Cal Hosts Stanford Saturday at 4 p.m.
Jan. 22, 2008
Stanford Cardinal (15-3, 4-2) at California Golden Bears (11-6, 2-4)
Saturday, Jan. 26, 4 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: Comcast SportsNet
California plays the final contest of a three-game homestand when the Golden Bears host Stanford (#20 AP/#21 ESPN/USA Today) at 4 p.m. Saturday in Haas Pavilion. The match-up will be televised in Northern California on Comcast SportsNet.
Cal, which sports an 11-6 overall record, has dropped two in a row and four of its last five since a 10-2 start. In five of the Bears' six losses on the year, Cal has either been ahead, tied or within two points in the final three minutes, but been unable to pull out a victory.
Led by sophomore F Ryan Anderson, who leads the Pac-10 with 21.9 ppg, the Bears are scoring at a 79.5 ppg clip for their highest average in 13 years. Last week, Anderson came through with 32 points vs. Arizona State and 30 more against Arizona, giving him a league-high 10, 20-point outings.
Clearly not confined to building up his points on the inside, Anderson has shot 32-of-62 from three-point distance his past 12 games (51.6%), including 3-for-3 from long range vs. Arizona last Saturday.
As a team, the Bears rank second in the conference in three-point accuracy at 38.2 percent. Since making a school-record 16 treys vs. Long Beach State Dec. 28, Cal has gone 74-for-170 (43.5%) from behind the arc, averaging 9.25 three-pointers per game.
A result of the Bears' offensive prowess is a Pac-10-leading 17.18 assists per game. Four teammates are dishing out 2.3 or more per game, paced by sophomore G Jerome Randle's 4.0 apg.
On the inside, senior C DeVon Hardin has moved into second place on Cal's career blocked shots list with 123, including 28 this season, which makes him the only Bear in double figures on the year. At the other end of the court, he has connected on 55.0 percent of his field goal attempts, making more than half his tries in 14 of 17 games.
Off the bench, the forward trio of Jamal Boykin, Harper Kamp and Eric Vierneisel combines to contribute nearly 18 ppg. Boykin, a mid-year transfer from Duke last year who became eligible in the season's ninth game, is coming off a 10-point, six-rebound effort vs. Arizona, while Kamp is shooting a team-high 58.3 percent from the floor and Vierneisel tossed in a career-best 15 points in a 92-82 victory over USC in the Pac-10 opener Jan. 5.
Probable StartersPOS NO NAME HT WT YR PPG RPGF 14 Eric Vierneisel 6-7 210 Sr 5.1 2.4Career-high 15 points vs. USC; made 23-of-46 FG since 3-25 start F 34 Ryan Anderson 6-10 240 So 21.9 9.8Averaging 26.3 ppg and 13.0 rpg last 3 games; 32 points vs. ASUC 35 DeVon Hardin 6-11 250 Sr 9.5 8.5Leads Bears with 28 blocks; 15 points/10 rebounds vs. USCG 13 Nikola Knezevic 6-2 185 So 3.8 3.2 apgTied career best with 8 points at Oregon State; team-high 13 stealsF 23 Patrick Christopher 6-5 215 So 16.5 3.6At least 16 points in 12 games after averaging 5.2 ppg last year
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 213-144, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 546-379. 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.
Stanford Scouting Report
A Look at Stanford
Stanford is off to a 15-3 start and is 4-2 away from home this year. Stanford surrenders just 56.4 ppg and is allowing opponents to shoot only 38.7 percent from the floor. Robin Lopez, who comes off the bench to average 8.9 ppg, paces the squad with 37 blocks, while his brother, Brook, has 15 blocks and contributes a team-high 17.2 ppg.
Cal-Stanford Series History
Cal holds a 139-110 lead in a series that dates back to the 1911-12 season. The Bears are just 5-17 vs. the Cardinal since 1997, but the squads split their two meetings last year. Cal claimed a 67-63 decision on Jan. 3 in Maples Pavilion behind 26 points by Ayinde Ubaka, while Stanford won, 90-71, on Feb. 3 in Berkeley. Sophomore G Jerome Randle paced the Bears with 19 points, his high game as a freshman.
Stanford Head Coach Trent Johnson
Trent Johnson is 67-43 in his fourth season at Stanford, having guiding the Cardinal to the NCAA Tournament in 2005 and '07 and to the NIT in 2006. Johnson was 79-74 in five years at Nevada from 2000-04, which included an appearance in the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2004.
Probable StartersPos No Name Ht Wt Yr Ppg RpgF 11 Brooke Lopez 7-0 260 So 17.2 8.3F 15 Lawrence Hill 6-8 215 Jr 9.3 5.9F 44 Fred Washington 6-5 215 Sr 6.0 3.9G 1 Mitch Johnson 6-1 190 Jr 6.3 4.7 apgG 4 Anthony Goods 6-3 205 Jr 12.2 2.2
For more information: www.gostanford.com
Golden Bear Notes
Last Game: Arizona Rallies Past Cal, 79-75
Cal led Arizona by six points (64-58) with six minutes to play, but the Wildcats outscored the Bears, 21-11, down the stretch to pull out a 79-75 victory last Saturday in Haas Pavilion. Cal was ahead most of the second half and was up by seven points on two occasions, the last after a DeVon Hardin dunk that made the score, 62-55, with 7:06 left. However, after Ryan Anderson tied the game at 70-all with a tip-in at the 1:10 mark, Arizona shot 9-for-10 from the free throw line in the final 49 seconds and the Bears could not answer. Anderson finished with 30 points on 10-of-13 field goal shooting, while Hardin added 11 points, and Jamal Boykin came off the bench for 10 points and six boards.
Anderson on Track for Pac-10 Scoring Title
With 32 points against Arizona State Jan. 17 and 30 more vs. Arizona two days later, Ryan Anderson became just the seventh Bear to score 30 or more in consecutive games. Including his career-high 36-point effort at Nevada Nov. 28, Anderson has reached the 30-point level three times this season. Only seven Cal players have ever had as many as four 30-point outings in a year - most recently by Joe Shipp in 2002-03 (4) - while the school record is six by Ed Gray in 1996-97. Now averaging a Pac-10-leading 21.9 ppg, Anderson is on track to become the Bears' seventh conference scoring champion in the last 15 years.
Recent Cal Pac-10 Scoring ChampionsLamond Murray 1993-94 24.3 ppgShareef Abdur-Rahim 1995-96 21.1 ppgEd Gray 1996-97 24.8 ppgSean Lampley 2000-01 19.5 ppgJoe Shipp 2002-03 20.4 ppgLeon Powe 2005-06 20.5 ppgRyan Anderson 2007-08 21.9 ppg**leads Pac-10 entering this week's action
Hardin Blocks Mean Good News for Cal
Senior 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 8-2 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. For his career, he has 123 blocks, which ranks second 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. DeVon Hardin (2004- ) 1233. Solomon Hughes (1999-02) 122
Bears Find 3-Point Stroke in Outburst vs. Long Beach State
Through 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 74-for-170 (43.5%) and sinking 9.3 per game over the past eight contests. Ten different players have connected from three-point land, with the primary contributors being Ryan Anderson (38-83, 45.8%), Patrick Christopher (30-79, 38.0%) and Jerome Randle (27-62, 43.5%). 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. 2007-08 17 129 7.592. 2007-08 129-338 38.2% 2. 2006-07 33 249 7.553. 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 Sophomore
With just 89 more points, Ryan Anderson will become the first sophomore in school history to reach the 1,000-point level. After totaling 539 points last season - the second-highest amount by a Cal freshman - he has poured in 372 in 17 games this year. At his current 2007-08 pace of 21.9 ppg, he will reach four figures in just five more games. Only two other Bears scored 1,000 points in the first two years with the program, and both of them transferred in. Mark McNamara, who began his career at Santa Clara, had 1,041 points in 1981 and '82, while Ed Gray finished with 1,082 points in 1996 and '97 after entering Cal from the College of Southern Idaho. Anderson's career rate of 18.2 ppg stands as the fifth-best ever at the school, behind only Gray (20.0 ppg), McNamara (19.6 ppg), Russ Critchfield (19.4 ppg, 1966-68) and Lamond Murray (19.2 ppg, 1992-94).
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. Ryan Anderson (2007-08) 539 372 9115. Jason Kidd (1993-94) 378 500 878
Anderson's Game Not Just about Points
Although Ryan Anderson has been piling up the points all season, scoring is not the only area where he excels. The 6-10 forward is pulling down 9.8 rpg, which ties for 20th best in the country, and he already has eight double-doubles. When he grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds at Oregon State Jan. 12 and followed it up with 15 more boards against Arizona State Jan. 17, Anderson became the first Cal player to have at least 15 rebounds in back-to-back contests since Brian Hendrick had 15 at Washington State and 17 vs. ASU on Feb. 1-6, 1992. In addition, Anderson leads the Pac-10 in free throw shooting (86.7%) and is fourth in three-point accuracy (45.8%).
Bears Dishing Out Coach-Pleasing, Pac-10-Leading 17.2 apg
One stat 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 17.2 apg, best in the Pac-10 and 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 (4.0 apg), Nikola Knezevic (3.2 apg), Patrick Christopher (2.6 apg) and Eric Vierneisel (2.3 apg).
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 59.3 ppg, or 74.6 percent of Cal's total. The team's top three scorers are all sophomores, led by Ryan Anderson's 21.9 ppg. He is followed by Patrick Christopher with 16.5 ppg and Jerome Randle with 11.7 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 246 (14.5) 182 (10.7) 49 (2.9)Junior 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0)Sophomore 1008 (59.3) 351 (20.6) 224 (13.2)Freshman 97 (5.7) 52 (3.1) 19 (1.1)
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 14 games, including 12 games of 16 or more. Now tossing in 16.5 ppg, he is scoring 11.3 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 44 assists (2.6 apg).
Eric Vierneisel Rebounds from Early Slump
After beginning the season by making just three of his first 25 field goal attempts and averaging 2.0 ppg through five games, senior F Eric Vierneisel has drained 23-of-46 from the floor (50.0%) and contributed 6.5 ppg. He reached double figures for the first time with 11 points at Kansas State and added 10 points vs. Long Beach State before going for a personal-best 15 points against USC. Vierneisel, who leads all Cal players on the roster with 94 career games, also had 37 assists (2.3 apg) against just 17 turnovers.
Theo Robertson to Redshirt in 2006-07
Junior F Theo Robertson, who earned Cal's Best Defensive Player Award last season, announced on Jan. 14 that he will redshirt this season following hip surgery last April. Robertson was cleared for fullcourt practice in late December, but has been unable to workout fully on back-to-back days. He will continue to practice with the Bears through the year. Last year, the 6-6 Robertson started all 33 games, many at power forward due to injuries to a pair of Cal post players, and averaged 8.8 ppg and 4.3 rpg. He scored a career-high 21 points vs. Oregon State in 2007 and led the Bears with 27 steals on the season.
Bench Support Giving Bears a Lift
Led by primary reserves Jamal Boykin (7.1 ppg), Harper Kamp (5.6 ppg) and Eric Vierneisel (5.1 ppg), Cal's bench is providing 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 Performing Well on Boards
Cal has outrebounded its opponents in 13 of 17 games this year and enters Saturday's game vs. Stanford with a +4.2 rebound margin. Ryan Anderson (9.8 rpg) and DeVon Hardin (8.5 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 eight double-doubles and snared 17 caroms at Oregon State and 15 more against Arizona State. So far, the Bears have had at least a 10-rebound differential six times - +14 at Nevada (48-34), +21 vs. Missouri (41-20), +11 vs. Jackson State (43-32), +12 vs. Delaware State (31-19), +10 at Oregon (38-28) and +12 (32-20) vs. Arizona. The Bears haven't been +4.0 or better for a full season since 1992-93 (+4.6), and this year's statistics represent quite a turnaround from last season when Cal's margin was -2.6.
Cal Shooting Well from Free Throw Line Again
After setting a school record by making 76.9 percent of its free throw attempts last year, Cal is challenging the mark this season by raising its rate to 75.7 percent, which ranks second in the Pac-10 and 14th in the country. Individually, Ryan Anderson leads the Pac-10 at 86.7 percent (78-90). He has connected on 55 of his last 59 tries (93.2%), which began with a streak of 22 in a row from Nov. 28 through Dec. 22. Last year, the Bears, who ranked third in the NCAA, averaged just 15.8 trips to the line per game. This season, Cal has raised its number to 21.3 per game.
Top Free Throw Rates in School HistoryYear FT-FTA Pct2006-07 400-520 .7692007-08 274-362 .7571986-87 513-698 .7352005-06 525-716 .7331988-89 544-742 .733
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 11.7 ppg and is shooting 43.5 percent (27-62) 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.
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 (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.