Overcoming sluggish starts in both halves, the 25th-ranked California Golden Bears held off a tenacious USC team 73-68 at Haas Pavilion on Thursday to remain undefeated in Pac-10 play.

Besides a career-high 23 points from Richard Midgley (+14), eight key rebounds from Brian Wethers (+4) and a thrilling season debut by Donte Smith, one Bear very quietly had perhaps his most effective game of the season.

"> Overcoming sluggish starts in both halves, the 25th-ranked California Golden Bears held off a tenacious USC team 73-68 at Haas Pavilion on Thursday to remain undefeated in Pac-10 play.

Besides a career-high 23 points from Richard Midgley (+14), eight key rebounds from Brian Wethers (+4) and a thrilling season debut by Donte Smith, one Bear very quietly had perhaps his most effective game of the season.

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Fun With Numbers - Cal vs. USC

<p class="txt">Overcoming sluggish starts in both halves, the 25th-ranked California Golden Bears held off a tenacious USC team 73-68 at Haas Pavilion on Thursday to remain undefeated in Pac-10 play.</p> <p class="txt">Besides a career-high 23 points from Richard Midgley (+14), eight key rebounds from Brian Wethers (+4) and a thrilling season debut by Donte Smith, one Bear very quietly had perhaps his most effective game of the season.</P>

PLUS/MINUS vs. USC

Player Min +Pts -Pts Diff
Richard Midgley 34 67 53 +14
David Paris 12 31 17 +14
Amit Tamir 37 68 64 +4
Brian Wethers 27 51 47 +4
A.J. Diggs 18 28 26 +2
Donte Smith 6 13 13 0
Joe Shipp 29 56 57 -1
Conor Famulener 23 34 35 -1
Erik Bond 6 4 8 -4
Gabriel Hughes 8 13 20 -7

Comment:  Somewhat overshadowed by Donte Smith's nifty performance off the bench was the work of David Paris. In the first half, after Tamir picked up his first foul, USC went after him a little bit because they knew that if Tamir picked up his 2nd he'd be done for the half. So for a few possessions, Tamir played defense as if he had four fouls and USC's offense functioned as if Tamir had four fouls. By putting Paris in, Cal was able to move Tamir away from the basket and put him in less risk of picking up another foul. In the meantime, Paris was playing able to play a little more physical on defense and had a few good block outs which allowed teammates to grab rebounds. He also had a marvelous cross-court assist to Midgley  for a 3-pointer which one sensed must have been run a few times at Modesto Christian.

For the much of the last four minutes, Midgley and Diggs were rotated on offense and defense. The net effect was to benefit Midgley and penalize Diggs. During the last 4:07, Midgley was +8 while Diggs was a -2. For the game's first 36 minutes, Midgley was a +6 and Diggs was a +4. However, it should be pointed out that Midgley was a +12 in the first half, the only other teammate who was reasonably close was Paris with a +11.

It was nice to see Smith back, and by hitting a couple of outside shots and making a nice pass to Wethers, he showed that he's capable of making big contributions before the season's out. At times it looked like there were open lanes for him to drive down the lane, but he held back and kept the team in its halfcourt offense, which from the standpoint of controlling rhythm and tempo was important.

 

First vs. Second Half (minimum 2 minutes)

First Half Top - Richard Midgley, 40-28, +12
Second Half Top - Conor Famulener (22-19) and David Paris (11-8), +3

First Half Bottom - Conor Famulener, 12-16, -4
Second Half Bottom - Gabriel Hughes, 2-9, -7


Difference Makers of the Game

With Richard Midgley in 34 minutes, 67-53, +14
Without Richard Midgley in 6 minutes, 6-15, -9

With David Paris in 12 minutes, 31-17, +14
Without David Paris in 28 minutes, 42-51, -9

Comment:  Although his plus/minus numbers were relatively modest, Diggs really shook things up in the first half. Defensively, he was able to pressure inbounds passes and ballhandlers enough that USC got rattled on a few possessions. Although it wasn't his strongest offensive game, his defensive hustle in the first half was heartily acknowledged by the Haas crowd.

Starting Lineup

Midgley, Tamir, Wethers, Hughes and Shipp in 6:17 - 10-18, -8
All other combinations - 63-50, +13

Comment:  What's even weirder is that during the first two minutes of each half, Cal was outscored a combined 16-2. In the remaining 18 minutes of each half (36 in total), the Bears outscored the Trojans 71-52.


Double Point Guards


With Diggs and Midgley in 14:31, 26-16, +10
All other combinations in 25:29, 47-52, -5

Comment:   With as much man pressure as USC was putting on Midgley bringing the ball upcourt, Cal badly needed Diggs in to get the ball upcourt and across the time line. But as much as the Bears were using Diggs and Midgley in the first half and second half -- and this was one of the rare games when the two were very effective together -- one sensed that Braun would need someone off the bench to give one or both of them a rest. But at the 10:31 mark, with Cal down 51-50, the Bears took out Bond, Diggs AND Midgley and replaced them with Shipp, Wethers, and Donte Smith with Tamir and Famulener staying in the game. While Smith was in the game, Cal was 13-13; they were 4-5 when he was the lone guard, and the Bears were 9-8 when he was paired with Midgley.

Offensive Efficiency

Player PPM*
Paris 2.58
D. Smith 2.16
Midgley 1.97
Shipp 1.93
Wethers 1.89
Tamir 1.84
TEAM 1.83
Hughes 1.63
Diggs 1.55
Famulener 1.48
Bond 0.66

*Points per minute scored by Cal while player was on the court.

Defensive Efficiency

Player PPM*
Bond 1.33
Paris 1.42
Diggs 1.44
Famulener 1.52
Midgley 1.56
TEAM 1.70
Tamir 1.73
Wethers 1.74
Shipp 1.96
D. Smith 2.16
Hughes 2.50

*Points per minute scored by opponent while player was on the court.

Contribution Evaluation

Player Minutes Expected Actual Difference
Paris 12 +1.50 +14 +12.50
Midgley 34 +4.25 +14 +9.75
Wethers 27 +3.38 +4 +0.62
Diggs 18 +2.25 +2 -0.25
Tamir 37 +4.63 +4 -0.63
D. Smith 6 +0.75 0 -0.75
Famulener 23 +2.88 -1 -3.88
Shipp 29 +3.63 -1 -4.63
Bond 6 +0.75 -4 -4.75
Hughes 8 +1.00 -7 -8.00

Comment:   Only three Bears were positive in this table which was a little unusual. Diggs playing primarily defensive possessions at the end of the game pushed him into the negative. The numbers here reflect the success with which USC was able to have in containing Shipp and Tamir. Wethers' rebounding was key in the first h half when he was a solid +4.

Description: This stat measures the significance of a player's contribution to the team's effort. If a team wins by 10 points, and a player plays in half of the team's minutes, his expected contribution would be a +5. For example, Cal defeated Grambling by 19 points. Brian Wethers played 28 minutes or 70% of the game. If we multiply 70% x +19, Wethers' expected contribution would be a +13.30. But for the game he was a +26, so his net for the game for a +12.70. In a perfect team situation, if everyone contributed equally, the difference column would consist of a row of zeros. At some point in the future, I'll go into more detail about what this stat means. Each game, the top three players will be in blue. Special thanks to GldnBr71 for suggesting this.

Lineup Breakdown

Lineup TIME + - +/-
Hughes, Midgley, Shipp, Tamir, Wethers 6:17 10 18 -8
Famulener, Midgley, Shipp, Tamir, Wethers 5:13 10 5 +5
Bond, Diggs, Famulener, Midgley, Tamir 4:24 4 6 -2
Diggs, Famulener, Midgley, Tamir, Wethers 2:33 5 0 +5
Diggs, Famulener, Midgley, Shipp, Tamir 2:32 4 5 -1
Midgley, Paris, Shipp, Tamir, Wethers 2:29 9 4 +5
Diggs, Famulener, Shipp, Tamir, Wethers 2:24 2 8 -6
Midgley, Paris, Shipp, D. Smith, Tamir 2:10 7 6 +1
Famulener, Shipp, D. Smith, Tamir, Wethers 2:10 4 5 -1
Diggs, Midgley, Paris, Shipp, Tamir 2:01 5 2 +3
Diggs, Midgley, Paris, Tamir, Wethers 1:44 5 0 +5
Diggs, Famulener, Hughes, Shipp, Wethers 1:29 3 2 +1
Famulener, Midgley, Paris, Shipp, D. Smith, 1:23 2 2 0
Diggs, Midgley, Paris, Tamir, Wethers 1:17 3 3 0
Bond, Famulener, Midgley, Shipp, Tamir 0:44 0 0 0
Diggs, Paris, Shipp, Tamir, Wethers 0:41 0 0 0
Bond, Diggs, Famulener, Tamir, Wethers 0:29 0 2 -2
TOTAL 40:00 73 68 +5

Comment:  Midgley and Tamir were in all five of Cal's most productive lineups; Wethers made four appearances and Shipp made three.

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