Feb. 5, 2002
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men's basketball team returns to the Leavey Center this week for the first time since Jan. 26 with a two-game West Coast Conference set against ninth-ranked Gonzaga and Portland.
The Broncos will be looking to knock-off defending WCC champion Gonzaga Thursday at 7:30 p.m. for the third-straight season at the Leavey Center. Santa Clara won last year's matchup by a score of 84-71 to snap the Bulldogs' nation's-best 14-game win streak. Thursday's game will feature Ruff Rider Appreciation Night with a variety of special contests and presentations to the membership and its sponsors.
Saturday is the annual Alumni Day that will be held in conjunction with the Broncos' home contest against Portland. The annual alumni game will be played at 3 p.m. at the Leavey Center, followed by a dinner for all men's basketball alums. Tipoff against the Pilots is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
For tickets to Santa Clara University athletic events, contact the athletic ticket office at 408/554-4660 or click here. For information on the alumni game or dinner, contact Sam Scuilli at 408/554-4566.
Santa Clara is 9-12 overall this season and 4-4 and in sole possession of fourth-place in the WCC standings. Last weekend, the Broncos split its road games at Saint Mary's College (W, 63-60) and San Francisco (L, 77-59). Senior Steve Ross leads the Broncos in scoring with an average of 16.3 points per game, including an 18.5 per game average in league contests. He registered a career-high 38 points in the last meeting against Gonzaga in Spokane.
Gonzaga is 20-3 on the season and 7-1 and in second place in the WCC. The Bulldogs are ranked ninth in the most recent Associated Press poll, which is the highest ever for a Gonzaga men's basketball team. Gonzaga is 11-0 at home this season and two of its three losses have been on the road: at Illinois (76-58) and at Pepperdine (79-88). The Bulldogs have won five-straight games and have a current RPI of 31 and a strength of schedule rating of 139. Senior guard Dan Dickau leads Gonzaga in scoring with an average of 20.5 points per game. Cory Violette is the team's leading rebounding, pulling down an average of 7.6 boards per game.
The University of Portland is 5-17 overall and 1-7 in the WCC with its lone win coming at the hands of Saint Mary's College, 74-68, at home. First-year head coach Michael Holton has the WCC's top rebounder in Coky Rochin who is averaging 10.3 boards per game to go with his 16.0 points. Portland's seven losses by five points or less this season is tied with Tennessee among all Division I teams. In addition, 11 of the Pilots' defeats have been by 10 points or less. Casey Frandsen, a bench player a year ago, is averaging 18.8 points per game and is among the league's top three-point shooters with an average of 3.1 per game.