Nov. 26, 2001
New Mexico Lobos (2-2) at California Golden Bears (3-0)
Wednesday, Nov. 28, 8:00 p.m., Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, CA
California at South Florida Bulls (4-0, vs. Prairie View A&M 11/28)
Saturday, Dec. 1, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, Sun Dome, Tampa, FL
Cal returns to action this week, trying to extend its best start in six years. At 3-0 for the first time since the beginning of the 1995-96 season, the Bears host New Mexico before traveling to Tampa to face South Florida in the team's only non-conference road game.
The UNM game is part of a doubleheader in Haas Pavilion Wednesday night, with the Cal women hosting Fresno State at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Cal-New Mexico contest at 8 p.m.
Although the season is still in its very early stages, the Bears are proving to be one of the best defensive teams in the country, ranking second in the nation in scoring defense. So far, Cal is allowing only 48.3 ppg, just behind UC Santa Barbara at 45.5 ppg.
The Bears have attained that lofty status by not surrendering more than 60 points in any game this year. Cal forced Princeton into an uncharacteristic 24 turnovers in a 70-58 win, then limited Eastern Washington to just 27 points - the lowest total for a Golden Bear opponent since 1946. And Santa Clara didn't score its 50th point until 2:04 remained in the contest.
The last time Cal gave up 60 or fewer points in each of its first three games was in 1961-62, when the streak reached four games. However, the Bears will have their hands full with a New Mexico squad that is scoring at an 83.2 ppg clip.
Individually, junior guard Brian Wethers leads Cal in both scoring (11.3 ppg) and steals (2.3 spg), while ranking second in rebounding (5.0 rpg). Junior forward Joe Shipp is the only other player averaging in double figures (11.0 ppg), although six players are above 7.0 points per game.
On the inside, freshman Jamal Sampson, who was voted MVP of the BCA Classic, paces the squad with 9.3 rpg, including 14 vs. Eastern Washington. He is shooting 76.9 percent from the floor (10-for-13) and has a team-high seven blocks.