Jan. 14, 2000
CORVALLIS, Ore. - After jumping out to an 8-2 start through the first 10 games of the season, California looks to get back on track when the Bears visit Oregon State Saturday afternoon. Cal has lost four of its last five games and will be looking to avoid its first 0-4 start to Pac-10 play since 1992.
The Bears had opportunities to win in three of their recent losses, but were unable to come out on top. Cal was down by just one point to Penn with under a minute left before falling, 74-71. In the league opener against No. 5 Arizona, the Bears and Wildcats were tied with less than three minutes remaining in a 65-61 UA victory. Then last Saturday, Cal held a four-point lead in the second overtime, but eventually lost to Arizona State, 111-108.
Now, Cal must search for its first conference victory without one of its team leaders and top defenders. Sophomore guard Dennis Gates injured his right knee late in Thursday's loss at Oregon and will sit out the OSU contest. An MRI Friday did not reveal any significant damage, but he will be re-evaluated by the Cal medical staff when the team returns to Berkeley.
Gates' loss will likely create an even bigger burden for junior forward Sean Lampley. Cal's leader in scoring (17.5 ppg), rebounding (8.5 rpg) and minutes (33.9 mpg), as well as the team's second-best passer (3.3 apg), Lampley is coming off a career-high 29-point outing at Oregon. He has scored at least 20 points five times this year, and he has six double-doubles, with the most recent being a 14-point, 12-assist game vs. Davidson Jan. 2. In addition, Lampley was named to all-tournament teams at both the Top of the World Classic and the Golden Bear Classic.
Cal has also received improved play up front from sophomore center Solomon Hughes. He set a career best with 12 points vs. Davidson and then had 10 points and a personal-high eight rebounds at Oregon Thursday. Hughes leads the Bears in field goal shooting (59.7%) and blocks (15).
In the backcourt, freshman Shantay Legans has taken over at the point. After coming off the bench the first six games of the year, he has started the past nine, averaging 10.9 ppg during that stretch. He also paces the squad in assists (60, 4.0 apg) and steals (22) and is shooting 91.2 percent from the free throw line (31-34) and 44.4 percent from three-point range (20-45).