Cal made it six of six at home with an 82-64 blowout of Mountain West Conference favorite San Diego State. The Golden Bears, who play their next two games on so-called neutral courts, finish their 2005-06 non-conference schedule perfect at Haas Pavilion. After being named Pac-10 Player of the Week just hours earlier, sophomore Leon Powe was back at again, posting 22 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. The former Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 2003-04 also knocked down his first-career triple.
"I thought Leon Powe did a good job on the double team tonight," said California head coach Ben Braun. "It's a good compliment. Bad players don't get double-teamed."
San Diego State was led by junior forward Marcus Slaughter who posted an impressive 22 points to match Powe, along with 13 rebounds. However, beyond Slaughter's work, the rest of the Aztecs shot just 35% (14-of-39) and turned the ball over 18 times – including junior shooting guard Brandon Heath, who had a terrible performance with more turnovers (9) than points (8).
While Powe and Slaughter might have carried the pre-game talk senior guard Richard Midgley stole the spotlight. The Bears team captain knocked down 4-of-5 three-pointers – including his first three attempts – scoring 17 points while handing out 5 assists. Midgley also blanketed Heath, forcing numerous turnovers. The former prep star at Modesto Christian and a native of England, Midgley took stopping Heath as a personal challenge one-year after Heath got the better of the match-up. Along the way, he scored his 1,000 career point becoming the 34th player in Cal history to do so.
"Richard has had a great career at Cal," Coach Braun said. "He's such an underrated defensive player. Tonight was a great milestone for him. He's really been a factor for us."
Junior point guard Ayinde Ubaka also had a terrific game with 13 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists while senior forward Rod Benson made his first appearance since November 25th, and had a perfect night from the floor. Benson posted 8 points (3-of-3 from the floor, 2-of-2 from the line) and pulled down 2 rebounds in just 13 minutes. Cal sophomore's Omar Wilkes and DeVon Hardin added 8 points and 6, respectively.
A team that continues to get better as they regain their health, Cal turned in a terrific shooting night. In total, Cal shot 50% (29-of-57) from the floor, 55% from beyond the arc (10-of-18), and 77% (14-of-18) from the line.
A.W Prince is the senior writer and publisher of BearTerritory.net. He pens a west coast basketball article entitled "The Weekly Spin" for all Bay Area basketball programs, plus numerous other recruiting features on some of the most talented and highly sought after student-athletes in the country. Along with the "The Weekly Spin", Prince has made radio appearances with Rivals Radio and Bay Area college basketball pre-game, halftime, and post-game in-season shows.