Nov. 30, 2007
Missouri Tigers (5-2) at California Golden Bears (4-0)
Saturday, Dec. 1, 8 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Radio: KYOU (1550 AM)
TV: Fox Sports Net
Off to a 4-0 start for the first time in six years, California hosts Missouri as part of the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series at 8 p.m. Saturday in Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears will be seeking their fifth consecutive win to open the year, a feat that hasn't happen since Cal was 7-0 to begin the 1994-95 campaign.
Keying Cal's run is a defense that has not allowed an opponent to shoot 40 percent from the floor and has built a rebound margin of +7.4 per game. The Bears were particularly effective down the stretch in last Wednesday's 74-68 win at Nevada, holding the Wolf Pack to 10-for-33 from the field in the second half. In fact, Cal is holding teams to 35.4 percent (45-127) overall after intermission.
Senior C DeVon Hardin has been the Bears' primary force on the glass. He has grabbed at least 14 boards in four straight contests - a first for a Bear since 1959-60 - and corralled a career-best 16 at Nevada. With his 14.5 rpg average, he ranks second in the country in rebounding.
Sophomore F Ryan Anderson as been on his own tear of late and enters Saturday's game vs. Missouri contributing 24.3 ppg and 9.8 rpg. He is coming off perhaps the best performance of his career after tossing in 36 points at Nevada, including 10 straight during a key stretch of the second half when Cal went from a 44-all tie to a seven-point advantage. In addition, Anderson had 13 rebounds for the second consecutive game.
In the backcourt, sophomore PG Jerome Randle has returned after missing more than three weeks with a kidney biopsy. In his debut against San Diego State last Saturday, he came through with a career-high 21 points. Randle then earned a start at Nevada and finished with six points, three rebounds and four assists (just two turnovers) in 35 minutes.
Not to be overlooked, sophomore G Patrick Christopher is in the midst of his most productive streak, having poured in at least 16 points in all four games. A 5.2 ppg scorer as a freshman, he has raised his rate to an even 20.0 ppg so far in 2007-08.
Schedule Note: Times for the second day of the Golden Bear Classic (Dec. 29) have changed to 5 p.m. for the consolation game and 7:30 p.m. the championship game. Times for the first day (Dec. 28) will remain the same.
Probable Starters POS NO NAME HT WT YR PPG RPG F 14 Eric Vierneisel 6-7 210 Sr 2.3 3.0 Second on Bears with 11 assists (2.8 per game) F 34 Ryan Anderson 6-10 240 So 24.3 9.8 Career-high 36 points plus 13 rebounds at Nevada C 35 DeVon Hardin 6-11 250 Sr 8.0 14.5 2nd in country in rebound average; 106 career blocks (#3 at Cal) G 3 Jerome Randle 5-10 165 So 13.5 3.0 apg 21 points vs. SDSU in first game after Oct. 29 kidney biopsy G 23 Patrick Christopher 6-5 215 So 20.0 3.8 Tied career high with 24 points vs. Nicholls State
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 206-138, while his career mark - which includes 11 years at Eastern Michigan and eight seasons at Siena Heights College - is 539-373. 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.
Missouri Scouting Report
A Look at Missouri
Missouri is off to a 5-2 start and is making its first trip to the West Coast since a Dec. 13, 2003 visit to Gonzaga. Four players are averaging in double figures for the Tigers, led by Stefhon Hannah's 16.4 ppg. Missouri's fast-paced style has forced opponents into an average of 20.6 turnovers per game this season. The Tigers have already accumulated 75 steals, compared to just 29 for their opposition.
Cal-Missouri Series History
Missouri leads the all-time series with Cal, 3-1, but the teams have not met since a 64-63 Golden Bear victory in old Harmon Gym on Dec. 2, 1986, which was keyed by 14 points from Kevin Johnson. The Tigers are one of two Big 12 opponents Cal will face this year, with the Bears visiting Kansas State on Dec. 9.
Missouri Head Coach Mike Anderson
Mike Anderson is in his second season at Missouri after guiding the Tigers to an 18-12 mark in 2006-07. He previously was 89-41 in four years at Alabama-Birmingham, which included three NCAA Tournament berths. Anderson also served as an assistant coach at both Arkansas and Tulsa.
Probable Starters Pos No Name Ht Wt Yr Ppg Rpg F 1 DeMarre Carroll 6-8 224 Jr 16.1 7.3 F 5 Leo Lyons 6-9 240 Jr 11.9 4.4 G 2 Keon Lawrence 6-2 175 So 12.0 5.4 G 3 Stefhon Hannah 6-1 183 Sr 16.4 2.4 G 33 Matt Lawrence 6-7 207 Jr 7.6 2.0
For more information: www.mutigers.com
Golden Bear Notes
Last Game: Anderson Leads Cal over Nevada, 74-68
Sophomore F Ryan Anderson scored a career-high 36 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and senior C DeVon Hardin snared a personal-best 16 boards as Cal won its fourth game in a row to open the season with a 74-68 win at Nevada Wednesday night. The Bears built a 14-point advantage in the first half (36-22), but saw the Wolf Pack come back to tie at 44-all just after the break. Cal then ran off a 7-0 run - all on points by Anderson - and led the rest of the way. Nevada got within three points at 67-64 with 2:07 left, but the Bears sank 7-of-10 free throws in the final minute to keep the Wolf Pack at bay.
Anderson Averaging 28.7 ppg Last 3 Games
When sophomore F Ryan Anderson erupted for a career-high 36 points on 14-of-23 shooting from the floor in Wednesday's win at Nevada, he became the first Cal player to score more than 30 since Leon Powe had 41 vs. Oregon in the semifinals of the 2006 Pac-10 Tournament. Anderson is now averaging 24.3 ppg on 54.1 percent field goal shooting on the year. Since an 11-point outing in the opener vs. Southern Miss - when he missed 10 minutes of the second half with blurred vision in his left eye - he has gone for 27 points vs. Nicholls State, 23 vs. San Diego State and 36 at Nevada for an average of 28.7 ppg. The last Bear to score more than 86 points in a three-game stretch was Ed Gray, who had 90 in games against Oregon State (25), Washington (17) and Washington State (school-record 48) in February 1997.
Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series
Saturday's game is part of the inaugural Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series, a four-year agreement for 12 annual games between the two leagues. The series will continue in 2008, with games slated for December 4-7 and Cal making a return visit to Missouri.
Anderson, Hardin Rank High in Scoring, Rebounding
As of Thursday, Cal was one of only two teams in the country to have individuals ranking in the national top 10 in both scoring and rebounding. Ryan Anderson is 10th in the scoring column with 24.3 ppg, while DeVon Hardin ranks second in rebounding with 14.5 per contest. Kansas State, with Michael Beasley third in scoring (26.7 ppg) and first in rebounding (15.0 rpg) is the only other school to make that claim.
With Hardin in Middle, Defense Returns to Form
In Cal's first four games of the season, the Bears have limited their opponents to just 64.5 ppg and 37.2 percent shooting from the floor, and much of the reason for those low 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 11 blocks so far, but he has also grabbed at least 14 rebounds each time out. Cal's defensive stats represent quite a turnaround from last year; during the final 22 games of the year when Hardin was sidelined with a stress fracture in his foot, the Bears surrendered 73.0 ppg and 49.7 percent shooting.
With Hardin in '07-08 Without Hardin in '06-07 (4 games) (final 22 games) PPG Allowed 64.5 ppg 73.0 ppg FG% Allowed 37.2% (92-247) 49.7% (579-1166) More than 70 Points Allowed 0 12
Jerome Randle Sparkles in Return to Court
Sophomore G Jerome Randle underwent a kidney biopsy Oct. 29, and although the results revealed a mild inflammation that can be treated with medication, he was kept off the court for almost four weeks to allow the procedure to heal. But in his first game back - Cal's 77-69 win over San Diego State on Nov. 24 - he proved to be the difference with his quickness and scoring ability. Randle entered the contest six minutes into the game and played 32 of the final 34 minutes. After scoring five points in the first half, he came through with 16 after intermission to finish with a career-best 21, topping the 19 he had at home vs. Stanford last season. Randle sank 8-of-12 from the floor, including all three of his three-point attempts.
Patrick Christopher Raises Scoring Production
After averaging 5.2 ppg and reaching double figures just four times as a freshman last year, sophomore G Patrick Christopher has shown off a new-found scoring ability so far this season, reaching double figures in all four games to match his total for all of last year. He tied his career high with 24 points against Nicholls State, then tossed in 21 more against San Diego State, including 16 in the second half. For the year, he is averaging 20.0 ppg on 49.2 percent shooting from the floor (29-59).
Hardin Up to Third in Cal Career Blocks
With 11 blocks so far this season, senior C DeVon Hardin has moved into third place on the Bears' all-time list with 106. He has had at least two blocks in every game, with a high of four in the opener vs. Southern Miss when he finished with 18 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks. The 6-11 Hardin has led Cal in blocks each of the past two seasons. 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 last Nov. 20, and he has had at least three 14 times.
Cal Career Blocked Shot Leaders 1. Michael Stewart (1994-97) 207 2. Solomon Hughes (1999-02) 122 3. DeVon Hardin (2004- ) 106 4. Tom Schneiderjohn (1976-79) 105
Thin Bench Puts Young Team on Court
Cal fans should be forgiven if they don't recognize many of the players on the floor. Of the 11 players who have seen action, three are walk-ons (Nican Robinson, David Liss, Eddie Miller) and three others did not play last year - freshman Harper Kamp, and sophomores Nikola Knezevic and Jordan Wilkes, who both sat out 2006-07 with knee injuries. Robinson, Liss and Miller have played in at least three games each, with Liss earning a start vs. Nicholls State when the Bears were down to six available scholarship players.
DeVon Hardin is Cal's Chairman of the Boards
Having snared at least 14 rebounds in each of Cal's first four games this season, C DeVon Hardin is averaging 14.5 per game, second best in the country and more than double his career rate entering the year. Hardin is the first Cal player to grab 14 or more in four straight games since Darrall Imhoff had a five-game run from Dec. 23, 1959 to Jan. 2, 1960. Though the season is still young, it bears noting that the school record for a full season is 14.5 rpg set by Bob Presley in 1967-68. No Cal player has averaged more than 11 rpg for a full year since Mark McNamara in 1981-82 (12.6 rpg).
Cal Rebounding Streaks of 14 or More DeVon Hardin Darrall Imhoff 14 Southern Miss, 11/14/07 18 vs. Michigan State, 12/23/59 14 Nicholls State, 11/19/07 16 vs. Illinois, 12/28/59 14 San Diego State, 11/24/07 16 vs. USC, 12/29/59 16 at Nevada, 11/28/07 21 vs. West Virginia, 12/30/59 18 at USC, 1/2/60
Walk-ons Continue Tradition of Filling Significant Roles
With Cal down to six available scholarship players for the Nov. 19 contest vs. Nicholls State, the Bears were forced to rely on their stable of walk-ons to fill significant roles. Sophomore G David Liss earned his first career start and came through with eight points (3-5 FG, 2-4 3P), four assists and a block in 37 minutes. For all of last season, he played in 12 games and saw a total of 18 minutes of action. In addition, sophomore Nican Robinson (3 games) and freshman Eddie Miller (4 games) have all seen action to date. Under head coach Ben Braun, utilizing walk-ons in significant roles is nothing new. Alex Pribble, now a student assistant coach, started Cal's final five games at a wing spot last year, while Ryan Forehan-Kelly 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) picked off 158 steals, good for third all-time in Bear annals.
Hardin, Anderson on Preseason Watch Lists
Senior C DeVon Hardin and sophomore F Ryan Anderson form one of the top frontcourts in the country (No. 8 according to Luke Win of SportsIllustrated.com) and both have received recognition on preseason watch lists. Anderson, the leading returning scorer in the Pac-10 and the only player to rank among the top five in both scoring (16.3 ppg) and rebounding (8.2 rpg) in the conference last season, is on the top-50 lists for the Wooden Award and Naismith Award and has been tabbed the No. 4 power forward in the country by Sporting News. Hardin, also on the Naismith preseason roster, tops all returning Pac-10 players with 99 career blocks. Among his other preseason honors: first-team All-Pac-10 (Athlon), No. 6 post in the country (Athlon) and No. 7 center in the country (Rivals.com).
Ben Braun 10th in Wins among Active Coaches
With 539 victories, Ben Braun ranks 10th in wins among active Division I coaches. At Cal, he is second in both victories (206) and years of service (12th) to Nibs Price, who was 449-294 in 30 seasons from 1925-54. No other Cal coach has more than 10 seasons at the helm or 125 wins with the program. Braun holds school records for most NCAA Tournament berths (5), most postseason wins (11) and most 20-win seasons (6).
Golden Bear Notes ...
Cal has won 16 of its last 17 non-conference home games ... sophomore C Jordan Wilkes connected on the second three-pointer of his career vs. Southern Miss; he also had one against Arizona State on Feb. 18, 2006 ... Wilkes also pulled down a career-high 6 rebounds at Nevada ... senior F Eric Vierneisel set career highs in both rebounding (6) and assists (5) in the opener vs. Southern Miss ... Cal is 10-2 in home openers under head coach Ben Braun ... 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) ... Vierneisel entered the year with more games-played experience (78) than any other member of the squad ... sophomore F Jamal Boykin, a mid-year transfer from Duke who was the California state Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior at Los Angeles' Fairfax HS in 2005, will become eligible to play when the Bears host Utah Dec. 22 after the completion of fall final exams ... 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, Anderson 21, Theo Robertson 21).