Cal Faces USC in Quarterfinals of Pac-10 Tournament

No. 5 seed California (17-13, 10-8) vs. No. 4 seed USC (18-13, 10-8) Date: Thursday, March 10, 2011 Time: Noon PT Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif. TV: FSN/CSN Bay Area Radio: KNEW 910 Ca
By Cal Athletics on Tue, March 08, 2011

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March 8, 2011

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No. 5 seed California (17-13, 10-8) vs. No. 4 seed USC (18-13, 10-8)
Date: Thursday, March 10, 2011
Time: Noon PT
Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif.
TV: FSN/CSN Bay Area
Radio: KNEW 910

California (17-13, 10-8) embarks on postseason play as the No. 5 seed in the Pac-10 Tournament this weekend in Los Angeles. After being predicted to finish seventh in the Pac-10 preseason poll, the Golden Bears ended the regular season tied for fourth in the conference. Cal squares off with the No. 4 seed USC Thursday, March 10, at noon at Staples Center.

One thing Cal will definitely not lack heading into the conference tournament is momentum. The Bears ended the regular season on a four-game winning streak after dismantling Stanford, 74-55, last Saturday at Haas Pavilion. In his final regular-season appearance at Haas Pavilion, senior center Markhuri Sanders-Frison racked up his seventh career double-double (13 points, 13 rebounds), while freshman guard Allen Crabbe led all scorers with 24 points. Junior forward Harper Kamp garnered his sixth 20-point outing of the season (20 points), as well.

Earlier this week, Crabbe was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, becoming the seventh Cal player to earn the recognition and the first since Shareef Abdur-Rahim in 1995-96. He also earned All-Pac-10 honorable-mention honors. In addition, junior guard Jorge Gutierrez was named to the All-Pac-10 first team and the defensive team, while junior forward Harper Kamp made the All-Pac-10 second team.

With the win over Stanford last Saturday, Cal won its last four regular-season games for the second year in a row. Last year was the first time Cal accomplished the feat since 1993. In addition, Cal has won at least 10 conference games three years in a row now for just the second time (2001-03) since Pete Newell was head coach.

Junior guard Jorge Gutierrez had his streak of 10 consecutive games scoring in double digits snapped last Saturday (eight points). During his streak, he averaged 20.3 ppg, shooting 72-for-87 from the free throw line in the process.

Sanders-Frison has been the Bears' leading rebounder all season with a current average of 7.4 rpg. Rebounding has been critical for the Bears, as they are 15-4 thus far when outrebounding their opponents.

In the last three games, the second half has been huge for the Bears in the scoring department. Two weeks ago, Cal trailed at the half in both games on the Oregon road trip, but rebounded for huge second halves and wound up winning by 10 and 11 points. At Oregon on Feb. 24, Cal shot 15-for-24 in the second half, and at Oregon State on Feb. 26, the Bears went 18-for-25 after halftime. Last Saturday against Stanford, Cal shot 17-for-26 in the second half. In the last three second halves combined, the Bears are 50-for-75 (66.6) from the field for 137 points.

Probable Starters

POS     NO      NAME                    HT      WT      YR      PPG     RPG	
F       22      Harper Kamp             6-8     245     Jr.     14.6    5.7
C       10      Markhuri Sanders-Frison 6-7     265     Sr.     11.2    7.4
G       2       Jorge Gutierrez         6-3     195     Jr.     14.6    4.6 (APG)
G       23      Allen Crabbe            6-6     205     Fr.     13.0    5.5
G       12      Brandon Smith           5-11    185     So.     6.1   3.9 (APG)	

USC Scouting Report

A Look at USC
The Trojans knocked off Washington in Seattle in the regular season finale. USC has also won five of its last six to end the regular season. Nikola Vucevic paces USC in scoring (17.7 ppg) and rebounding (10.3 rpg).
Cal-USC Series History
Cal leads the all-time series by a slim margin of 128-120. The teams split the season series this year with the road team winning each time. These teams met in the 2009 Pac-10 Tournament with the Trojans emerging victorious.
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    250     Sr.     9.9     9.0
F       5       Nikola Vucevic          6-10    240     Jr.     17.7    10.3
G       2       Jio Fontan              6-0     175     Jr.     10.5    2.0
G       14      Donte Smith             5-11    180     Sr.     9.9     1.7
G       43      Marcus Simmons          6-6     220     Sr.     4.5     2.8

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Golden Bear Notes
Cal Crushes Stanford, Ends Season on Four-Game Winning Streak

On Senior Day for Markhuri Sanders-Frison, Cal ended the regular season finale early, jumping out to a big lead over Stanford right out of the gate. The 74-55 victory over the Cardinal last Saturday also marked the second straight season that the Bears have ended the regular season on a four-game winning streak. The win also gave Cal double-digit conference wins for the second straight year. Sanders-Frison's 13 rebounds was a career high, part of his seventh career double-double. Jorge Gutierrez tied his season high with four steals, with Allen Crabbe connected on 10 of his 13 shots for his best percentage from the field this season.

Allen Crabbe: Pac-10 Freshman of the Year
Allen Crabbe, the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, boasted a career-high 30 points against Washington State on Jan. 13, becoming the second Cal freshman and first since Shareef Abdur-Rahim to accomplish this feat. He led Cal with 24 points in the regular-season finale against Stanford last weekend. On the Oregon trip two weeks ago, Crabbe connected on 10 of his 16 three-point attempts, including a season-high six treys at Oregon State on Feb. 26. 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. 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 13.0 ppg (team-best 16.4 ppg in Pac-10 games) and is third on the team in rebounding at 5.5 rpg. He has also been good on 70 of his 85 tries from the free throw line, giving him a percentage of 82.3 that ranks first on the team and fourth in the conference. Since returning from his brief absence due to a mild concussion, Crabbe is averaging 19.2 ppg.
Crabbe on the All-Time Cal Freshmen Ranks
Three-Pointers Made

1. Ryan Drew (1988)             60
2. Ryan Anderson (2007)         58
3. Allen Crabbe (2011)          54

Three-Point Percentage
2. Shantay Legans (2000)	47-110	.427
3. Theo Robertson (2006)	24-59	.407
4. Allen Crabbe (2011)          54-133	.406

Free Throw Percentage
1. Shantay Legans               66-77	.857
2. Allen Crabbe                 70-85	.823

Harper Kamp: Picking Up Where He Left Off
After redshirting last season due to a knee injury, Harper Kamp was named to the All-Pac-10 second team earlier this week. Kamp has been the Bears' leading scorer for the majority of the season and second on the team in rebounding for most of the campaign. 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, UCLA on Jan. 20 and Stanford on March 5. Kamp also earned his second double-double against the Wildcats on Feb. 5, boasting a personal-best-tying 10 rebounds. On Feb. 17 against USC, Kamp garnered his third double-double with 16 points and 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 tied for first on the team in scoring (14.6) and second in rebounding (5.7). He has made 120 of his 148 tries (.811) from the charity stripe, including a perfect 4-for-4 effort vs. USC (2/17). Kamp`s free throw percentage ranks seventh in the Pac-10.

Sanders-Frison Racking up the Double-Doubles
Markhuri Sanders-Frison has been a force for the Bears. On Feb. 17 against USC, he nailed two three-pointers in the final minute to give him a new career high of 23 points, part of his sixth career double-double (11 rebounds). Last Saturday against Stanford, he registered his seventh career double-double vs. Stanford (13 points, 13 rebounds). He collected a then-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. His fifth double-double came against 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. On the season, Sanders-Frison is shooting .596 from the field that ranks third among the Pac-10 leaders. He is also pacing the Bears on the boards at 7.4 rpg on the season that ranks sixth in the conference. His 11.2 ppg stands fourth on the team. He also notched a career-high four steals at Washington State on Feb. 12 and three blocks vs. UCLA on Feb. 20.

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 four teams currently in the top 25 (No. 2 Kansas, No. 8 Notre Dame, No. 9 San Diego State and No. 18 Arizona). 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 four ranked opponents have helped the Bears earn a strength of schedule ranking of No.19. Earlier in the conference season, the Bears faced Washington on Jan. 16 when the Huskies 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

Smith Takes Aim From Three
Brandon Smith has quietly become one of Cal's clutch shooters. He posted a career-high 18 points at Oregon on Feb. 24, going 4-for-5 from behind the arc. After entering the USC game on Jan. 22 with only one trey to his credit, he has gone on to shoot 16-for-30 from three-point distance. He set 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. Smith earned his first collegiate start against Hartford on Dec. 28, which resulted in him posting a then-personal-best 15 points. He hit double figures against Arizona State on Feb. 3 with 11, including a big momentum-shifting three-pointer. Smith saved the day against UCLA on Feb. 20 with a huge trey in overtime to give Cal a four-point lead in the final minute. He is currently second on the team in assists with an average of 3.9, and has 83 assists to 38 turnovers in Pac-10 games. He and fellow guard Jorge Gutierrez rank in the top five in the conference among the Pac-10's assist leaders. Cal is 16-4 this season when garnering more assists than its opponent.

Gutierrez Leads the Way for the Bears
Jorge Gutierrez, who was named to the All-Pac-10 first team and all-defensive team, has reached double figures in 23 of the 30 games this season, and 10 in a row before the streak was snapped in the regular-season finale last weekend. During his streak of 10 consecutive double-digit performances, he averaged 20.3 ppg. He has scored at least 20 points six times this season, including four times in his last eight games. In the Feb. 20 overtime win vs. UCLA, Gutierrez carried Cal to the win with a new personal-best 34 points. He scored nine of those points in the extra session. Earlier in the season, Gutierrez notched back-to-back 20-point outings for the first time in his career. He collected a then-career high of 25 points against Arizona on Feb. 5, and followed that with 24 points at Washington on Feb. 10. On Feb. 24 at Oregon, Gutierrez had a huge second half, finishing the night with a game-high 23 points to lead the Bears to victory once again. On Feb. 12 at Washington State, 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 49 steals, part of the team's 169, leads the team. He is just two steals away from cracking the school's single-season top 10 list. He is tied for first on the team in scoring at 14.6 ppg, and his apg of 4.6 leads his team.
Cal Single-Season Steals List

6. Thomas Kilgore (1999)       - 55
7. Anwar McQueen (1997)        - 52
    Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1996) - 52
9. Shantay Legans (2000)       - 51
    Kevin Johnson (1987)       - 51
11. Jorge Gutierrez (2011)     - 49

Down To the Wire
Cal enters the Pac-10 Tournament with a record of 10-8 in the Pac-10, but the Bears easily could have had a couple of those losses swing the other way. Three conference games Cal lost were not decided until the final play of the game - Jan. 6 at Arizona, Jan. 20 at UCLA and Feb. 17 vs. USC. Including losses to Southern Miss. and Arizona on Feb. 5, 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. The same thing happened at the end of regulation when the Bears beat UCLA, 76-72, in overtime on Feb. 20. On Feb. 12 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. 10 of the 18 Pac-10 games played were decided by four points or less or in overtime.
Games This Season Decided by Two Points or Less

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
Feb. 17 vs. USC            - 78-75, USC

What a Difference a Year Makes
A sign of how much Jorge Gutierrez has meant to this year's Cal squad, Gutierrez is averaging nearly over nine points per game more than last season. Markhuri Sanders-Frison and Brandon Smith have also seen their ppgs rise considerably, as well. Sanders-Frison is finally back to near health after dealing with planar fasciitis earlier in the campaign, and Smith's shooting has increased considerably in recent weeks, particularly his three-point shooting. 2009-10 2010-11 Increase

Jorge Gutierrez                 5.5 ppg	        14.6 ppg       9.1
Markhuri Sanders-Frison         3.3 ppg         11.2 ppg       7.9
Brandon Smith                   0.9 ppg         6.1 ppg        5.2

Cal in the Pac-10 Tournament
Last season, Cal entered the Pac-10 Tournament as the No. 1 seed for the first time in the history of the tournament. The Bears fell to Washington in the tournament final. It was the second time Cal appeared in the championship game (UCLA 71, Cal 52 - 2006). Cal boasts an all-time record of 11-13 in the tournament. The Bears' first-round opponent this season, USC, defeated Cal in the quarterfinals of the 2009 tournament. Jorge Gutierrez holds the school single-game tournament record for steals with five that he notched in the championship game last season.

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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