Cal Looks to End Losing Skid Back at Home Vs. USC
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  02/15/2011

Feb. 15, 2011

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California (13-12, 6-7) vs. USC (13-12, 5-7)
Date: Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011
Time: 7:30 p.m. PT
Location: Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, Calif.
TV: None- Webcast
Radio: KNEW 910 / XM 195 / Sirius 220, 125

Currently enduring its longest losing streak of the season, California hopes to get back on track with three of the last five games on the home court. The Golden Bears (13-12, 6-7) square off with USC Thursday Feb. 17, at 7:30 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.

Last weekend, Cal suffered back-to-back defeats in Washington. On Saturday, the Bears came back from 11 points down in the second half against Washington State, but a three-point attempt by junior guard Jorge Gutierrez to tie the game in the final seconds of regulation rattled in and out of the basket. Gutierrez collected 19 points, all in the second half, and finished 6-for-6 from the free throw line.

Over his past six games, Gutierrez has scored 119 points (19.8 ppg), going 43-for-53 from the free throw line in the process. He reached his new career high of 25 points on Feb. 5 against Arizona, prior to his 24-point effort against the Huskies last Thursday.

While he had a quiet game offensively, senior center Markhuri Sanders-Frison registered a career-high four steals against the Cougars. Sanders-Frison remains one of the Pac-10's most efficient shooters at 58.9 percent that ranks second in the conference. He has been the Bears' leading rebounder all season with an average of 7.2 rpg.

One of Cal's biggest contributors last week was redshirt freshman guard Jeff Powers. Coming off the bench last Thursday at Washington, Powers set a then-season high of 13 points, drilling both of his three-point attempts. Two days later at Washington State, Powers earned his first collegiate start in place of the injured Allen Crabbe (concussion). The Bears could not have asked for anything more from the Denver transfer who tallied a new career high of 14 points, including a critical and-one that gave the Bears the lead temporarily with five minutes remaining in the contest.

Sophomore guard Brandon Smith has taken the role as the team's primary point guard, and is currently second on the team in assists, averaging 3.9 a game after dishing out a game-high seven assists at Washington State. He has recorded at least one steal in 10 of the 14 games since he's taken over as the starting point guard, including a season-high of three against Arizona on Feb. 5. Gutierrez and Smith both rank in the top five in the conference in assists per game - Gutierrez 4.4, Smith 3.9.

Saturday's loss to the Cougars marked Cal's eighth conference game this season to be decided by four points or less or in overtime. The Bears are 4-4 in those eight games and 1-1 in the overtime contests. Against the conference leader, Arizona, despite losing both games, the first matchup was not decided until the final play and the second game went into triple overtime.

Probable Starters

POS     NO      NAME                    HT      WT      YR      PPG     RPG	
F       22      Harper Kamp             6-8     245     Jr.     14.9    5.7
Posted career-high 33 points vs. Arizona in 55 minutes
C       10      Markhuri Sanders-Frison 6-7     265     Sr.     10.6    7.2
Scored career-high 18 points vs. Oregon
G       2       Jorge Gutierrez         6-3     195     Jr.     13.8    4.3 (APG)
Notched 19 second-half points at Washington State
G       23      Allen Crabbe            6-6     205     Fr.     12.0    5.5
Missed the Washington State game with a concussion
G       12      Brandon Smith           5-11    185     So.     5.4     3.9 (APG)
Secured 22 assists in his last three games

USC Scouting Report
A Look at USC

USC has lost three of its last four, including a 10-point loss at home to Oregon last Saturday at the Galen Center. USC has three players averaging 10.0 ppg or higher, led by Nikola Vucevic's 16.9 ppg. Vucevic is also averaging 10.1 rpg.
Cal-USC Series History
Cal leads the all-time series by a slim margin of 128-119. Cal held on earlier this season when these teams met in Los Angeles, 68-66. It was the Bear's first-ever win at the Galen Center in five tries. Cal has won the last three contests played in Berkeley, including an overtime win in 2009.
USC Head Coach Kevin O'Neill
Kevin O'Neill, a former head coach of the Arizona Wildcats, has 14 years of collegiate and NBA head coaching experience and has worked in the coaching ranks for 30 years. Last year, he guided USC to an overall record of 16-14 and 8-10 in the conference.

Probable Starters

Pos     No      Name                    Ht      Wt      Yr      Ppg     Rpg
F       1       Alex Stepheson          6-10    220     So.     9.5     8.8
F       5       Nikola Vucevic          6-8     255     Jr      16.9    10.1
F       43      Marcus Simmons          6-4     185     Jr.     4.6     2.9
G       2       Jio Jones               6-6     202     Jr.     10.0    1.9
G       10      Maurice Jones           6-1     180     So.     9.7     2.6

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Golden Bear Notes
Washington State Holds on and Beats Cal, 75-71

Washington State edged Cal, 75-71, last Saturday at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman, Wash. Cal trailed by as many as 11 in the second half, but kept fighting and eventually took a three-point lead at the five-minute mark. Washington State was able to regain the momentum and hang on for the win. Jeff Powers earned his first collegiate start, filling in for the injured Allen Crabbe (concussion). All 19 of Jorge Gutierrez's points came in the second half. He took a three-pointer with 15 seconds left to tie the contest, but his shot rattled in and out of the basket. Behind Powers' and Gutierrez's three treys, Cal set a season high in three-pointers with eight. Markhuri Sanders-Frison notched a career-best four steals.

Allen Crabbe: Raising His Game
Allen Crabbe boasted a career-high 30 points against Washington State on Jan. 13, shooting 10-for-15 from the field. Before his monster game against the Cougars, Crabbe tallied a then-season-high 17 points with nine rebounds against Hartford on Dec. 28. At UCLA on Jan. 20, he posted 13 of his 17 points in the final three and a half minutes, including a three-pointer to tie the game with 10 seconds left. When Arizona State came to Cal on Feb. 3, Crabbe nailed a clutch trey with 15 seconds left to seal the win for Cal. In the next game against Arizona, Crabbe notched 54 minutes of playing in the triple-overtime contest, scoring 27 points and seven rebounds with two steals. Earlier this season he earned his first collegiate double-double against Notre Dame on Nov. 26 when he garnered 10 points and 10 rebounds. Crabbe is averaging 12.0 ppg and is third on the team in rebounding at 5.5 rpg. He has also been good on 58 of his 72 tries from the free throw line, giving him a percentage of 80.6 that ranks second on the team and sixth in the conference. In conference games, Crabbe's average of 35.8 minutes played per game is currently the best in the conference. Jorge Gutierrez is second at 35.5.

Jeff has the Power From Behind the Arc
One of Cal's biggest contributors in last week's games in Washington was redshirt freshman Jeff Powers. Coming off the bench against the Huskies, he posted a then-career-high 13 points, connecting on both of his three-point attempts. Two days later at Washington State, he made his first career start for the injured Allen Crabbe (concussion). Powers filled in admirably, garnering a new personal-best 14 points. He played 31 minutes against the Cougars. He had only played a total of 24 minutes in his previous five appearances. He doubled his season rebounding total after notching four against the Cougars. In the weekend games combined, he shot 8-for-14 from the field, including 5-for-8 from three-point range.

Harper Kamp: Picking Up Where He Left Off
After redshirting last season due to a nagging knee injury, Harper Kamp has become one of the Bears' most reliable players this season. Kamp posted a career-best 33 points against Arizona on Feb. 5, and secured 20-point outings against New Mexico on Nov. 20 (25 points), Southern Miss. on Dec. 12, Washington on Jan. 16 and UCLA on Jan. 20. Kamp also earned his second double-double against the Wildcats on Feb. 5, boasting a personal-best-tying 10 rebounds. He had a career day at Iowa State on Dec. 4, securing his first career double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds), and he also tied his personal best in assists (5) and set a new career best in blocks (3). Kamp is first on the team in scoring (14.9) and second in rebounding (5.7). He has made 109 of his 133 tries (.820) from the charity stripe, including a perfect 6-for-6 effort vs. Arizona State on Feb. 3. Kamp`s free throw percentage ranks fourth in the Pac-10.

Sanders-Frison Racking up the Double-Doubles
Markhuri Sanders-Frison has been a force for the Bears. He collected a career-high 18 points against Oregon on Jan. 29, converting on six of his seven shots and going 6-for-9 from the free throw line. He has five double-doubles to his credit this season, and just missed one against Oregon State on Jan. 27 (15 points, 9 rebounds). He earned his most recent double-double vs. Washington State (14 points, 10 rebounds) on Jan. 13. He got his senior season off to a great start with his first career double-double against Cal State Northridge on Nov. 16, tallying 15 points and tied his then-career high in rebounds with 10. Sanders-Frison is also pacing the Bears on the boards at 7.2 rpg on the season that ranks seventh in the conference. On the season, Sanders-Frison is shooting .589 from the field that ranks second among the Pac-10 leaders. His 10.6 ppg stands fourth on the team. He also notched a career-high four steals at Washington State last Saturday.
Sanders-Frison's Double-Doubles

Nov. 16 - Cal State Northridge     - 15 points, 10 rebounds
Dec. 18 - Cal Poly                 - 15 points, 10 rebounds
Dec. 22 - Kansas                   - 10 points, 12 rebounds
Jan. 8  - at Arizona State         - 13 points, 11 rebounds
Jan. 13 - Washington State         - 14 points, 10 rebounds

Bears Boast High Strength of Schedule
Cal has endured some growing pains with such a young team this season, but the competition has been pretty tough, as well. Cal has played five teams currently in the top 25 (No. 1 Kansas, No. 6 San Diego State, No. 8 Notre Dame, No. 12 Arizona and No. 23 Temple). The Fighting Irish were not ranked when they faced the Bears. The Bears defeated then-No. 20 Temple, 57-50, as part of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., back in November. These five ranked opponents have helped the Bears earn a strength of schedule ranking of No.9. Earlier in the conference season, the Bears faced Washington on Jan. 16 when they were ranked No. 17. On Feb. 5, Arizona was the fifth ranked team Cal played this season.
Cal's Games Vs. Ranked Opponents

Nov. 25  vs. No. 20 Temple          - 57-50, Cal
Dec. 8   vs. No. 14 San Diego State - 77-57, SDSU
Dec. 18  vs. No. 3 Kansas           - 78-63, Kansas
Jan. 16  vs. No. 17 Washington      - 92-71, Washington
Feb. 5   vs. No. 21 Arizona         - 107-105 (3OT), Arizona

Bears Earn High Conference-Game Percentages
Through 13 conference games this season, Cal has quietly been putting up strong offensive numbers in conference play. The Bears are second behind Washington in scoring offense at 77.2 ppg. Cal leads the league in assist-turnover ratio (1.3). While Cal has shot the fewest three-point attempts in conference games (164), the Bears have made good on 64 of those attempts, good for a percentage of 39.0, second only to Arizona. The Bears were good on a season-high eight treys last Saturday at Washington State. Cal is also second assists (15.9 apg) and third in the league in field goal percentage (47.2). Individually, Brandon Smith and Jorge Gutierrez are tied for second in assists per game at 4.8. Smith also currently leads the league in assist-turnover ratio in Pac-10 games (2.5).

Gutierrez Leads the Way for the Bears
Jorge Gutierrez has reached double figures in 19 of the 25 games this season, after recording just four double-figure scoring performances last season. Gutierrez recently notched back-to-back 20-point outings for the first time in his career. He collected a new career high of 25 points against Arizona on Feb. 5, and followed that with 24 points at Washington on Feb. 10. Gutierrez was by far Cal's most potent offensive weapon against the Huskies, as he also tied his season high in rebounds with seven. In Cal's last game at Washington State on Feb. 12, Gutierrez scored all 19 of his points in the second half, and his three-point attempt to tie the game with 15 seconds left rattled in and out of the basket. He earned his first career double-double against Oregon State on Jan. 27, boasting 16 points and personal-high 11 assists. Ever the tough defender, Gutierrez's 36 steals, part of the team's 140, leads the team. He is second on the team in scoring at 13.8 ppg, and his apg of 4.3 leads his team.

Down To the Wire
Cal enters Thursday's game against USC with a record of 6-7 in the Pac-10, but the Bears easily could have had a couple of those losses swing the other way. Two conference games Cal lost were not decided until the final play of the game - Jan. 6 at Arizona and Jan. 20 at UCLA. Including a loss to Southern Miss. and on Feb. 5 vs. Arizona, the Bears have lost four games by two points, and they picked up their first win by that score differential at USC on Jan. 22. Besides the win over the Trojans, Cal has also picked up a couple close-call victories. The Bears hung on to win at Iowa State by three, at Arizona State by four and at home against the Sun Devils by four. Cal also held off Washington State in overtime on Jan. 13 after the Cougars were good on a three-pointer to tie the game in the final seconds of regulation. Last Saturday at WSU, Jorge Gutierrez's three-point attempt to tie the game with 15 seconds left rattled in and out of the basket, and the Bears lost by four in the Palouse. Eight of the 13 Pac-10 games played thus far have been decided by four points or less or in overtime.
Games This Season Decided by Three Points or Less

Dec. 4  at Iowa State      - 76-73, Cal
Dec. 12 vs. Southern Miss. - 80-78, So. Miss.
Jan. 6  at Arizona         - 73-71, Arizona
Jan. 20 at UCLA            - 86-84, UCLA
Jan. 22 at USC             - 68-66, Cal
Feb. 5  vs. Arizona        - 107-105 (3OT), Arizona

Smith is Set as a Starter
Brandon Smith posted new personal bests in assists (11), rebounds (8) and playing time (53 minutes) against Arizona on Feb. 5, coming up one point shy of his first career double-double. On the defensive end, Smith, who is regarded as one of the finest defenders in De La Salle High School history, shut down WSU's Klay Thompson in overtime when Cal and Washington State met on Jan. 13 after Thompson put up 36 on the Bears in regulation. Smith earned his first collegiate start against Hartford on Dec. 28, which resulted in him posting a personal-best 15 points. On Jan. 22 at USC, Smith nailed two key three-pointers after entering the game with only one trey this season. He hit double figures against Arizona State on Feb. 3 with 11, including a big momentum-shifting three-pointer. He is currently second on the team in assists with an average of 3.9. He and fellow guard Jorge Gutierrez rank in the top five in the conference among the Pac-10's assist leaders.
Pac-10 Assist Leaders (All Games)

1. Isaiah Thomas, Wash.   -  5.7 APG
2. Jorge Gutierrez        -  4.4 APG
3. Klay Thompson, WSU     -  4.2 APG
4. Jamelle McMillan, ASU  -  4.0 APG
5. Brandon Smith          -  3.9 APG

McKeen to be Inducted into Pac-10 Hall of Honor
Bob McKeen, a 6-7 center who played for the Golden Bears from 1952-55, will be inducted into the Pac-10 Hall of Honor during a ceremony at the 2011 Pac-10 Tournament in Los Angeles. McKeen played for two of the most notable coaches in Cal history - Nibs Price and Pete Newell - and finished his career as the school's all-time leading scorer (1,654 points), setting a record that stood for more than 30 years. McKeen averaged 15.5 points per game over his four-year career and finished with 1,654 points, nearly 400 points more than any Bear up to that time. The mark remained atop Cal's scoring chart until 1987 when Kevin Johnson tallied just one point more. McKeen will become the 10th Golden Bear enshrined n the Hall of Honor, following coaches Pete Newell and Nibs Price and players Kevin Johnson, Darrall Imhoff, Jason Kidd, Andy Wolfe, Russ Critchfield, Charles Johnson and Earl Robinson.

Golden Bear Notes
Max Zhang, Cal's 7-3 center who would have been a junior this season, recently signed with a professional team in China, ending his collegiate career ... Gary Franklin, a former freshman guard on this season's team, decided to transfer and left the team on Jan. 5 ... Harper Kamp played chess competitively as a child ... Brandon Smith, a graduate of De La Salle High School, has been to four different continents, including working for an outreach program for schools and orphanages in India ... Richard Solomon practiced karate as a child, achieving the rank of junior black belt ... Emerson Murray comes from a family with a history of competing in track and field. His father is a long time track and field coach, and his sister was a member of the Canadian National Track and Field team and competed at Hawaii ... The lone signee this fall for the Bears was 6-9, 210-forward Davis Kravish out of Lee's Summit, Mo ... Cal's Pac-10 title last season was the Bears' first since 1960 ... Cal was 24-11 overall and 13-5 in the conference in 2009-10 ... Mike Montgomery won 46 games in his first two seasons in Berkeley, breaking the school record of 39 set by Lou Campanelli in 1986 and '87.
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