January 26, 2006

Longtime Bay Area Rivalry Resumes Saturday

Jan. 26, 2006

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - One of the Bay Area's oldest college basketball rivalries resumes Saturday night when Santa Clara hosts the University of San Francisco in a 7:30 p.m. tip-off in the Leavey Center.

The contest, which will be televised live by Comcast SportsNet West, is the first of a two-game West Coast Conference weekend for the Broncos that will culminate with a Monday night matchup against San Diego. Tickets are available by calling 408/554-4660.

A live radio broadcast of all Santa Clara games is available via the Internet through SantaClaraBroncos.com's Broncos All-Access package. Live CSTV Gametracker coverage will also be available. The game will not air live on the radio in the Bay Area due to a scheduling conflict on KNTS-AM 1220.

Some of the greatest names in Bay Area basketball history have been a part of this series that started in January, 1909 when USF was still known as Saint Ignatius College and SCU had not yet evolved from a college to a university.

Santa Clara players such as Ken Sears, Dennis Awtrey, brothers Bud and Ralph Ogden, Kurt Rambis and Steve Nash proudly wore the red and white against the rival Dons. For USF, standouts like K.C. Jones, Bill Russell and Bill Cartwright took to the hardwood in an effort to earn bragging rights against the Broncos.

This season's SCU squad enters Saturday's game with an 8-9 overall record and 1-4 mark and will be looking to get back on track following three-straight disappointing losses in Southern California. In contrast to its 1-7 mark on the road, the Broncos are 7-2 within the friendly confines of the Leavey Center this season with its only losses coming at the hands of Montana (currently 14-3, 4-1 in the Big Sky Conference) and seventh-ranked Gonzaga.

Senior Travis Niesen (Mission Viejo, Calif.) continues to move up the Santa Clara career scoring charts and is third in the WCC with a 19.2 per game average this season. He is also second on the SCU squad in rebounding with an average of 6.7 per game and, along with sophomore guard Brody Angley (Redding, Calif.) averages more than 33 minutes per game.

Angley is the league leader in assist-turnover ratio and his 5.2 assists per game ranks second in the WCC. He is also connecting on 87 percent of his free throws, which ties for second in the league with Portland's Eugene Jeter. As a team, the Broncos are among the top free throw shooting teams in school history, connecting on 73.8 percent of its tries from behind the charity stripe.

Defensively, Santa Clara limits opponents to just .391 shooting from the field and .351 from beyond the three-point arc. The Bronco interior is blocking 3.5 shots per game, which is the most for an SCU since Dick Davey became the head coach in 1992-93.

San Francisco enters Saturday's game with a 7-11 overall record and 3-2 mark in the WCC. Winners of three of their last five, the Dons will be looking for just their second road win of the season and is coming off an 84-75 loss to Gonzaga last Monday.

Junior Armondo Surratt is the league leader in assists with 5.33 per game and is scoring at a team-leading 14.4 per game clip. Junior Alan Wiggins is second on the team in scoring with a 13.4 per game average and is fourth in the WCC in rebounding at 7.7 per game.

As a team, San Francisco averages 68.1 points per game while allowing 71.1 points to its opponents. However, in league play the Dons are holding opponents to five points fewer per contest: A league-low 66.6 point per game.

Halftime of Saturday's game will provide a bit of nostalgia for Bronco fans as Santa Clara's 1968-70 teams will be honored at halftime. The day of activities begins at 2:30 p.m. with the annual SCU Alumni Game followed by the SCU Alumni Association's annual Pasta Feed at 5 p.m.

The Broncos return to action Monday with a 7 p.m. home contest against San Diego.