Bears Look to Avoid Anteater Upset

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Heading down to Southern California to face UC Irvine, the Cal men's basketball team certainly isn't at risk of slacking off due to an overdose of early season confidence.

In fact, the Bears are at the exact opposite end of the spectrum, searching to find their rhythm after Wednesday's disappointing 88-66 rout at the hands of the St. Louis Billikens.

When Cal takes on the Anteaters Saturday at the Bren Center at 7:30 p.m., there is little doubt that the Bears will be looking to shrug off memories of Wednesday's blowout.

Against St. Louis, Cal shot a dismal 37 percent and was shutout for the first five minutes of the game.

If the Bears hope to walk away with a win this weekend, the squad will definitely need to focus on finding other scoring opportunities besides senior Sean Lampley.

In Wednesday's game, Lampley scored a team-high 22 points which only left the rest of the rotation with 44 points.

"I really believe that we've got good shooters," Cal coach Ben Braun said. "But for them to get shots, we need to establish an inside presence and our perimeter guys need to do a better job getting down the floor in transition."

Saturday's match certainly looks like a good opportunity to get back on track.

Irvine enters the game with a 2-1 record, but the squad is coming off a 63-60 loss to San Diego.

In addition, Cal owns the advantage in the teams' 3-1 overall record, including an 88-61 decision at Haas Pavilion last year. And with all of the Bears' starters returning, Cal has a good chance of putting in a repeat performance.

Several Cal players also have ties to Southern California and will have added incentive to play well in front of a crowd of friends and family.

"There's gonna be way too many people there," said Ryan Forehan-Kelly, who graduated from nearby Santa Margarita High School. "But, I'm not going to go out there and try to score 50 points. We're gonna go in there and try to kill them - but we try to kill every team."

If the Bears hope to bury the Anteaters, they will have to stop 6-foot-3 junior Jerry Green. In his first two seasons with Irvine, Green led his team team in scoring and finished last season with a team-high 15.6 points per game.

So far this season, Green continues to be one of the Anteaters most potent offensive threats, notching a team-high 15 points in Irvine's second win of the season against Loyola Marymount.

The Anteaters also own a height advantage in 7-foot-2 Dave Korfman. A junior transfer from Mira Costa College, Korfman is the biggest player in school history and attended the Pete Newell Big Man Camp with Cal big men Nick Vander Laan, Solomon Hughes and Sean Lampley this summer.

To stop Irvine's offense, the Bears' defense will have to fare better than Wednesday's performance, which saw St. Louis end the game shooting 55 percent.

Despite having to deal with fatigue from the wear and tear of playing two road games in one week, Braun does recognize the benefits of gaining road experience early in the season.

"Playing Wednesday, Saturday road games, that's a tough week," Braun said. "It's kind of like a Pac-10 road trip with a little more travel time, but I really believe to get our team to play on the road early is important."


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