Cal Takes to Road to Visit No. 9 WSU, Washington

Jan. 28, 2008

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California Golden Bears (11-7, 2-5) at Washington State Cougars (17-2, 5-2)
Thursday, Jan. 31, 7 p.m., Friel Court, Pullman, WA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: none

California Golden Bears at Washington Huskies (12-8, 3-4, vs. Stanford 1/28)
Saturday, Feb. 2, 3 p.m., Bank of America Arena, Seattle, WA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: FSN Bay Area Plus

California returns to the road this week when the Golden Bears visit Washington State (#9 AP/#9 ESPN/USA Today) Thursday and Washington Saturday. To date, Cal is 2-2 away from Haas Pavilion, picking up victories at Nevada and Oregon State.

With one of the most potent offenses in the country, the Bears are averaging 79.3 ppg - 9.8 ppg more than last year - a figure that ranks second in the Pac-10 behind Oregon and 31st on the national level. Cal is also among the NCAA leaders in both field goal percentage (24th, 48.4%) and free throw percentage (13th, 75.9%).

The Bears, though, face a difficult challenge in their next contest at WSU, which leads the country in scoring defense, allowing just 53.9 ppg. However, Cal has had success against several strong defenses so far this season, scoring 77 points vs. a Stanford team that entered last Saturday's game giving up 56.4 ppg and finishing with 92 points Jan. 3 against a USC squad that was surrendering 59.0 ppg at the time. The Bears also scored 90 points in two overtimes vs. Arizona State, which was allowing 56.7 ppg entering the Jan. 17 match-up.

Overall, Cal is led by sophomore F Ryan Anderson, the Pac-10's top point producer with 21.3 ppg. He has reached the 20-point level 10 times this year, including three games with 30 or more. In addition, Anderson rates among the league's best in rebounding (4th, 9.7 rpg), three-point shooting (8th, 44.7%) and free throw shooting (1st, 86.2%).

Senior C DeVon Hardin had perhaps his most productive outing of conference action against Stanford when he finished with 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor. Over his past four games, he is 17-for-26 from the floor (73.1%) and has averaged 11.5 ppg.

The Bears have received a boost up front recently from F Jamal Boykin, a 6-8 sophomore who has now played in 10 games since becoming eligible after transferring from Duke. He came off the bench for 14 points and eight rebounds vs. Stanford, one game after finishing with 10 points and six boards against Arizona.

In the backcourt, sophomore G Jerome Randle has contributed 5.1 apg in Pac-10 action (against just 1.9 topg). Last week vs. the Cardinal, he totaled 12 points, seven assists, a career-high seven rebounds and only one turnover.

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 25-of-51 FG since 3-25 startF    34   Ryan Anderson         6-10  240  So   21.3  9.73 games with 30 or more this year - 36 (Nevada), 32 (ASU), 30 (AZ) C    35   DeVon Hardin          6-11  250  Sr   9.9   8.217 points vs. Stanford (7-9 FG); 56.9 FG%; 28 blocksG     3   Jerome Randle         5-10  165  So   11.7  4.2 apg12 points, 7 assists, 7 rebs vs. Stanford; Golden Bear Classic MVPF    23   Patrick Christopher   6-5   215  So   16.5  3.5At least 16 points in 13 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 213-145, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 546-380. 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.

Washington State Scouting Report

A Look at Washington State
Washington State is off to a 17-2 start this season and is ranked ninth in both national polls. The Cougars are 9-0 at home this year after going 13-2 in Pullman last season. WSU permits just 53.9 ppg and allows opponents to shoot 40.8 percent from the floor. Derrick Low paces the offense with 14.1 ppg, while Aron Baynes pulls down a team-high 6.2 rpg.

Cal-WSU Series History
Cal holds a 67-44 all-time lead over Washington State, although WSU took both games last year - 73-56 in Berkeley and 59-46 in Pullman. The series has featured sweeps by one team each of the last seven years, with Cal winning both games in 2001, '02, '03, '05 and '06, and WSU taking both contests in 2004 and '07.

WSU Head Coach Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett is 43-10 in his second year at Washington State. Last season, he named both Pac-10 and National Coach of the Year after leading the Cougars to a 26-8 record and a second-place finish in the Pac-10 (13-5).

Probable StartersPos  No   Name               Ht    Wt   Yr   Ppg   RpgF    34   Robbie Cowgill     6-10  211  Sr   7.1   4.6C    11   Aron Baynes        6-10  270  Jr   11.9  6.2G     2   Derrick Low        6-2   196  Sr   14.1  1.4G    10   Taylor Rochestie   6-1   186  Jr   9.1   3.0G    25   Kyle Weaver        6-6   201  Sr   11.1  4.7

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Washington Scouting Report

A Look at Washington
Washington, which hosts Stanford Thursday before meeting Cal, is 10-2 in Seattle this season, including a sweep of Oregon and Oregon State in its most recent homestand. Jon Brockman paces the team with 19.1 ppg and he is the Pac-10 leader with 11.5 rpg. Ryan Appleby tops the Huskies with 36 three-pointers (42.9%) despite missing the first seven games of the year due to injury.

Cal-Washington Series History
The Cal-Washington series is tied at 72-all, and the teams have split their meetings the past two seasons. Last year, Cal won, 77-69, in overtime in Berkeley, when Ryan Anderson led the Bears with 18 points and 14 rebounds, while UW claimed a 79-71 decision in Seattle. Cal last victory on the road vs. the Huskies was 73-66 in 2003.

UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar
Lorenzo Romar is 115-63 in his sixth season at Washington. He has guided the Huskies to three NCAA Tournaments, including a pair of appearances in the Sweet 16. Romar was also 42-44 at Pepperdine (1997-99) and 51-44 at Saint Louis (2000-02).

Probable StartersPos  No   Name            Ht    Wt   Yr   Ppg   RpgF    40   Jon Brockman    6-7   255  Jr   19.1  11.5F    21   Artem Wallace   6-8   250  Jr   2.4   1.8G     1   Venoy Overton   5-11  180  Fr   4.9   1.8G     4   Tim Morris      6-4   210  Sr   8.8   3.8G    20   Ryan Appleby    6-3   170  Sr   10.3  1.0

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Golden Bear Notes

Last Game: Stanford Rebounds Its Way Past Cal, 82-77
Stanford (#20 AP/#21 ESPN/USA Today) got 23 second-half points from Brook Lopez and grabbed a total of 21 offensive rebounds en route to an 82-77 victory over Cal last Saturday in Haas Pavilion. The Bears trailed, 24-14, early in the game, but rallied to take a 46-45 lead with 12:20 to go. Cal was still within two points at 72-70 with 2:48 left when Lopez tallied three straight to give the Cardinal a 75-70 advantage with just over a minute remaining, and the Bears could not overcome their deficit. Five Bears scored in double figures, led by DeVon Hardin's 17 points - his highest total since Dec. 5. Jerome Randle returned to the starting lineup after a two-game absence and finished with 12 points, seven assists and a career-best seven rebounds.

Bears Pouring in the Points
Now averaging 79.3 ppg, Cal ranks second in the Pac-10 and 31st in the country in offensive production. The Bears have scored at least 90 points four times, including a pair of game over 100. In fact, Cal's 117-74 win over Jackson State Dec. 5 represented the third-highest single-game total in school history. The Bears also defeated Long Beach State, 102-65, on Dec. 28 in the first round of the Golden Bear Classic, and topped USC, 92-82, in their Pac-10 opener. Cal's current per-game rate ties for the third highest in school history, represents a +9.8 ppg increase over last year, and is the team's best since the 1994-95 squad averaged 79.9 ppg.

Cal's Highest-Scoring TeamsYear         G    Points   Avg1. 1970-71   25   2098     83.92. 1994-95   27   2158     79.93. 2006-07   18   1428     79.33. 1992-93   30   2380     79.35. 1993-94   30   2358     78.6

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 21.3 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   21.3 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 Dishing Out Coach-Pleasing, Pac-10-Leading 17.1 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 17.1 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 (4.2 apg, 6th in Pac-10), Nikola Knezevic (3.0 apg), Patrick Christopher (2.7 apg) and Eric Vierneisel (2.2 apg).

Anderson on Track to Be Cal's First 1,000-Point Sophomore
With just 78 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 383 in 18 games this year. At his current 2007-08 pace of 21.3 ppg, he will reach four figures in just four 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 18.1 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    9225. Jason Kidd (1993-94)       378     500    878

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 78-for-181 (43.1%) and sinking 8.7 per game over the past nine contests. Ten different players have connected from three-point land, with the primary contributors being Ryan Anderson (38-85, 44.7%), Patrick Christopher (32-81, 39.5%) and Jerome Randle (28-68, 41.2%). Cal's overall three-point rate of 38.1 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   133-349   38.1%       2. 2007-08   18   133   7.393. 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'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 9.7 rpg, which rates fourth in the Pac-10, 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 (86.2%) and is eighth in three-point accuracy (44.7%).

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 58.9 ppg, or 74.3 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      268 (14.9)      189 (10.5)        50 (2.8)Junior      0 (0.0)         0 (0.0)           0 (0.0)Sophomore   1061 (58.9)     375 (20.8)        239 (13.3)Freshman    99 (5.5)        52 (2.9)          19 (1.1)

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 25-of-51 from the floor (49.0%) and contributed 6.4 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 95 career games, also had 38 assists (2.2 apg) against just 17 turnovers.

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 15 games, including 13 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 3.5 rpg and averaging 48 assists (2.7 apg).

Bench Support Giving Bears a Lift
Led by primary reserves Jamal Boykin (7.8 ppg), Harper Kamp (5.4 ppg) and Eric Vierneisel (5.1 ppg), Cal's bench is providing 18.1 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. Boykin has reached double figures his last two games with 10 points vs. Arizona and 14 points, plus eight boards, against Stanford. 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.

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 75.9 percent, which ranks first in the Pac-10 and 13th in the country. Individually, Ryan Anderson leads the Pac-10 at 86.2 percent (81-94). He has connected on 58 of his last 63 tries (92.1%), which began with a streak of 22 in a row from Nov. 28 through Dec. 22. Other Bears in the league's Top 10 are Jerome Randle (3rd, 86.0%) and Patrick Christopher (7th, 79.0%). Last year, Cal, which ranked third in the NCAA, averaged just 15.8 trips to the line per game. This season, the Bears have raised their number to 21.2 per game.

Top Free Throw Rates in School HistoryYear         FT-FTA    Pct1. 2006-07   400-520   .7692. 2007-08   289-381   .7593. 1986-87   513-698   .7354. 2005-06   525-716   .733

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 (12 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 ...
Head coach Ben Braun announced Jan. 14 that junior F Theo Robertson plans to take a medical redshirt this season (hip surgery last April); in addition, three other scholarship players have yet to see action this year: sophomore C Taylor Harrison (knee), freshman F Omondi Amoke (calf) and freshman C Max Zhang ... 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 ... 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, then matched both totals at Kansas State; he later broke the assist mark with 6 against Arizona ... 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 546 victories.

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