January 24, 2003

Bronco Men's Hoops To Host Gaels

Jan. 24, 2003

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men's basketball team will be looking to get back on the winning track Saturday when it hosts resurgent Saint Mary's College in a 7 p.m. tipoff at the Leavey Center.

The game will culminate a sports-filled day at Santa Clara that begins at 10:30 a.m. with a free youth clinic hosted by the men's basketball team at the Leavey Center. The Bronco baseball team opens its 2003 season with a 1 p.m. first pitch at Buck Shaw Stadium against third-ranked Stanford. The women's water polo team will also open its season with a pair of games at the Leavey Pool against Sonoma State and UC Santa Cruz beginning at 11 a.m.

Fans purchasing a ticket to either the baseball or men's basketball game will receive admission to both games. The athletic ticket office may be reached by telephone at 408/554-4660 or tickets may be purchased on the Internet by clicking here. To obtain information on the free basketball clinic, contact the sports promotions office at 408/554-4690.

Santa Clara enters Saturday's game against the Gaels with a 10-7 record and a 1-3 mark in West Coast Conference play. The Broncos opened the season with a 10-4 mark but have dropped their last three conference games by an average of just 4.33 points per game. Despite outshooting and outrebounding San Francisco on Wednesday night, the Broncos dropped a heartbreaking 55-52 decision to the Dons at the Leavey Center.

Freshman Brandon Rohe leads the team in scoring, averaging 12.5 points per game off the bench. Sophomore guard Bakari Altheimer returned to the lineup on Jan. 11 after missing the entire non-conference season due to a broken foot and is averaging 10.8 points and 3.0 assists per game. He connected on dramatic three-point field goals in the closing seconds against both Pepperdine and San Francisco to give the Broncos last-second chances for victory in both games.

The Broncos lead the WCC in rebounding with an average of 38.3 per game and are outrebounding their opponents by a league-leading average of 6.6 per game. Santa Clara has outrebounded 15 of its 17 opponents this season.

Saint Mary's is 9-7 on the season and 2-1 in WCC play and is off to its best start since the 1991-92 season. Last week the Gaels dropped a heart breaker to Gonzaga, 56-53, on Friday, then responded to post a 69-54 victory over Portland Saturday at McKeon Pavilion. Saint Mary's' nine wins this year matches its total for the entire 2001-02 season.

The Gaels lead the WCC in scoring defense, allowing just 62.1 points per game. Saint Mary's is also shooting a league-leading .384 from beyond the three-point arc. Freshman Daniel Kickert leads the team in scoring, averaging 13.4 points per game. The team's rebounding leader is forward Chase Poole's 7.1 boards per game.

Following the Saint Mary's game, Santa Clara returns to the road for key WCC contests at Portland and Gonzaga. The Broncos return to the Leavey Center Saturday, Feb. 8 for a home game against San Diego at 7 p.m.