floor - lowest for a Bear opponent this season. Patrick Christopher finished with 11 points, while Jerome Randle finished with 11 points, five assists and a career-high-tying five rebounds.

Hardin Blocks Mean Good News for CalSenior C DeVon Hardin is well on his way to leading Cal in blocks for the third consecutive year, and when he has been able to swat away shots, the news is usually good for the Golden Bears. So far this season, Cal is 8-1 when Hardin has two or more blocks, a much better mark than during his first three years, when the Bears were a combined 15-10 when he had at least two blocks. In last Saturday's win at Oregon State, Hardin finished with three blocks. For his career, he has 121 blocks, which ranks third all-time at Cal. 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.

Cal Career Blocked Shot Leaders1. Michael Stewart (1994-97)   2072. Solomon Hughes (1999-02)    1223. DeVon Hardin (2004- )       121

Bears Find 3-Point Stroke in Outburst vs. Long Beach StateThrough the first nine games of the season, Cal managed to make just 32.7 percent of its three-point tries (55-168) and averaged only 6.1 treys per game. But something must have clicked for the Bears in their 102-65 win over Long Beach State Dec. 28. Cal drained a school-record 16 shots from behind the arc vs. the 49ers and has enjoyed increased long-range accuracy ever since, going 58-for-128 (45.3%) and sinking 9.7 per game. Ten different players have connected from three-point land, with the primary contributors being Ryan Anderson (33-72, 45.8%), Patrick Christopher (25-71, 35.2%) and Jerome Randle (24-50, 48.0%). Cal's overall three-point rate of 38.2 percent is just behind the record 38.7 percent set in 1989-90.

Best 3-Point Percentages at Cal   Most 3-Pointers per Game at CalYear         3FG-A     Pct        Year         G    3FG   Per Game1. 1989-90   196-507   38.7%      1. 2006-07   33   249   7.552. 2007-08   113-296   38.2%      2. 2007-08   15   113   7.533. 1987-88   133-355   37.5%      3. 1994-95   27   189   7.004. 2005-06   169-452   37.4%      4. 2002-03   31   198   6.395. 2002-03   198-530   37.4%      5. 1989-90   32   196   6.13

Anderson on Track to Be Cal's First 1,000-Point SophomoreNow tossing in 20.7 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 eight times this season - including a career-best 36-point effort at Nevada Nov. 28 - he is shooting 51.7 percent from the field, 45.8 percent from three-point range (33-72) and a Pac-10-best 85.5 percent from the free throw line (59-69). 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 849 points and at his current rate, he will reach the plateau in 8 more games.

Most Points Freshman-Sophomore Seasons at CalName                          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     310    849

Bears Performing Well on BoardsCal has outrebounded its opponents in 12 of 15 games this year and enters Thursday game vs. Arizona State with a +4.6 rebound margin. Ryan Anderson (9.6 rpg) and DeVon Hardin (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 career-best 16 boards at Nevada, while Anderson already has seven double-doubles and snared 17 caroms at Oregon State. So far, the Bears have had at least a 10-rebound differential five times - +14 at Nevada (48-34), +21 vs. Missouri (41-20), +11 vs. Jackson State (43-32), +12 vs. Delaware State (31-19) and +10 at Oregon (38-28). 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.

Year of the Sophomore for Golden BearsIn 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 58.9 ppg, or 74.5 percent of Cal's total. The team's top three scorers are all sophomores, led by Ryan Anderson's 20.7 ppg. He is followed by Patrick Christopher with 16.9 ppg and Jerome Randle with 12.2 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      212 (14.1)      172 (11.5)        41 (2.7)Junior      0 (0.0)         0 (0.0)           0 (0.0)Sophomore   883 (58.9)      307 (20.5)        195 (13.0)Freshman    91 (6.1)        47 (3.2)          16 (1.1)

Patrick Christopher One of Most Improved In Pac-10After 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 13 games, including 11 games of 16 or more. Now tossing in 16.9 ppg, he is scoring 11.7 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 averaging 33 assists (2.3 apg).

Bench Support Giving Bears a LiftLed by primary reserves Jamal Boykin (6.7 ppg), Harper Kamp (5.9 ppg) and Eric Vierneisel (4.9 ppg), Cal's bench is proving 18.2 ppg of support this season. The Bear bench scored a high of 42 points vs. Long Beach State Dec. 28 when Boykin had 18 points and Vierneisel 10. Kamp's 16 points helped the reserves total 30 points against Jackson State Dec. 5, while Vierneisel's career-best 15 points helped Cal's non-starters contribute 22 points vs. USC Jan. 3. The input Cal is receiving from its bench this year is significantly higher than the Bears have picked up in recent seasons - 15.1 ppg in 2006-07 and 10.6 ppg in 2005-06.

Bears Dishing Out Coach-Pleasing 16.8 apgOne of the stats that head coach Ben Braun values highly is assists, which provide a good indication of how well the Bears are playing as a team on the offensive end. In 2007-08, Cal has averaged 16.8 assists per game, the Bears' highest rate since the Jason Kidd-led squad of 1993-94 dished out 17.6 apg. No one player is responsible for the rise, as four different Bears are averaging more than two per game - Jerome Randle (3.9 apg), Nikola Knezevic (3.1 apg), Patrick Christopher (2.3 apg) and Eric Vierneisel (2.1 apg).

Jerome Randle Ignites Bears from OutsideWith 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 12.2 ppg and is shooting 48.0 percent (24-50) 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. He then matched the rebound total at Oregon last week.

Cal Shooting Well from Free Throw Line AgainHaving connected on at least three-quarters of its free throw attempts in eight of its last 12 games, Cal has raised its overall rate to 74.7 percent (No. 21 in NCAA). Individually, Ryan Anderson leads the Pac-10 at 85.5 percent (59-69). He has connected on 36 of his last 38 tries (94.7%), 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 21.3 trips per game compared to 15.8.

Top Free Throw Rates in School HistoryYear          FT-FTA     Pct2006-07     400-520    .7692007-08     186-246    .7471986-87     513-698    .7352005-06     525-716    .7331988-89     544-742    .733

With Hardin in Middle, Defense Returns to FormThis season, the Bears have limited their opponents to 41.1 percent shooting from the floor and outrebounded them by 4.6 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 26 blocks so far, but he also averages 9.2 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.

Walk-ons Continue Tradition of Filling Significant RolesThroughout 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 (11 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.

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