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Lampley looks to lead Bears past Fresno St.

By Jared Green Daily Planet Staff
Friday March 16, 2001

When the Cal Bears tip off their NCAA Tournament opening round game tonight, they will be taking on a legend: Jerry Tarkanian, the ultimate rebel of big-time college basketball. But what they face on the court will be even tougher: a run-and-gun Bulldog squad that is as talented as any team in the country. 

The key to stopping the Bulldogs is simple, but hard to accomplish: stop Tito Maddox. The sophomore point guard, who joined the team midway through the season, has been spectacular at times, averaging 14 points and eight assists per game. But he has also been inconsistent, playing out of control at times and committing too many turnovers. 

The job of stopping Maddox will likely fall to Cal point guard Shantay Legans, who will give up six inches to the 6-foot-4 Maddox. Legans should get help from his wingmen, Joe Shipp, Brian Wethers and Ryan Forehan-Kelly, but the other Bulldogs can make the Bears pay if they double-team Maddox.  

Three other Fresno State players each average 15 points per game. Center Melvin Ely is the team’s leading scorer, and Berkeley post players Solomon Hughes and Nick Vander Laan will have their hands full with the senior, who is shooting 59 percent from the field. Shooting guard Demetrius Porter and wingman Chris Jefferies can also fill it up. 

The Bears, as usual, will lean heavily on their senior leader, forward Sean Lampley. The Pac-10 Player of the Year, Lampley leads Cal is points and rebounds, and the Bears can’t win without a solid game from him. If Lampley scores at least 20 points and controls the boards, he could lead a young Cal team to a win and a likely second-round matchup with Michigan State. 

But Cal will have to get points from someone else, and no Bear has shown a consistent ability to score, as Lampley is the only player averaging more than 10 points per game. The Bulldogs average 82 points per game, so Legans will have to get his teammates good shots and direct the offense, as well taking on the considerable task of containing Maddox.v