Golden Bears Visit Missouri, Utah
Dec. 5, 2008
California Golden Bears (6-1) at Missouri Tigers (6-1)
Sunday, Dec. 7, 11 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. CT, Mizzou Arena, Columbia, MO
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
California at Utah Utes (5-1, vs Idaho State 12/6)
Wednesday, Dec. 10, 5 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. MT, Huntsman Center, Salt Lake City, UT
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: The Mtn.
California returns to the road for its second two-game road trip of the year when the Golden Bears visit Missouri at 11 a.m. PT Saturday in a Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series contest, followed by a trip to Utah to face the Utes at 5 p.m. PT Wednesday.
The Bears then have a 10-day break for fall final exams before holding a six-game homestand that includes the Colliers International Golden Bear Classic and the onset of Pac-10 action.
Cal is coming off a 77-67 win over DePaul Dec. 3 at Haas Pavilion, the Bears' third meeting of the season against an unbeaten team, with two of those contests going Cal's way. Earlier, the Bears ended UNLV's 19-game home winning streak with a 73-55 decision, but fell 80-77 to Florida State in Las Vegas.
Cal continues to pace the nation in three-point accuracy, having connected on 51.1 percent of its long-range attempts. Junior G Jerome Randle is leading the way from behind the arc, having hit on 21-of-34 attempts for a 61.8 percent success rate, good for No. 7 in the country.
Randle paces the squad with 21.0 ppg after scoring a team-high 24 vs. DePaul and matching his personal high of 26 against Florida State. He is dishing out a team-best 4.7 apg and owns a team-high 10 steals.
On the defensive end, the Bears are holding opponents to 62.4 ppg, far fewer than the 75.1 ppg Cal allowed last year. Four teams have not broken 60 points, including N. Carolina A&T, which was confined to 47.
Junior G Patrick Christopher has been one of the keys on both ends of the floor. In addition to contributing 14.6 ppg, he has also delivered on his defensive assignments. He limited Ed Jones, North Carolina A&T's leading scorer to 1-of-8 shooting, and in Cal's next outing, he drew UNLV senior Wink Adams (16.2 ppg) and held him to 3-of-14 from the floor. With under a minute to play and a slim lead against DePaul, Christopher stole the ball from the Demons' Dar Tucker to set up game-clinching
The Bears also own a +8.6 rebound margin and have had a +9 or greater differential five times, including a +19 effort against DePaul. Junior F Jamal Boykin (5.7 rpg) and junior C Jordan Wilkes (5.6) are the rebounding leaders on the squad, while five other players average 3 or more per game.
Probable StartersPOS NO NAME HT WT YR PPG RPGF 10 Jamal Boykin 6-8 230 Jr 10.1 5.7Matched his career high with 18 points vs. Texas-Pan AmericanF 24 Theo Robertson 6-6 225 Jr 11.7 3.0Career highs of 23 points vs. USF and 9 assists vs. DePaulC 33 Jordan Wilkes 7-0 225 Jr 5.1 5.6Career-high 10 rebounds vs. DePaulG 3 Jerome Randle 5-10 160 Jr 21.0 4.7 apgTied career best with 26 points at UNLV; 61.8 3P% and 90.2 FT%G 23 Patrick Christopher 6-5 215 Jr 14.6 3.7Reached double figures in scoring in all 7 games this year
Golden Bear Notes
Last Time Out: Bears Bounce Back with 87-77 Win vs. DePaul
Jerome Randle hit three key 3-pointers over the final 7:38 and finished with 24 points and six assists as Cal survived to defeat previously unbeaten DePaul 77-67 Wednesday in Haas Pavilion. Patrick Christopher scored 16 of his 23 points in the first half and also had eight rebounds, and Jamal Boykin added 10 points and seven boards for the Bears. Christopher scored 12 of Cal's first 20 points, shooting 6-for-8 to start the game and making an ally-oop dunk off a nice pass from Randle. Christopher knocked down a three-pointer with 3:46 to play after Tucker pulled DePaul to 63-59 and scored another basket on Cal's next possession. Randle's third late trey gave the Bears a 71-65 lead, then he made two big free throws with 41 seconds left and another pair at 24.8.
All-Junior Lineup for Bears
With no seniors on the roster, Cal has to look to its junior class for veteran leadership this season, and the Bears are getting just that with an all-junior starting lineup. Jerome Randle and Patrick Christopher combined as Cal's starting backcourt virtually all of last year, and the pair is teaming up again in 2008-09. Jamal Boykin started in 11 of the Bears' final 15 games last season, while Theo Robertson started all 33 games in 2006-07 before missing '07-08 with a hip injury. Only C Jordan Wilkes had not had a start prior to this year.
Cal Rebounding Well with +8.6 Margin
Despite losing its top two rebounders from last year - Ryan Anderson and DeVon Hardin, who combined to grab 17.3 rpg in 2007-08 - Cal is winning the battle of the boards by a 257 to 197 margin. In the Bears' win over DePaul last Wednesday, they out-boarded the Blue Demons, 45-26 (+19). No one player is dominating the statistics - Jamal Boykin leads the squad with 5.7 rpg, but eight different players are snaring 2.3 or more per game. In addition to the DePaul differential, Cal had a +16 edge over UNLV, a +12 margin vs. North Carolina A&T and +9 against both Pacific and San Francisco. Even against a Florida State team that started four players 6-7 or taller, the Bears were nearly even (34 to 36).
Hot Shots: Jerome Randle Lighting Up the Nets
Junior G Jerome Randle, who averaged 11.8 ppg last season, is pouring in 21.0 ppg this year to lead the Bears. He already has five 20-point efforts so far, exceeding his career total of three 20-point games during his first two seasons in the program. He has paced Cal in scoring six times in seven games, including a career-high-tying 26 points vs. Florida State Nov. 29. Randle is shooting 54.8 percent from the floor and has made 61.8 percent of his three-point attempts (21-for-34), which ranks seventh-best in the country. In addition, he is 46-for-51 at the free throw line after going 7-for-8 against DePaul.
Hot Shots, Part Trey
With Jerome Randle leading the way, Cal ranks first nationally in three-point shooting, having connected on 51.1 percent of its shots from behind the arc. Randle's 61.8 percent is No. 7 in the nation, while junior F Theo Robertson isn't much further behind at 52.0 percent (13-25). As a team, the Bears made more than half their attempts in each of their first five games, including a 7-for-10 effort at UNLV and an 8-for-12 performance against San Francisco. In addition to Randle and Robertson, reserves Eddie Miller (3-for-3) and Jorge Gutierrez (3-for-6) are both shooting well from long distance.
NCAA Three-Point Percentage Leaders (as of 12/3/08)1. California 51.1% 48-942. Ohio 49.1% 27-553. North Dakota State 47.2% 34-724. Utah State 47.0% 31-765. Texas Tech 44.8% 78-174
Montgomery Off to Quick Start at Cal
Head coach Mike Montgomery became the first Cal coach in 48 years to win his first five games directing the program. The Bears opened with victories over Pacific, San Francisco, Texas-Pan American, North Carolina A&T and UNLV before falling by three points to Florida State. The last coach to accomplish the five-game feat was Rene Herrerias, who began 5-0 in 1960-61 as the successor to Pete Newell.
Bears Begin with Five 10-Point Wins for First Time in 82 Years
Cal won each of its first five games by at least 10 points for the first time since the 1926-27 season. The Bears opened with a 68-56 victory over Pacific and followed with decisions over San Francisco (87-74), Texas-Pan American (85-58) and North Carolina A&T (82-47). Cal then stopped UNLV's home winning streak at 19 games with a 73-55 triumph at the Thomas & Mack Center. Back in 1926-27, Cal also opened with wins over San Francisco and Pacific en route to prevailing by double figures in its first six contests.
Cal's Non-Conference Success at Haas Pavilion
With a 5-0 record in Haas Pavilion to start the year, Cal has now won 27 of its last 30 nonconference home games. Last season, the Bears were 8-1 in Berkeley against teams outside the Pac-10, including a 68-66 victory over New Mexico in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament. The only loss was a 67-65 setback to Utah. Looking back further, Cal was 6-1 outside the conference at home in 2006-07 and 6-0 in 2005-06.
Theo Robertson Returns to the Lineup
Junior F Theo Robertson is back in the starting lineup after missing all of last year due to preseason hip surgery. And six games into the 2008-09 campaign, it seems the 6-5 wing is playing as well as ever. He is averaging 11.7 ppg, scoring in double figures five times in seven games, and shooting 48.5 percent from the floor and 52.0 percent from three-point distance. Robertson soared to a career-high 23 points - 19 in the first half - vs. San Francisco Nov. 18 and added 16 points against Florida State last week. As a sophomore in 2006-07, Robertson started all 33 games and chipped in 8.8 ppg despite having to play power forward much of the year due to injuries to a pair of Cal post players.
The Max Factor: Center Stands Tall in the Middle
Redshirt-freshman Max Zhang may be playing just 6.4 minutes per game, but he is making his presence felt with a team-leading 10 blocks so far. The tallest player in school history at 7-3, Zhang had a pair of blocks vs. Texas-Pan American, then swatted away three shots in the second half vs. North Carolina A&T and three more in the first half at UNLV.
Wilkes' Presence Felt as Smaller of the 7-Footers
Seven-foot junior C Jordan Wilkes, the other half of Cal's tandem of 7-footers, is putting up career numbers so far in 2008-09, notching career highs in rebounds (10 vs. DePaul) and blocks (2 vs. North Carolina A&T). The brother of former Cal guard Omar Wilkes and son of NBA great Jamal Wilkes has also spent his most time on the floor this season, at 21.3 mpg.
Jerome Randle Almost Perfect at the Line
Already Cal's all-time leader in career free throw percentage entering the season, junior G Jerome Randle is connecting at an even higher clip in 2008-09. Over his first two years in the program, Randle was a combined 115-for-126 (84.6%), which ranked just ahead of Michael Chavez, who was 198-for-235 (84.3%) at the stripe from 1980-83. This season, though, Randle has made 46-for-51 free throw attempts (90.2%). He was an impressive 16-for-18 vs. Florida State last Saturday even after missing his final try on purpose to give the Bears a chance at the rebound when they were down two with three seconds left.
Cal Career Free Throw Leaders1. Jerome Randle (2007- ) 86.6% 161-1862. Michael Chavez (1980-83) 84.3% 198-2353. Ryan Anderson (2007-08) 84.1% 276-3284. Shantay Legans (2000-02) 83.7% 190-2275. Bill Duwe (1969-72) 81.6% 120-147
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