Feb. 9, 2005
Santa Clara, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men's basketball team will be hosting its own version of Friday Night Lights this week when it welcomes Saint Mary's College to the Leavey Center for a highly-anticipated rematch between the two West Coast Conference and Bay Area rivals.
In a rare 7:30 p.m. tipoff, scheduled in order to accommodate a Fox Sports Bay Area telecast, the attention of Bay Area college basketball fans and an expected near-sellout will be enjoying one of this season's top West Coast matchups. Only a few reserved seats remain available by calling the SCU Athletic Ticket Office at 408/554-4660 or by purchasing online by clicking here.
In addition to the Fox Sports telecast, with analysis provided by Barry Tompkins and Dan Belluomini, the game will air live locally on KNTS-AM (1220) and live Internet coverage will be available by clicking here.
Earlier this season, Santa Clara (12-12, 5-4 WCC) traveled to face the first-place Gaels in Moraga, Calif. and emerged with a 23-point, 65-42 victory in front of a partisan sellout crowd at McKeon Pavilion. The loss snapped SMC's school-record 12-game home winning streak.
Saint Mary's, which was coming off an emotional 89-81 home win over then 11th-ranked Gonzaga, were held to a season-low 42 points and were forced into a 26 percent shooting night by the inspired Bronco defense. The Gaels' normally successful outside shooters, who connected on a school-record 16 three-pointers against the Bulldogs, shot just 11.1 percent against Santa Clara.
Bronco senior guard Doron Perkins led all scorers with 20 points. Junior forward Travis Niesen added 16 points and Kyle Bailey had 14 for Santa Clara, which shot 51.7 percent in the first half and held Saint Mary's without a basket for 10 minutes. The Broncos matched their biggest margin of victory against Saint Mary's since 1990.
Perkins, a native of Anchorage, Alaska, has moved into the team's scoring lead after scoring 38 points in SCU's two games last week at Portland and Gonzaga. He averages 15.4 points and a team-high 5.9 rebounds per game and ranks third in the WCC in steals with an average of 2.2 per game. Perkins, believed by many to be the most versatile player in the WCC, is the only player to rank in the top 15 in the conference in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals in league games.
Saint Mary's enters Friday's game with a 20-6 record and a 7-2 mark in the WCC, which is good for a first-place tie with Gonzaga. The Gaels split their two games in the Northwest last weekend, taking a narrow 68-63 loss at the Bulldogs then rebounding for a narrow 73-72 last-second victory at Portland.
Senior guard Paul Marigney, who scored 10 points in the first meeting versus Santa Clara this season, leads Saint Mary's with an average of 14.9 points per game. Junior forward Daniel Kicker is second on the team with a 14.8 scoring average and is tied with senior forward Frederic Adjiwanou for the team's rebounding lead at 6.7 per game. Senior guard E.J. Rowland is the only other Gael in double figures with an 11.0 per game scoring average.
The Gaels have started the same five players in six of the nine WCC games and the projected starters for Friday's game (the players mentioned above and senior forward Jonathan Sanders) account for 74 percent of the team's scoring.
Following Friday's game, Santa Clara remains at home for its final two regular-season appearances of the season in the Leavey Center. The Broncos host Pepperdine Thursday at 7 p.m. then face Loyola Marymount in a 2 p.m. tipoff on Saturday.
SCU completes the regular-season with road games at San Diego and San Francisco before hosting the annual WCC Championships March 3-7 at the Leavey Center. All-session tickets remain available by calling the SCU Athletic Ticket Office at 408/554-4660 or by clicking here.