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Utah Valley (6-5) at California (6-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, December 28th, 10:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Haas Pavilion (12,000) -- Berkeley, California Television: None. Home Record: UVU 5-1, California 5-0. Away Record: UVU 0-3, California 1-2. Neutral Record: UVU 1-1, California 0-2. Conference Record: UVU 0-0, California 0-0. Series Record: California leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Golden Bear Classic takes place at Haas Pavilion tonight, as California hosts the Utah Valley Wolverines in the opening round. The winner of this game will move on to the championship game against either Furman of UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday.
The Wolverines comes into the tourney with some momentum, as they have won two straight and three of their past four outings. Most recently, the team topped Southern Oregon, 77-50, a week ago to improve to 5-0 at home. Utah Valley however, has struggled away from home, going just 1-4 between road and neutral site affairs.
As for the Bears, they took on top-ranked Kansas in their last outing and dropped an 84-69 decision on Tuesday. The loss dipped the team to 6-4 on the campaign, with all four of its setbacks coming against teams ranked in the Top 15 at some point this season. Cal is hosting this tourney for the 17th time and it has taken home the title on 11 prior occasions.
California and Utah Valley are meeting for just the second time, with the first encounter resulting in a 60-47 Bears' victory in 2006.
Jordan Swarbrick leads three Wolverine double-figure scorers with 14.5 ppg and he is also the team's top defender, with 19 steals to his credit. Corey Claitt adds 13.8 ppg and a team-high 3.8 apg to the rotation, while Justin Baker turns in 12.3 ppg and 4.5 rpg. In the team's last game, Claitt put forth 18 points and six assists to power Utah Valley in a rout of Southern Oregon. Baker tallied 13 points and seven boards, and Swarbrick finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. The Wolverines shot 43.8 percent from the floor and controlled the boards, 45-36, in the win.
The Bears have plenty of weapons to rely on and Jerome Randle is the best option of the team's four double-digit scorers. Randle, a 92.6 percent free- throw shooter, leads the squad with a solid 19.2 ppg and he is also dishing off a team-best 5.0 apg. Patrick Christopher is another threat at 16.1 ppg, and Theo Robertson has averaged 14.3 ppg over his four appearances. Jamal Boykin rounds out the group at 12.7 ppg and he is also ripping down a team- high 7.7 rpg. On Tuesday, all four players reached double figures, but the Bears simply couldn't slow down Kansas in the second half of an 84-69 setback. Trailing just 40-39 at the break, Kansas shot an unconscious 73.1 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes to pull away. Christopher paced the team in defeat with 21 points, while Randle had 16. Boykin registered a double- double with 15 points and 15 boards, and Robertson chipped in 13 points.
California is clearly the more talented team here and Randle and company should have their way en route to the victory tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: California 82, Utah Valley 62
12/28 10:34:42 ET
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