Dec. 24, 2001
Golden Bear Classic Dec. 28-29, Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
Friday, Dec. 28
Coppin State Eagles (3-8) vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (3-6), 4:30 p.m.
Harvard Crimson (7-4) vs. California Golden Bears (7-1), 7 p.m. (TV: KRON)
Saturday, Dec. 29
Harvard vs. Coppin State or Penn State, 4:30 p.m.
California vs. Coppin State or Penn State, 7 p.m. (TV: KRON)
California hosts the ninth annual Golden Bear Classic this week with Harvard, Penn State and Coppin State making a weekend visit to Haas Pavilion. The Bears, who are off to a 7-1 start for the first time since 1998, are seeking their sixth title in the history of the holiday tournament.
Cal is also out to extend its winning streak, which reached three games with a 78-50 victory over Mount St. Mary's last Friday. Since suffering their only loss of the year at South Florida, the Bears have responded with their three best performances of the season, including an 88-63 triumph over Saint Louis and a 97-75 win over Fresno State.
During the three-game stretch, Cal has outscored its opposition by an average of 25.0 ppg and has shot 51.3 percent from the floor while holding teams to just 38.4 percent.
Leading the charge has been junior forward Joe Shipp, who was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week following his career-high 31-point outing vs. Fresno State Dec. 11. Shipp now paces the Bears with 15.6 ppg, and, after making just four of his first 24 three-point attempts, has connected on 15 of his last 22 from behind the arc (68.2%).
Junior guard Brian Wethers has also improved his play significantly since moving into a reserve role Dec. 6 against Saint Louis. Over the last three contests, he has successively increased his scoring output from 13 points (SLU) to 14 points (Fresno State) to a season-high 15 points (Mount).
On the inside, post players Solomon Hughes and Jamal Sampson continue to present an intimidating inside presence. Hughes (14) and Sampson (17) have combined for 31 blocks and are a big reason why the Bears are allowing just 59.2 ppg. The two 6-11 players will get a further booth when 6-10 freshman Amit Tamir makes his Cal debut against Harvard. Tamir had to sit out the season's first eight games for playing alongside professionals as a member of the Israeli National Team.