Cal Visits Utah for Wednesday Night Matchup

Dec. 9, 2008

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California Golden Bears (6-2) at Utah Utes (5-2)
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 ends its two-game road trip with a visit to Utah Wednesday for a 5 p.m. PT tipoff. The Golden Bears hope to bounce back from their second loss of the season before a 10-day hiatus for final exams, after which Cal resumes action Dec. 20 against Nevada, part of a six-game homestand at Haas Pavilion.

The Bears are coming off a 93-66 loss at Missouri last Sunday that stands in sharp contrast to the six wins thus far in the Mike Montgomery era. Compared to its only other defeat, a narrow decision against Florida State Nov. 29, Cal shot only 35.9 percent from the field, hit only 56.0 percent of its free throws and was outrebounded 48-38 against the Tigers in Columbia.

The Bears continue to pace the nation in three-point accuracy, having connected on just over half their attempts (50.5%). Junior G Jerome Randle is leading the way from behind the arc, hitting on 23-of-37 attempts for a 62.2 percent success rate, No. 3 in the country.

Randle also leads the squad with 20.3 ppg after scoring team highs of 15 at Missouri, 24 vs. DePaul and personal-high tie of 26 against Florida State. He is dishing out 4.5 apg and owns a team-best 12 steals.

On the defensive end, the Bears are holding opponents to 66.2 ppg, far fewer than the 75.1 ppg Cal allowed last year. Four teams have not broken 60 points, including North Carolina A&T, which was confined to 47 points.

Junior G Patrick Christopher has also been one of the keys on both ends of the floor. In addition to contributing 13.9 ppg, he has stepped up on his defensive assignments. Christopher 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), holding 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 Blue Demons' Dar Tucker to set up the game-clinching free throws.

The Bears also own a +6.3 average rebound margin and have had a +9 or greater differential five times, including a +19 effort against DePaul. Junior F Jamal Boykin (6.1 rpg) and junior C Jordan Wilkes (4.9) are the rebounding leaders on the squad, while six other players average 3 or more per game. Boykin has grabbed at least seven boards in his last five games, including a high of nine at Missouri. In addition, he picked off a personal-best three steals against the Tigers.

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