December 25, 2003

37th Cable Car Classic Begins Monday

Dec. 25, 2003

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara University men's basketball team returns to action Monday when it hosts the 37th annual Cable Car Classic Dec. 29-30 at the Leavey Center on the Mission Campus.

The host Broncos will face a challenge from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the event's first round at 6 p.m., while Idaho State will play Brigham Young University in the second game at approximately 8 p.m. The two winners will advance to Tuesday night's championship game at 8 p.m., while the two losing teams will play in the 6 p.m. consolation game.

Both Santa Clara games will be broadcast live in the Bay Area on KSFB-AM (1220) as well as worldwide on SantaClaraBroncos.com. There will also be a live GameTracker statistical update provided for all four games. Tickets are available throughout the holiday break by clicking here or on Monday by calling the athletic ticket office at 408/554-4660.

Santa Clara has won three of the past four Cable Car Classics. The Broncos defeated Princeton by a score of 77-71 to win last season's championship trophy and SCU guard Ethan Rohde was named the tournament MVP. Jim Howell and Brandon Rohe were honored as part of the five-person all-tournament team.

In 2001, the Broncos earned a hard-fought 59-58 win over UMBC in the first round then fought to a narrow, two-point win over UC-Santa Barbara in the championship game. Point guard Kyle Bailey was named the tournament MVP and fellow Bronco Steve Ross earned all-tournament honors.

The last time a non-Santa Clara team took home the Cable Car Classic championship was 2000, when the Stanford Cardinal earned 78-63 win in the title game. The previous season, Santa Clara knocked-off Butler 57-56 in the title game.

The Broncos enter this year's tournament with a 7-5 overall record following its 65-63 double-overtime victory over UMBC on Monday in the Leavey Center. Junior guard Doron Perkins thundered home a dramatic putback dunk with 1.3 seconds left in the second overtime to clinch the victory.

Perkins leads Santa Clara in scoring with an average of 12.8 points per game. He is also the West Coast Conference leader in steals with an average of 2.3 per game. The junior college transfer from Anchorage, Alaska is also averaging 3.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.

Bailey is the team's second-leading scorer and made his first appearance in the starting lineup since suffering an ankle injury in the first half of the win over Pacific on Dec. 13. He missed the Eastern Washington and Oregon games and came off the bench in the loss to Mississippi State. The Fairbanks, Alaska native is averaging 10.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game.

Santa Clara started the season with consecutive losses to Hawai'i and Villanova in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational before winning the tournament's seventh-place game against Central Michigan. That win launched a six-game win streak for the Broncos that ended with a 10-point loss at Eastern Washington on Dec. 15. After a three-game skid, SCU rebounded with the win over UMBC to head into the holiday break.

Wis.-Milwaukee enters the Cable Car Classic with a 5-3 record after winning its Horizon League opener 78-62 at home against Illinois-Chicago on Tuesday. Dylan Page scored 25 points and Ed McCants added 21 as the Panthers broke a 46-all tie early in the second half with a 17-4 run and then led by as many as 20 points down the stretch.

The Panthers have a 3-2 record in their last five games with the two losses coming at N.C. State and at Wisconsin. UWM's 81. 9 points per game scoring average is led individually by Page's 20.5 points per game, while McCants scores at a 17.5 per game clip. Page, a 6-9 senior from Amherst, Wis. is also the team's rebounding leader with an average of 7.8 per game.

BYU enjoys a 7-2 overall record after a disappointing 76-64 loss at Utah State Tuesday night. The loss ended BYU's six-game victory streak. With its one-point defeat at California, BYU's two setbacks this season have come by a combined three points. Rafael Araujo leads the Cougars in scoring with an average of 21.1 points per game. Araujo posted his sixth double-double of the season with a team-high 16 points and 10 rebounds against Utah State.

The Cougars have outrebounded their opponents by 16.8 points per game this season and enjoy a plus-6.9 rebounding edge.

Other than Santa Clara, BYU is the only other team in this year's Cable Car Classic field to have played in the event previously. The Cougars have played in three previous events and have two titles to their credit. BYU won the 1994 event with a 76-55 win in the title game and Cougar Russell Larson was named the tournament MVP. Michael Smith earned MVP honors in leading BYU to the 1986 title with a 77-66 win over the Broncos in the championship.

Brigham Young's first appearance was in the event's second edition and the Cougars lost to San Francisco 79-75 in the first round and dropped a 98-75 decision to Houston in the consolation game. That year, Bud Ogden, Ralph Ogden and Dennis Awtrey represented SCU on the all-tournament team and were joined by Houston's Ollie Taylor and USF's Pete Cross.

Idaho State is 3-7 on the season and currently is in the midst of a five-game losing streak. The Bengals opened the season winning two of its first three games and earning third-place in the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska, losing only its first round game against eventual champion Rice 76-46.

In its most recent outing, the Bengals dropped a 73-63 decision to Texas Southern in the adidas Festival at the University of Hawai'i on Dec. 20.

Marquis Poole leads three ISU scorers in double figures, averaging 16.0 points per game. Scott Henry averages 12.3 points and a team-high 6.2 rebounds per game.