Jan. 28, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men's basketball team travels to the Northwest to face West Coast Conference rivals Portland and Gonzaga in key league matchups this week. Saturday's game at Portland is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tipoff, while Saturday's Gonzaga game will begin at 5:30 p.m.
The Broncos are 11-7 overall and 2-3 in the WCC after earning a hard-fought 66-63 win over Saint Mary's last weekend in the Leavey Center. The Broncos' three WCC losses have been by an average of 4.3 points per game with two of those coming on the road.
First-year Santa Clara players account for 49 percent of the team's scoring and 28 percent of rebounding in the Broncos' five conference games this year. Freshmen Scott Borchart (933) and Brandon Rohe (.833) are leading the league in free throws in conference games. Rohe leads the team in scoring, averaging 12.4 points per game.
Portland is 8-10 on the season and 1-4 on the WCC following a tight 70-67 loss to Gonzaga on Saturday. The Pilots began the season with three-straight wins but have lost five of their last seven games. Casey Frandsen leads the squad in scoring with a 13.3 per game average. Donald Wilson is the only other Pilot in double figures, averaging 11.6 point per game.
Gonzaga is 14-5 on the season and 5-0 in the WCC after Saturday's win over Portland. The Bulldogs were picked as the favorites to win the league title during the preseason and have defeated their conference opponents by an average of 9.6 points per game. Junior Blake Stepp has led Gonzaga in scoring in six games this season, including a 31-point effort against the Pilots. He is averaging a team-high 16.5 points per game.
The average margin of Gonzaga's victories in the last two games at Spokane is just four points. Last year Steve Ross torched the Bulldogs with 38 points in a tight 83-81 loss in the Martin Centre. The Broncos have not swept the Northwest trip since 1992.
Both games will be broadcast live via the Bronco Radio Network, which consists of 1640 AM KDIA, 103.3 FM KSCU and on the Internet at SantaClaraBroncos.com. There will also be live statistical coverage on the web on the Santa Clara official athletic website.
The Broncos return home Saturday, Feb. 8 in a single game against San Diego in the Leavey Center. Tickets remain available by calling the athletic ticket office at 408/554-4660. The San Diego game will be highlighted by the annual Bronco Basketball Alumni Weekend. An afternoon alumni game, pregame dinner and halftime recognition is planned.