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Bears Ready for Round 3 vs. Syracuse
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  03/22/2013

March 22, 2013

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No. 12 seed California, winners of 10 of its last 13, meets No. 16/18 and fourth-seeded Syracuse in an NCAA Tournament East Region third-round game on Saturday at 6:40 p.m. (PT) at the HP Pavilion in San Jose.

The Golden Bears, under the direction of fifth-year head coach Mike Montgomery, upended fifth-seeded UNLV, 64-61, on Thursday. Cal broke a tie game at the half with nine of the first 12 points after the break and never looked back en route the victory.

All-American and Pac-12 Player of the Year Allen Crabbe scored 19 points with nine rebounds and Robert Thurman contributed 12 points - all on dunks - to lead the charge offensively. The Bears limited UNLV to just 32.2 percent from the field in the solid defensive effort.

NCAA TOURNAMENT RECORDS AND HISTORY
Cal owns a 20-17 all-time record in NCA Tournament games in its 18th all-time appearance. After going 30 years between appearances, the Bears have earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament 13 times since 1990. The winner of Saturday's game will advance to the East Regional semifnal in Washington, D.C., next week.

CAL'S RECORD IN ITS SECOND GAME OF NCAA TOURNAMENT
Cal owns a 4-7 all-time record in its second game of the NCAA Tournament. The last time Cal posted a win in its first two games in the tournament was 1997 when the Bears defeated Princeton (55-52) in the first round and Villanova (75-68) in the second round to advance to the regional semifinal against North Carolina in Syracuse, N.Y.

DEFENSE KEYS CAL RESURGENCE
On Jan. 27, Cal found itself with an 11-8 record on its way home from a loss at Colorado. But starting with a 71-68 home victory over Oregon State Jan. 31, the Bears have won 10 of their past 13 games and now find themselves in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. During that stretch, an improved defense has been perhaps the key reason for the turnaround. In those 10 wins, Cal has limited opponents to a combined 35.8% shooting from the floor and only 58.0 ppg. Seven teams did not make more than 40% from the field, with four teams under 33%, including UNLV, which shot 32.2% Thursday and went 11:32 of the second half without a made field goal.

MONTGOMERY ONE WIN FROM MATCHING NEWELL RUN
Since Mike Montgomery became Cal's head coach prior to the 2008-09 season, the Golden Bears have won 109 games over the ensuring five seasons. With a win over Syracuse Saturday, Montgomery would catch coach Pete Newell for most victories over a five-year span in school history. Newell's final five teams recorded 110 wins from 1956-60, a stretch that included an NCAA Championship in '59 and a runner-up finish in '60. Montgomery, meanwhile, has led the Bears to four NCAA Tournament berths, an NIT and a Pac-12 title in 2010.

MATCHUP OF COACHING TITANS
Saturday's match-up between Cal head coach Mike Montgomery and Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim will pit two of the top-nine winningest active Division I head coaches against each other. The two have a combined 1,573 victories. Boeheim ranks second with 917 wins, while Montgomery is ninth with 656 victories.

NCAA TOURNAMENT ANNIVERSARIES
In perhaps the most significant Cal victory over the past half century, the Golden Bears, behind freshman point guard Jason Kidd and sophomore forward Lamond Murray, upended two-time defending NCAA champion Duke, 82-77, in the second round of the tournament 20 years ago. Kidd finished with 11 points and 14 assists, while Murray tossed in 28 points. Then 10 years later in 2003, Cal needed overtime in its opening-round NCAA Tournament game to defeat No. 9 North Carolina State, 76-74. Richard Midgley, then a freshman point guard, drained a three-pointer from the top of the key with 3.9 seconds left in the extra period to lift the Bears into the second round.

THURMAN BREAKS OUT AGAINST UNLV
Senior forward Robert Thurman was one of the heroes of Cal's win over UNLV Thursday, scoring 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting - all on dunks. The outburst came after he didn't score a point in the Bears' previous two games vs. Stanford and Utah and contributed just two points in the prior contest vs. Utah. The last time Thurman reached double figures came back on Dec. 18 when he had 14 points in a win over UC Santa Barbara. For the year, he leads Cal with 59.9% shooting from the floor. Over his last nine games, Thurman has made 18 of his last 23 attempts, including perfect nights vs. UCLA (3-3), Oregon (3-3), Oregon State (2-2), Utah (3-3) and UNLV (6-6).

ALLEN CRABBE NEARS 600-POINT CLUB
Junior guard Allen Crabbe enters Saturday's game vs. Syracuse just a point shy of becoming the ninth player in school history to score 600 points in a season. He chipped in a game-high 19 points Thursday vs. UNLV to give him 599 this year. In addition, he now has 1,529 points in his career - which ranks 10th in the school annals. With 62 three-pointers on the season, the Pac-12 Player of the Year also now holds three of the top seven three-point season totals ever at Cal - 62 in 2013 (T7th), 83 in 2012 (2nd) and 62 in 2011 (T7th).

JUSTIN COBBS RAISES ASSIST TOTALS
Junior guard Justin Cobbs has dished out at least five assists in each of his last nine games, including six vs. UNLV Thursday. During the stretch, he is averaging 6.2 ppg along with 17.4 ppg. He had a season-high nine assists in a victory over UCLA to start the run and also had seven at Oregon and at home vs. Utah.

CAL VS. NATIONALLY-RANKED TEAMS
Cal is 3-2 in its five games against nationally-ranked opponents this season, defeating No. 7 Arizona (77-69), No. 10 Oregon (58-54) and later No. 23 Oregon (48-46), and dropping decisions to No. 13 Creighton (L, 79-64) and No. 18 UNLV (L, 76-75).

ALLEN CRABBE SCORING LEADER
Allen Crabbe, who was named one of 30 candidates for the Naismith National Player of the Year Award, enters the third round of the NCAA Tournament as the Pac-12's active career scoring leader and 10th in school history with 1,529 career points in 97 career games. He ranks ninth on the school's single-season scoring list with 599 points so far this season.

PAC-12'S TOP SCORING DUO
The junior guard duo of Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs is the highest scoring pair in the Pac-12 with a combined average of 34.1 points per game. Crabbe has led the Pac-12 all season at 18.7 points per game. He ranked 35th nationally in scoring during the regular season. Cobbs ranks eighth in the conference at 15.4 points per contest. The pair has combined to score1,091 of Cal's 2,158 points (50.6 percent) this season. The duo has each recorded 20-point games in the same contest on eight occasions. Cal owns a 5-3 record in those games.

BEARS ACHIEVE NEW SCHOOL MARK IN BLOCKS
With 152 blocks so far this season, Cal has already set a school record for single-season blocks. The Bears eclipsed the previous school-record mark of 135 in 1996-97, in their 28th game.

THE STARTING LINE-UP
Tyrone Wallace and junior F Richard Solomon. Cal has used this lineup each of the last 16 games.

THE SERIES: CAL VS. SYRACUSE
Cal and Syracuse meet for just the second time in their history. The Golden Bears and Orange met in 2009 with Cal dropping a 95-73 decision on Nov. 19, 2009 at the 2K Sports Classic at New York's Madison Square Garden. The two teams will meet again in the 2013 EA Sports Maui Invitational this November at the Lahaina Civic Center in Maui.

CAL VS. THE BIG EAST IN NCAA TOURNAMENT
Cal is 4-3 against current Big East teams in the NCAA Tournament. The Bears defeated Oscar Robertson-led Cincinnati in back-to-back national semifinal games in 1959 and '60. On March 20, 1959, at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky., Cal won 64-58, a day before edging West Virginia, 71-70, to claim the NCAA title. A year later, the Bears prevailed over the Bearcats, 77-69, in San Francisco's Cow Palace, but fell to Ohio State in the championship game. Other games against Big East teams came against Connecticut in the 1990 second round (lost, 74-54), Villanova in the 1997 second round (won, 75-68), Pittsburgh in the 2002 second round (lost, 63-50), Louisville in the 2010 first round (won, 77-62) and South Florida in the 2012 first round (lost, 65-54).


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