February 11, 2011

Men's Basketball Falls to No. 23 Saint Mary's

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Game Highlights

On a night when Kevin Foster broke his own Santa Clara single season threes made record, the Broncos fell 65-59 to No. 23 Saint Mary's in the Leavey Center.  With the loss the Broncos fall to 15-11, 5-4 in conference play. The Gaels improve to 21-4, 9-1 in conference action. Santa Clara hosts San Diego on Saturday afternoon at 5:30 P.M.

"It was unfortunate that we executed the game plan and fell short in an area where we have been strong all year - our free throws.  It would have given us a better chance if we would have done better at the line," said Bronco head coach Kerry Keating.  "When you play that caliber of a team you have to be on top of every phase of your game.  When you are playing the best team in the league - an NCAA Tournament team - that is a lesson we have to continue to beat a team like that."

"You aren't going to get a lot of style points this time of the year for wins.  We did a good job in some areas to shoot 37 percent and win on the road," said Saint Mary's head coach Randy Bennett.  "Troy Payne is a really good defender.  He makes it really hard when he guards you because he will disrupt your offense.  Kevin Foster is a really good player - he was really aggressive tonight."

Santa Clara shot 41.5 percent (22 of 53) from the field, including 35.7 percent from beyond the arc (5 of 14). The Broncos collected 34 rebounds, 10 assists, seven steals and two blocks.  They shot 50.0 percent from the free throw line (10 of 20) with 12 turnovers. Saint Mary's shot 37.5 percent (18 of 48) from the field, including 30.8 percent from beyond the arc (5 of 18). The Gaels collected 35 rebounds, eight assists, seven steals and one block.  They shot 82.8 percent from the free throw line (24 of 29) with 11 turnovers.

Foster led Santa Clara with 25 points (4-10 from three) despite being in foul trouble. Ben Dowdell added 12 points while pulling down two rebounds as Troy Payne finished with four points and 10 rebounds. Niyi Harrison pulled down eight boards.
"We didn't so much as let them off the hook," said Dowdell. "They are a very dangerous team and they can make threes in bunchs.  A team that good is always going to make runs.  I am disappointed, but I am proud of the way the guys fought tonight."

Foster's four three-pointers broke his previous single season three-point record of 85 in 2008-2009. Foster now has 87 on the season, while Steve Nash is third with 84 three-pointers during the 1995-1996 season.

Santa Clara's consecutive games with 6+ steals is the third-longest in Division l with 17 straight games. The Broncos have collected 10+ steals six times during the streak.

Mickey McConnell led Saint Mary's with 25 points. Rob Jones recorded a double-double, scoring 10 points while pulling down 16 boards. Michael Young added 10 points and seven boards.

Tim Williams opened up the scoring by nailing a outside jumper at 18:18. After a Foster free throw, Roquemore banked in a three while being fouled to put the Broncos up 4-2. After a Mitchell Young layup, the Broncos would respond with a mini 6-0 run capped by a pair of Foster free throws.

After Matt Dellavedova converted a jumper, Foster responded with a three of his own putting the Broncos up 13-6 at 11:03.  The two teams traded points for the next couple minutes until McConnell scored 8 straight points to bring the Gaels within two at 8:05.

After Foster converted a layup, McConnell and Steindl hit back-to-back three's to give the Gaels a 21-19 lead at 6:04. After Young's bucket, Harrison responded with two free throws, which stopped a 16-2 by the Gaels. Marc Trasolini converted a layup to even the score at 23 at 3:56. Evan Roquemore converted a free throw, but Jones nailed a three to put the Gaels up 2. McConnell hit a floater to beat the buzzer and the Gaels led 30-24 at the half.

In the first half, Santa Clara shot 33.3 percent (8 of 24) from the field, including 33.3 percent from beyond the arc (2 of 6). The Broncos collected 21 rebounds, two assists, and two blocks.  They shot 42.9 percent from the free throw line (6 of 14) with six turnovers. Saint Mary's shot 33.3 percent (11 of 33) from the field, including 30.8 percent from beyond the arc (4 of 13). The Gaels collected 22 rebounds, five assists, four steals and no blocks.  They shot 80.0 percent from the free throw line (4 of 5) with two turnovers.  Foster led the Broncos with 10 points and one assist. Trasolini added six points and two boards. McConnell paced SMC with 13 points and one assist while Jones scored three points and pulled down 10 rebounds.

Williams opened the scoring in the second half with a dunk, but Harrison responded with a layup of his own. The teams would trade baskets over the next couple minutes until McConnell converted a layup plus a layup to give the Gaels a 40-31 lead at 15:17.

After a Kenton Walker tip in, Foster responded with a floater to bring the Broncos within 10 at 12:23. After Dellavedova's free throws,  Payne converted a bucket, and Dowdell knocked down two free throws at  10:52 to make it 47-39 Saint Mary's.

Foster knocked down a pair of free throws, but Young respond with two of his own push the Gaels lead back to eight at 7:00. After Jones's free throws, McConnell and Roquemore traded baskets.

The teams continued to trade baskets as Dowdell converted back-to-back buckets for the Broncos to cut the Gael's lead to 56-47 at 2:07. After Dellavedova converted free throws, Payne converted a layup to keep the lead at 9.

After a pair of Young free throws, Foster converted a three pointer and a floater on the ensuing possession to cut the lead to 6 with 52 seconds left. Steindl converted one of two at the line to push the Gaels lead back to seven. Dowdell finished a layup with 20 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 5. The Broncos would not be able to cut it to a single-possession game the rest of the way.