Feb. 22, 2006
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - With a chance to salvage a winning record this season, the Santa Clara men's basketball team will be looking for a pair of victories this weekend when it hosts Southern California rivals Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine at the Leavey Center.
Saturday's 8 p.m. contest against Loyola Marymount will be televised live by Fox Sports Bay Area with SCU's veteran radio analyst Dave Lewis calling the action. Former Pacific, USC and San Jose State head coach, and current UC Riverside athletic director, Stan Morrison will provide analysis. The game will also air on the radio in the Bay Area on KNTS-AM 1220 and via the Internet on Broncos All-Access with SCU women's basketball personality Anthony Passarelli describing the game.
Be sure to attend the final regular-season home games of the hoops season this weekend! For tickets, click here.
"It is always with a certain sense of sadness that we honor our seniors at the final game of the season," said SCU head coach Dick Davey. "Travis has obviously meant a great deal to our program the last four years and has been a major factor for us in stepping up and leading our rather inexperienced team this year.
"Jennifer has done an excellent job for the last two years as our team manager and she will surely be missed. People don't realize the important role the manager plays in keeping our players and coaches organized and prepared. She has done a great job."
SCU is not expected to recognize seniors Joey Kaempf and Tristan Parham. Kaempf is a senior walk-on from Portland, Ore. who has played just one season and is considering a return to the team next season. Parham suffered a knee injury and played just two games. The Chicago, Ill native is petitioning for a medical redshirt and could return next season for a fifth year of eligibility.
Santa Clara enters Saturday's game with a 10-15 record and a 3-9 mark in West Coast Conference play. The Broncos are currently tied with Pepperdine for seventh in the league standings and enter the weekend just one game behind sixth-place Portland.
A win over Pepperdine on Monday, regardless of Saturday's result, would place the Broncos as either the sixth or seventh seed in the WCC Championships next weekend in Spokane, Wash. SCU could finish as the sixth seed depending on the outcome of Portland's games at home against San Francisco and San Diego.
Johnson traveled back to his home state of Texas last weekend to attend a pair of funerals for close relatives, while Kaempf is suffering from back stiffness. Johnson returned to limited action on Monday after traveling back to the Bay Area that day. Kaempf's status for Saturday is undetermined.
Niesen is the second-leading scorer in the WCC and 32nd nationally with an average of 19.5 points per game. The Mission Viejo, Calif. native scored a season-high 31 points in Monday's 83-78 road win at San Francisco. The 6'-7" forward is shooting 45 percent from the field for the season and is the team's rebounding leader with an average of 6.6 per game.
One of the top career scorers in school history, Niesen ranks 15th on the school's list for most points with 1,321 in his four seasons. He is 25 points shy of former SCU guard Marlon Garnett for 14th on the list.
Sophomore guard Brody Angley is tied as the WCC's leader in assists and ranks 35th nationally with an average of 5.2 per game. He is also the league leader in steals with 1.94 per game and assist-turnover ratio. The Redding, Calif. native is just behind classmate Mitch Henke in scoring with a 9.2 per game average.
Junior center Sean Denison missed eight games during early part of the season due to a stress reaction in his right foot. The Nelson, B.C. native also missed three additional league games after suffering an ankle injury in the first minute of play at Loyola Marymount on Jan. 21.
Since returning to the lineup six games ago, Denison has averaged 12.2 points, 1.8 blocks and and 7.8 rebounds per game. In SCU's last three games, he has also connected on 17 of his 21 free throw attempts for 81 percent.
Loyola Marymount is 11-15 on the season but 8-4 in league play and two games ahead of third-place San Diego in the standings. An LMU win against either Santa Clara or Saint Mary's this weekend would clinch the Lions a number two seed in the WCC Championiships.
Junior Matthew Knight leads three LMU players who score in double figures with an average of 16.7 points per game. The Burnie, Tasmania, Australia native leads the WCC and ranks 19th nationally in rebounding with an average of 10.0 per game.
The Lions' guard tandem of senior Wes Wardrop and redshirt junior Brandon Worthy combine to average 28.8 points and 8.3 assists per game. The duo, along with Knight, account for 39 percent of the team's field goal attempts and a whopping 62 percent of its 73.3 points per game.
Following Santa Clara's two home games this weekend, the Broncos will open play in the WCC Championships next Friday night in Spokane, Wash. The league office is expected to announce the tournament bracket following the conclusion of regular-season WCC games played on Monday night.