52nd Season of WCC Hoops Starts Friday

Jan. 6, 2004

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men's basketball team opens its 52nd season of West Coast Conference competition Friday when it hosts Bay Area rival San Francisco at the Leavey Center.

Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in order to accommodate a Fox Sports Net television broadcast. Tickets are available by calling 408/554-4660 or by clicking here. The game is being promoted as part of the national "Take A Kid To The Game" program with all youths attending the game gaining admission for $2 at the door when accompanied by a paying adult.

The game will be televised live by Fox Sports Net with veteran announcers Barry Tompkins and Dan Belluomini calling the action. It will also air live in the Bay Area on KSFB-AM (1220) and via the Internet by clicking here. Dave Lewis will call the action for the Bronco Radio Network.

The Broncos enter the game with an 8-7 overall record in non-league play after dropping a 65-54 decision to Eastern Washington last Saturday at the Leavey Center. After opening the season with consecutive losses to Hawai'i and Villanova in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational, Santa Clara went on a six-game win streak that included victories over Central Michigan, Fresno State and Pacific.

Since that time, the Broncos have won just two of its last seven games. However, three of those losses have been by two-points or decided in overtime, including narrow losses to (currently) undefeated and 22nd-ranked Mississippi State and BYU.

Junior transfer Doron Perkins leads the Broncos in scoring with an average of 12.2 points per game. The Anchorage, Alaska native also is the WCC leader in steals with an average of 2.13 per game. He has led the team in scoring seven times this season and his put-back dunk with just 1.3 seconds remaining gave the Broncos a two-point overtime win over UMBC.

Perkins' fellow Alaskan teammate, Kyle Bailey, is second on the team in scoring with an 11.1 per game average and is the squad's assist leader with 3.8 per game. The Fairbanks, Alaska native is also second on the team with a 4.4 per game rebounding average. Bailey's plus-1.44 assist/turnover ratio also ranks seventh in the WCC.

Defensively, the Broncos are limiting opponents to just 64.9 points per game, which is the lowest average in Dick Davey's 12 seasons at Santa Clara. In addition, led by Jim Howell 17, are averaging 2.9 blocks per game, which is also the highest in Davey's tenure at SCU.

San Francisco enters the game with a 10-6 overall record and has won seven of its last night games, including a 60-47 victory over Sacramento State on Saturday. The Dons started the season slowly, winning just three of its first seven games. However, the team has several solid wins, including victories over Ohio State, Delaware, Ohio Univ. and Pacific.

The Dons are coached by Phil Mathews in his ninth season. The leading scorer is James Bayless, who is averaging 13.7 points and is shooting .539 from the field. His 5.5 average rebounds per game is also third on the team.

Tyrone Riley is second on the squad in scoring, averaging 9.6 points per game and his 7.3 rebounds per game leads the team. As a unit, the Dons are scoring just 63.1 points per game but are holding opponents to 63.1 points. They are outrebounding their opponents by an average of 2.9 per game. Last year's leading scorer against the Broncos, John Cox, will miss the season due to a knee injury. He scored 51 in the two meetings between the two teams last season.

Historically, the two teams have played on 188 previous occasions with the Broncos owning a narrow 97-91 series edge. Santa Clara has won seven of the 11 meetings but more recently the Dons have taken three of the last four. Last season, the Dons swept the season series between the two schools for the first time since 1978-79.

Following the San Francisco contest, Santa Clara remains at home for the final two games of an eight-game homestand when it hosts Pepperdine on Thursday, Jan. 15 and Loyola Marymount on Saturday, Jan. 17. Both games are scheduled for identical 7 p.m. tipoffs.