February 18, 2003

Men's Hoops to Play Crucial Games At Bay Area Rivals

Feb. 18, 2003

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men's basketball team is faced with a must-win weekend with key West Coast Conference games at Bay Area rivals San Francisco and Saint Mary's College.

Santa Clara travels to face the Dons (11-12 overall, 6-4 WCC) Friday night at 7 p.m. at War Memorial Gymnasium on the University of San Francisco campus. On Sunday, the Broncos travel to Moraga to play Saint Mary's. Both games will feature live Internet and radio coverage, while Sunday's contest will be telecast by Fox Sports Net.

The Broncos, 12-11 overall and 3-7 in the WCC, enters the weekend two games behind fourth-place Saint Mary's (12-11, 5-5) with four games remaining in the regular season. The final games of the season will determine each league team's placement in the regular season standings as well as seeding in the annual conference tournament, scheduled for March 7-10 at San Diego.

The top two teams in the standings receive a pass directly to the event's semifinals, while the nos. 3-4 seeds earn a bye in the tournament's first round on Friday night. The nos. 5-8 seeds will compete in the first round on opening night for the right to advance.

Santa Clara is coming off Sunday's 73-61 win over Pepperdine at the Leavey Center. The win snapped a four-game losing streak and was the first at home over the Waves since 1999. Junior center Jim Howell scored a career-high 19 points as Santa Clara connected on 53.6 percent shooting from the field. Sophomore guard Ethan Rohde recorded a career-high of his own with 10 rebounds and SCU outboarded the Waves by a 43-29 margin.

Freshman guard Brandon Rohe leads Santa Clara in scoring, averaging 11.4 points per game. Eleven different Broncos average more than three points per game and 10 of the 12 active players have earned at least one start. Howell leads the team and ranks sixth in the WCC in rebounds per game with 6.3.

San Francisco enters Friday's contest with an 11-12 overall record but has won four of its last five outings and its 6-4 conference mark puts the Dons in third place in the league standings. Forward Darrell Tucker, who has earned WCC Player of the Week honors two of the last three weeks, leads the team in scoring with an 18.2 per game average. He is averaging a league-high 24 points in conference games and is coming off a 26-point effort last weekend at Portland.

Following the weekend's road games, Santa Clara returns home for its final regular season games of the year against Gonzaga and Portland. Tickets remain available by calling 408/554-4660 or by clicking here. Fans wishing to purchase courtside floor seats can participate in an online silent auction by clicking here.