Shipp Ensures Bears Sail Into Haas With Win

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Even in the cosy confines of Haas Pavilion, it seems a Cal lead isn't worth much this season.

After going to overtime in two games that should have been in the bag at the sound of the final buzzer (last week against Cleveland State and in an exhibition against the California All-Stars), the Bears

(3-0) allowed Howard to put up a late fight last night in a 80-70 win.

Down by as much as 24 midway through the second half, the Bison (1-3) rallied to get within seven at two points late in the game.

The Bears bailed themselves out, but near the end of the game both teams missed free throws before Richard Midgley finally made a pair to ice the win.

Both teams were criminal in their turnovers. The Bears lost the ball a sinful 26 times, while the Bison weren't much better with 17.

"Twenty-six turnovers is 26 missed opportunities," Cal coach Ben Braun said. "That's exactly and precisely what it is. We really shot ourselves in the foot with that."

Early in the game, it seemed the words "Joooeee Shipp, three!" would be heard as frequently as "Go Bears."

Staff/Ramin Rahimian
Richard Midgley had the first double-figure scoring night of his young career, finishing with 11 points on 3-0f-5 shooting from three-point range.

The senior forward had his second consecuitve 30-point game, becoming the first Cal player to do so since Ed Gray in 1997. Shipp was electrifying in the first half with 20 points, including 3-of-5 shooting from three-point range.

"I'm just trying to go out there and get the team a jump and get us a lead," Shipp said.

The Bears shot 51.7 percent from the field and 11-of-18 on three-pointers, but just 9-of-21 on free throws.

Amit Tamir was a particuarly ugly 2-for-6 from the stripe, part of a weak offensive effort with just nine points and six turnovers.

"He really has to take his time and get some looks in there," Braun said.

The sophomore did grab a career-high 14 rebounds to lead the Cal's effort on the boards, where it outrebounded Howard 45-38.

A.J. Diggs scored seven points and set career highs with seven rebounds and five assists.

The game looked like a blowout at the start, with Cal jumping out to a 28-11 lead.

With just 8:40 to go in the second half, the Bears were enjoying a comfortable 68-44 lead, but the Bison began to mount a comeback and whittled the lead to seven. Ron Williamson led the comeback with 25 points.

Braun, criticized his team's effort level, particularly in the second half.

"They didn't come across the country to quit," Braun said. "I thought we let up that will come back to get you."

Two free throws from Tamir and a tip-in from Shipp got the Bears out of the woods, but the lesson was not lost on Cal.

"We got lax again and we have a tendency not to put teams away," Shipp said.

The win was a long-awaited opportunity for Cal's freshmen to test the NCAA waters.

Aside from Midgley, who had a season-high 11 points and swooshed two crucial treys down the stretch, David Paris, Martin Smith and Rod Benson got in the action. Benson was one of just two Bears to take a charge in the contest, a fact that elicited praise from Braun.


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