Jan. 24, 2005
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Riding a four-game win streak and sitting at the top of the West Coast Conference standings, the Santa Clara University men's basketball team returns to the Leavey Center this week for crucial league games against San Francisco and San Diego.
Thursday's contest against the Dons will mark Santa Clara's first home game since a 13-point win over the University of Portland on January 8. The game is scheduled to tipoff at 7 p.m. and will air live on the radio in the Bay Area on KNTS-AM (1220) and via the Internet by clicking here.
Tickets are available by calling 408/554-4660 or online by clicking here.
Saturday's game against San Diego is scheduled for a 7 p.m. start and will be preceeded by a 3 p.m. alumni game.
The Broncos enter Thursday's game against San Francisco with an 11-9 overall record and 4-1 mark in WCC action after sweeping Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine on the road last weekend. The two wins marked the first sweep of SCU's LA rivals since the 1993-94 season and only the second in the last 21 years.
Santa Clara is currently tied with Saint Mary's College at the top of the WCC standings and its 4-1 start equals the best since the 1997-98 squad opened the league season with a perfect 5-0 mark.
Junior forward Travis Niesen continues to lead the Broncos in scoring with a 15.7 points per game average. The Mission Viejo, Calif. native is shooting .487 from the field and his .814 free throw percentage is the best of his career at Santa Clara.
Senior guard tandem of Doron Perkins and Kyle Bailey are the only other Santa Clara players scoring in double-figures and, combined with Niesen, the trio accounts for 59 percent of the Broncos' 75.2 points per game, which ranks second in the WCC.
Bailey, in his fifth season at SCU after missing 2002-03 due to foot and back injuries, enjoyed one his best back-to-back outings as a Bronco against LMU and Pepperdine. The Fairbanks, Alaska native scored 52 points in the two games, 44 of which came in the second half to help seal the victories. He shot 18-for-32 from the field and 6-for-13 from behind the three-point arc and averaged 6.5 rebounds while commiting just two turnovers.
Perkins is the team's rebounding leader, ranking eighth in the WCC with a 6.3 per game average. He has scored in double figures in 17 of SCU's 20 games and his 104 career steals puts him in a tie for 10th with current SCU assistant coach Lloyd Pierce and Mitch Burley on the school's career list.
San Francisco enters Thursday's contest with a 12-6 overall record and a 3-2 mark in WCC games. The Dons have won three-straight games with two of those coming in overtime. The most notable of the three recent wins was a 73-30 victory over Gonzaga last weekend at War Memorial Gymnasium. Jerome Gumbs is the WCC Player of the Week after averaging 22.5 points and 12.0 rebounds and commiting no turnovers in 74 minutes in the two games.
Senior guard John Cox leads the WCC in scoring with a 20.9 per game average. Center Tyrone Riley is second on the team in scoring with an average of 14.2 points and is second in the league in rebounding, pulling down 8.4 boards per outing.
Santa Clara leads the all-time series between the two schools by a fairly narrow 99-92 margin since the first meeting during the 1908-09 season. In recent times the two teams have split the last 14 matchups, with each squad winning seven games apiece. Last season, Santa Clara won two of the three games, including an 81-75 win in the second round of the WCC Championships in the Leavey Center.
Following Saturday's game against San Diego, Santa Clara returns to the road for a pair of games in the Northwest at Portland and Gonzaga.