Tuesday, March 23, 1999

Ducks going for 3-game sweep of Cal

The Associated Press

        NEW YORK — Ben Braun has his priorities, even if the California coach is busy preparing for the NIT semifinals: Delis first, beating Oregon next.

        After arriving in New York on Sunday, Braun immediately headed to the Carnegie Deli.

        But Braun promises to take a time out from his dining tonight, when California (20-11) plays Oregon (19-11) in the opening NIT semifinal at Madison Square Garden. Xavier (24-10) plays Clemson (19-14) in the other.

        It will be the third matchup between Pac-10 foes Cal and Oregon, with the Ducks winning the first two games.

        “Throw out the first two,” said Braun, whose Bears reached the semis with wins over Fresno State, DePaul and Colorado State. “Pride is on the line. Now we have a chance to play for an NIT championship.”

        Oregon coach Ernie Kent says the Bears may have the emotional edge, but the previous games were far from blowouts. Oregon won in Berkeley 71-69 in overtime on Jan. 2, and then won 93-82 in the regular-season finale in Eugene.

        “We've been in tough, hard battles with them,” said Kent.

        The Ducks, bidding for their first 20-win season in 23 years, are led by forwards A.D. Smith (13.1 points) and Alex Scales (14.5 points), with guard Terik Brown (12.1 points) running the show. The Bears, making their first appearance at Madison Square Garden since 1946, counter with guards Geno Carlisle (15.6 points) and Thomas Kilgore (14.9 points).

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- Ducks going for 3-game sweep of Cal