Dons down Broncos in WCC Conference Opener
In the 206th meeting between Bay Area rivals Santa Clara and USF Dons, USF prevailed 74-67 Saturday in the Leavy Center. Kevin Foster tied the school record with eight threes made and broke the school record with 20 attempts. With the loss the Broncos fall to 9-8, 0-1 in conference play. The Dons improve to 7-9, 1-0 in conference action. Santa Clara travels to play at San Diego next Thursday at the Jenny Craig Pavillion.
"We didn't play well in the second half. We didn't handle success very well in the second half and got complacent and we let them get comfortable," said Bronco head coach Kerry Keating. "We have got to get a stop when they go on a scoring run like that. Shots will fall and they won't fall, but we have to play defense and rebound the ball. We have to go inside when the threes aren't dropping. We have four good shooters who can also shoot free throws well - we have to get to the line."
Santa Clara shot 35.6 percent (21 of 59) from the field, including 32.4 percent from beyond the arc (12 of 37). The Broncos collected 34 rebounds, 15 assists, six steals and seven blocks. They shot 61.9 percent from the free throw line (13 of 21) with 14 turnovers. The 37 threes attempted were the most SCU shot since it attempted 45 at San Diego on Feb. 7, 2004.
USF shot 47.1 percent (24 of 51) from the field, including 38.5 percent from beyond the arc (5 of 13). The Dons collected 44 rebounds, nine assists, seven steals and one block. They shot 60.0 percent from the free throw line (21 of 35) with 18 turnovers.
Individually, the Broncos were led by Kevin Foster's career-high eight threes. Foster is the only Bronco in school history to make 6+ threes in four games in a season. Marc Trasolini added 11 points (4 of 8, 1 of 4 from three) and seven rebounds. Ben Dowdell pulled down a team-high nine boards. Evan Roquemore and Foster each added six assists, but Roquemore was 1-9 from the field.
"Nothing matters individually if we don't win," said Foster. "The whole team needs to make stops, it's not just a single person. We played very complacent to start the second half. They scored 24 points in the first half and 50 in the second half - you can't win letting teams do that. We need to re-group now and get ready for two tough road games."
Foster's eight made threes tied a school record held by Steve Nash at Gonzaga on Jan. 19, 1995 and Mitch Buley vs. Nevada on Dec. 14, 1988. His 20 attempted threes breaks the school record set by Mitch Burley with 17 vs. Nevada.
For the Dons, Perris Blackwell had a career-high with 18 points and 16 rebounds. Michael Williams also added 18 points, connecting on two threes. Rashad Green scored 11 points, going 7 for 8 at the free throw line. Cody Doolin grabbed eight boards and registered a team-high six assists.
The Broncos started the game on fire behind the arc, hitting three of their first four threes in route to a 9-0 lead. Perris Blackwell ended the Broncos run with a layup at 17:07.
The two teams traded baskets until 14:24 when Foster converted two of three free throws. Following a Moustapha Diarra layup, Foster knocked down his third three of the game putting the Broncos up 19-6 at 13:30.
The Broncos would be held without a bucket for the next 5:38 as the Dons went on a 9-1 run. Dowdell converted a layup to end the run at 7:52 putting SCU up 22-15.
After William's basket, the Broncos countered with back-to-back three's by Trasolini and Raymond Cowels III put the Broncos 28-17 with 6:41 to go in the first.
After a Diarra layup, Trasolini converted a floater at 3:22 to put the Broncos up 30-20. Santa Clara and USF traded layups keeping the Broncos up 10. Foster converted his fourth three of the half with 54 seconds to go to put Santa Clara up 35-22.
Justin Raffington converted two free throws with 36 seconds left in the first half, and the Broncos took a 35-24 lead to the locker room.
In the first half, Santa Clara shot 44.4 percent (12 of 27) from the field, including 38.9 percent from beyond the arc (7 of 18). The Broncos collected 13 rebounds, nine assists, three blocks and three steals. They shot 57.1 percent from the free throw line (4 of 7) with seven turnovers. USF shot 43.5 percent (10 of 23) from the field, including 0.0 percent from beyond the arc (0 of 4). The Dons collected 21 rebounds, three assists, three steals and no block. They shot 50.0 percent from the free throw line (4 of 8) with 13 turnovers. Foster led the Broncos with 14 points and two assists and Cowels scored eight. Trasolini and Payne both grabbed three rebounds. Blackwell paced USF with eight points and a game-leading six rebounds. Moustapha Diarra added six rebounds.
The Broncos and Dons opened the second half by trading layups. Williams connected on a three, and Blackwell converted a basket and a free throw to cut the Broncos lead to 37-32 at 17:18.
After trading points, the Dons went on a 20-2 run, highlighted by Marko Petrovoc's three pointer at 15:12, giving the Dons their first lead of the game. Troy Payne converted one of two free throws at 12:28 to cut the USF lead 46-40.
After being held without a bucket for 8:24 Foster connected on a three at 10:29 to cut the Dons lead to 48-44. However, USF responded with a 6-0 capped Willliam's free throw at 9:11 to make it 54-44.
Roquemore converted one of two free throws at 8:31 to cut the Dons lead to nine. Roquemore nailed a three on the next trip down the floor at 8:03 to make it 54-48.
Foster connected on three threes in a row, putting the Broncos up 66-65 with 1:51 left in the game. Angelo Caliaro responded with a runner at 1:34 to put the Dons back up one.
Williams connected on a three at 0:46, and Green added a free throw to put the Dons up five. The Broncos would not get closer the rest of the way.